Four Madison musicians take on Godfrey Reggio's bleak portrait of environmental ruin. Info
Godfrey Reggio's 1982 documentary Koyaanisqatsi used kinetic, overpowering visuals and an ominous Philip Glass score to depict humanity's spiral into unsustainable conflict with the natural world. As the world barrels toward climate-change oblivion, with no clear consensus or leadership in sight here in the world's richest country, it's worth revisiting the film. To that end comes Madison band Disaster Passport, which plays here to accompany a full screening of Koyaanisqatsi. The band won't be playing an interpretation of Glass' score or bursting out into a haunting baritone chorus of "KOY-AA-NI-SQAT-SIIIII," but instead playing an all-original new score that band members have spent months preparing.
The band name aside, Disaster Passport does seem like an unlikely choice to score such a bleak (if profoundly moving) film in an ever more dire context. Members Karl Christenson (Cribshitter, Icarus Himself), Luke Bassuener (Asumaya, Faux Fawn, Calabash Boom), Andy Moore (Winn Dixie), and Colin Crowley use banjos, percussion, and baritone guitar to create instrumentals that draw on elements of bluegrass, West African folk musics, and rock—a recipe for cheerful, or at least highly propulsive, music. (Full disclosure: Moore is a good friend of mine.) So it'll be interesting to see how the band stretches out and pushes itself here, and how it plays off of the myriad layers of mood and visual rhythm in Koyaanisqatsi's 85 minutes. It's a bold experiment, and I wouldn't mind seeing more Madison musicians and film programmers take on things like it. —Scott Gordon