What do whale sounds, 6,000-lumen projectors, analog synthesizers, Tai Chi masters, LED lights and bikinis all have in common? They'll all be in the Webster University Pool (175 Edgar Road; 314-968-7433) for an underwater concert called AQurld Waves. The multi-discipline "theater of senses" presents itself for a one-time event in three separate twenty-minute acts.
RFT Music spoke with creative director and experimental mastermind Rich O'Donnell, who started the not-for-profit Hearding Cats Artists Collective with his wife Anna Lum (one of the Tai Chi masters performing that evening), Mike Murphy and Ryan Harris in 2009. The group commits itself to "keeping St. Louis strange and wonderful," and AQurld Waves certainly provides no exception.
See also: The HEARding Cats collective brings new sounds to St. Louis
RFT Music: What does "AQurld Waves" represent, and what inspired the theme for the concept?
Rich O'Donnell: It is a reduction of the words "aquatic world." Originally, it was a culmination of experiences I've had over a number of years floating in lakes and rivers -- looking up at the shoreline, tree, leaves and surface of the water, seeing the ripples forming images that dancing around. Listening under the water, you hear many things differently and sometimes many more things.
Over the years, I've used many instruments that utilize water but none meant to be played underwater per se like what we're going to do. I tend to be a sound junkie. Being an electronic musician for decades, I tend to analyze things as far as their physical structures and listen based on those physical properties. I can't shut my ears off and if I hear an unusual sound my attention is directed to it. I pay attention and remember it.
Rich O'Donnell at a previous HEARding Cats Collective event