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  • 11:53:14 am
  • Thursday
  • 23 November 2017

386Dx Live in New York

The Intel-based recycled rock spectacle Alexei Shulgin, Aka 386Dx, performed live last night at Location One in New York City.

The show consisted of two parts, the first of which was the now classic one-man-band 386Dx performance, centered around an old beige box running an Intel 386Dx processor and Windows 3. Alexei swaggered through several rock standards, such as ”(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Imagine”, and “Smells Like Teen Spirit”—covers which he composed entirely from Midi and speech-synthesis programs.

Clad in black leather pants, a tie-die Ben & Jerry’s T-shirt, and a golden peace sign medallion, Alexei slung his old Ps/2 keyboard [with added shoulder strap] around him like a guitar. The keyboard was used to load songs and alter the circa early 90's visualizations that were projected onto the wall behind him.

After an intermission and costume change the second act, a collaboration called Wimp, commenced. This performance featured contemporary beat driven music pumping while Alexei, now sporting a modest grey button down shirt, sat behind a Windows Xp machine and ran complex visualizations involving the desktop preferences window, an Ie window containing a Google search for “Hello World”, a photograph of sunset, and the green/blue landscape default Xp wallpaper.

During this act the audience dwindled in response to the lowered mental participation requirement. While the the visualizations were stunning, Wimp could not compare to the power of original 386Dx. Dx, by nature of the performance, reveals the programming process behind the music. Files are loaded before the visualizations begin, their Ascii-text contents displayed on the projector and hinting at the hours spent “manually” coding sounds. Anyone who has experimented with Midi, speech-synthesis, or Dos-based graphics is aware of the enjoyment inhereint in those processes of creation, which is what makes 386Dx so fascinating.

Meanwhile, the too-hip-for-words Location One staff seemed to prefer the second act, although the production process was hidden and the software used was advanced past the point of being easily deconstructed into its elements by the viewer. In a sense it was parallel to video killing the radio star, or perhaps the competition between motion pictures and still photographs.

Alexei’s show, his first in New York, was definitely worth seeing. Location One, however, can make one sick. Is it the money swimming hipster crowd or the disgustingly acidic red wine they serve?



Stewart Smith
Saturday, 14 February 2004

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Tweed Magazine content report:
2017-11-23 11:53:14
Tweed Media, Krist Novoselic, Maura Davis, Iraq, music, Tweed Media, Tweed Media, Sub Pop Records, Metric, Said Sew Recordings, End report.