By Lisa Moscatiello
Lisa Moscatiello is the lead singer for the electronica project Arthur Loves Plastic (ALP). On April 6 ALP will be celebrating the release of a new CD called Strings with a video screening and laser light show at the Montgomery College Planetarium, 7651 Fenton St., Takoma Park, MD at 8:00 P.M.
Moscatiello interviewed ALP songwriter Bev Stanton about electronic music, the superb sound in the planetarium, and receiving spontaneous astronomy lessons from Professor Harold Williams.
Say something about electronic music and how your particular brand is distinct from other subgenres.
I started doing it back in the ‘90s, when it was more associated with the dance floor and house music, which is more of the thump-thump-thump-thump stereotype that most people have, based on what they’ve heard in clubs. In the late 90s I began to gravitate toward trip-hop and downtempo, which are more listener-oriented. I do electronic music that’s for people with short attention spans. I’m making music for people in an environment where there’s no good looking glittery people to gaze at and no people dancing, so it has to be more tightly arranged and interesting. I’ve seen my stuff played in clubs, and unless it’s a dj night or a listening environment, I can clear a dance floor pretty quickly. I don’t take it personally.
So are you saying that you write actual songs with choruses and versus that just happen to have music that was primarily composed on your computer?
Yeah, and in that sense this album is a little different from what I usually do as well. Typically when I have vocals on things it’s more like a means to an end, like just another instrument in the mix. This time, I was feeling more introspective and lyrics-oriented.
As I listen to the final product, even though I sang all the songs I’m struck by how haunting it is.
It is very haunting. I quit drinking just over a year ago, and I thought that I wouldn’t be able to create anything after that. I was attached to a certain kind of ennui, and I thought that was what fueled me as an artist. Instead, being sober has had the opposite effect. I was suddenly confronting a lot of stuff that I used drinking to avoid. It gave me fodder for new ideas. And being able to work on the music was very therapeutic.
Why are you doing a CD release in a planetarium?
I went to see a show there about ten years ago, and the sound was superb. I’ve done several CD releases there over the years. Because of the spherical shape, the reflections are very rich. The sound doesn’t get stuck in corners. It’s actually almost too good. You can hear people whispering, “after the next one we’ll leave.”
I get a kick out of Dr. (Harold) Williams. I will learn more about astronomy doing ten minutes of instrument setup than I did in high school. Dr. Williams told me one of his students who works over at NASA made the paper models that he has hanging up
The last time you did a show at the planetarium you projected visuals onto the “sky,” so to speak. Are you doing that this time?
I’m going to be projecting music videos onto the ceiling, and I’ll be passing a laser around, too, so there’ll be some audience participation. There’ll be a lot of sensory input.
Arthur Loves Plastic’s (ALP) Strings CD release and laser light show is on Saturday, April 6, 2013. The new CD is entitled Strings. For more information, go to http://www.arthurlovesplastic.com
Vocalist Lisa Moscatiello is the 2012 Washington Area Music Award for Female Traditional Folk Vocalist of the Year. Bev Stanton’s music has appeared in shows on the Discovery Channel, VH1, MTV and other cable television networks. Stanton is one of 24 female electronic artists and deejays profiled in Pink Noises: Women in Electronic Music and Sound (Tara Rodgers; Duke University Press, 2010).