Radically reinterpreting the pornographic soundtrack

· Music

Today in artsflow:
A musician friend told me over lunch at LMNOP in Oakland the other day that PornOrchestra had launched. The project involves composing and improvising new soundtracks for existing porn films.
I interviewed PornOrchestra spokesmodel Shannon Mariemont to find out more about where this idea comes from and where it’s going. Here are a few of her comments:

It’s a common complaint (levied carefully because of a lack of social acceptance of the genre) that pornographic film soundtracks blow. And not in a good way. From what I gather, the reason for that is chiefly economic, but also aesthetic: the adult film industry is making an assumption that the consumer is looking at the sex, not listening to the ridiculous dialogue and the repetitive musical phrase. For me, it is impossible to separate, and, by extension, tolerate.

Then I thought I would change the world one porn video at a time by renting a title, overdubbing with my original soundtrack, then returning the video to the store shelf.

What if orchestras were the engine of expression in pornography?

One of the participating musicians told me for him this project is “an experiment in subverting the commercial element of the original to present the inner world.” Another mused that it could just be “really hot, or really evil, or both and sick, or maybe a little beautiful.”

The homogeneity of porn soundtracks is the crusher, just as the homogeneity of ClearChannel FM radio programming can dull the senses. Porn invariably proves it: it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

Every show will have a completely improvised section with the PornOrchestra taking cues from a conductor while the whole ensemble observes the action of the film, much in the way a circus orchestra keeps an eye on the people swinging from the trapeze.

(See Stirring the Savage Breast for the whole interview.)
The PornOrchestra premiers radical reinterpretations of pornographic film scores March 22, 2003 at “21 Grand,” a small space located at 449B 23rd Street in downtown Oakland (btw. Broadway and Telegraph).
Shannon also sent me this “crude assortment of urls to consider, since the contemplation of this is vast”: