“That’s a big part of what I’m doing – taking things out of their normal context,” he said.
Beatty’s most recent release, “Soundtracks for Takeshi Murata,” is the first that he has put out under his actual name, rather than the Three Legged Race or any other moniker. A retrospective of sorts, the album consists of several compositions he made to accompany films by experimental New York filmmaker Takeshi Murata from 2004-07. The two essentially met online over a mutual appreciation for each others’ work and have collaborated regularly over the past decade; Murata, who specializes in abstract animation, is coming to the University of Kentucky for a screening of several of his films, on Feb. 1, followed by a performance from Beatty as Three Legged Race.
Beatty describes the music for that particular project as “pretty abstract,” echoing the aesthetic of Murata’s films.
“Some of it’s harsh and noisy and some of it’s more ambient and pure,” he said, adding that “to a lot of people, it’s pretty ‘out there’ stuff.” He says his music in general, however, is evolving – whereas he used to perform with a complicated set-up using lots of synthesizers and machines, recently he has been performing with just a tape player and iPhone, which he processes and distorts previously recorded and found sounds through an app called NanoSounds.
“More and more I’m starting to structure more traditional songs and bring in elements of melody,” he said. “Before, everything was full-on electronic, but now there’s a lot of field recordings and acoustic instruments that I’ve recorded.”
Admittedly, Beatty’s take on “traditional” might be different from most – don’t expect folk songs or 4/4 time, although the most recent Three Legged Race album, “Persuasive Barrier,” does feature a dulcimer. As for the future, Beatty is planning a European tour in April, and has made a resolution for himself to spend more time drawing. He hopes to release a book of new art later this year.
Beatty’s music and art can be found at the following links.
Takeshi Murata Video Screening / Performance by Three Legged Race
8 p.m. Feb. 1
Center Theater (University of Kentucky Student Center)
WRFL, the University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies and Institute 193 present an evening with New York-based filmmaker Takeshi Murata and musician Robert Beatty. Several of Murata’s short films which feature Beatty’s music will be screened, followed by a live performance of Beatty’s solo music project Three Legged Race.