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RPM Orchestra Offers

Multi-Media Musical Experience

Original images by Bryn Corbett.

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Local Dieselpunk Band Teams With Choreographer For Animalogues Interpretive Music And Dance Pairing At The Corner Of Roosevelt and Fourth Streets Friday Night


By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

Oct. 17, 2013 — RPM Orchestra is just about the oddest band in the Phoenix metro. Their live performance is like absolutely nothing that would otherwise resemble a musical performance. The band is so out there they even had to create their own genre, “proto-industrial Americana” is what they call it according to the band’s founder, downtown Phoenix based artist Pete Petrisko.

But don’t take our word for it. On Oct. 18 at 8 p.m., head down to the A.R.T.S. Market on the corner of Fourth and Roosevelt streets in downtown Phoenix for a free show.

Excluding guitar/banjo player Jim Dustan, no one else in the band plays an instrument that would usually be encountered when partaking in a showing of live local music. Some of the more traditional instruments include the xylophone, the harmonica, the washboard and kahumbas. While the more abstract noise making tools of the Orchestra include the typewriter, the bicycle wheel, the shortwave radio and well just about any other noise you can think of.

“It definitely has elements of early industrial music mixed with old timey music,” said the wiley Petrisko,”It’s the music I hear in my head so I figured why not let everyone else hear it. To the same effect I can also go lay down at Civic Space Park and close my eyes and I hear the symphony of cars, birds, and people walking by and to me that’s music too, it’s just the context you put it in.”

RPM Orchestra was initially an studio endeavor that Petrisko was working on as a solo project. The solo project developed into an album which was released by Phoenix-based record label, One Word Long. In preparation for the CD release party, Petrisko decided to put together a band to play the show.

“JRC, who runs the One Word Long label out of Trunk Space, pointed out ‘if you’re putting out a CD, you need a band to play for the CD release party. I said, ‘oh hell he might be right,’ so I started talking to people I’ve known and worked with before and we kind of pulled together a live act and it’s evolved since then into what we do now,” said Petrisko. The artists who Petrisko turned to besides Dustan were Vic Void, Jocelyn Ruiz Dustand, and Omar.

Whatever it is RPM Orchestra is doing now is working for the dieselpunk quintet because they have seen their albums released both abroad and at home. Besides the Phoenix based label they have also been released in France on Sirona Records, Absence of Wax Records in LA, and suRRism-Phonoethics in Germany.

But for people like Petrisko and his Orchestra, simply making strange and appealing noises could never be enough and so RPM mastered the art of multi-media and began scoring silent films live as part of their repertoire. A part which the band has built somewhat of a reputation out of.

The band's next show is also going to be a multi media event. An auditory and visual feast featuring RPM doing a score for a three piece interpretive dance group. The show is called Animalogue and is taking place on Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. at the A.R.T.S. Market on the corner of Fourth and Roosevelt streets in downtown Phoenix and is free.

The dancing in Animalogue will be performed by choreographer Debra Minghi who performed with RPM Orchestra in 2012 on a project called Butoh + Music. As well as dancers Amanda Summers and Omar Omador. The three dancers will combine elements of classical ballet, animal posturing and folklorico dance, all to the transcendent sounds of RPM Orchestra.

The show will be “Multicultural in scope and primal by nature; examining animal hierarchy (i.e. the food chain), social status control issues, gender politics (from role reversal to androgyny) with elements of our analog past that transforms into our digital future,” according to the accompanying press release. But knowing that Petrisko is at the center of it tells one thing, it’s going to be odd.

Jeff Moses a senior contributor at Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at
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