Fairfield has long been leading the Iowa pack in the audio/visual trend becoming more a part of artist’s musical output. In fact, I wonder how many current bands in that pack of Fairfield electronics kids haven’t at least made one or two music videos. The number can’t be very high.
It’s kind of what they do over there: make music, record video, release music video, repeat. They’re really quite the technologically-educated bunch, considering the slower, more down-to-Earth ways of Fairfield citizens. That is a bit of a stereotype about the city and its residents stemming from the presence of the Maharishi University there, I admit, but I wonder if the combination of that thoughtful mentality, when mixed with this paced-by-Internet world is the recipe that makes Fairfield electronic music so engaging.
Of all the bands in that Fairfield crew, I’d be hard-pressed to name one more prolific than Dominic Rabalais’ Little Ruckus project. The first time I met the guy, he handed more four handmade CD-R albums he’d made. The sleeves were stapled together and all the information was typed onto each individual sleeve via typewriter.
Then, there was word of a Little Ruckus 7” and an impressive showcase at SXSW in Austin, TX. Music videos seemingly began to surface every few months.
The output of Little Ruckus has always had a heavy focus on the live show. Perhaps, this explains all of the music videos, as if Rabalais were suggesting that the visual and audio aspects of his project are inseparable. The music itself moves at an ADHD pace and drips with raw, sweaty emotion, layers of synth swells, and a sense of urgency to live today because you could die tomorrow. The visual accompaniments always achieve the same sense, nearly always moving at a quickened pace, and juxtaposing wonderfully gory and disgusting images of death alongside life-affirming images of celebrations, costumed live shows, and generally good late night vibes.
A few releases and a handful of sweaty live shows later, I finally caught a stream of what I was told was the third movie in a Trilogy of music video films called Do Wrong. The movie was a pseudo-documentary on a fictionalized (and/or highly metaphorical) account of the life of Little Ruckus, from some kind of birth to some kind of death, and back again.
The film, Wrong Did, was filled with plenty of knives and darkness and a musical soundtrack that’s the furthest Little Ruckus has ever come to making metal music. The visual effects were like perfectly-executed homages to 1950’s sci-fi films. And the story, narrated through various interviews (of which Rabalais voiced all of the characters), follows a much more abstract plot, expressing much of the film’s themes through repeated imagery of all things dark and eerie.
I have now seen two of the three films in the trilogy, having watched the first film, Wrong Doing. The films appear to be a linked set of filims to about the same extent as Terry Gilliam’s Dystopian Trilogy. Rather than follow a specific plot, the various scenes are more like music videos connected equally by these larger themes of life and death touched on in Wrong Did, and simple images like blood, torture, and monster-like creatures. Ya know, the usual Little Ruckus stuff.
Wrong Doing is truly a film that must be seen in order to even begin comprehending its maximalist waves of emotions, themes, and imagery. No description I could provide here, no matter how long, could even begin to fully explain everything that the film is “about”. Instead, I’ll leave you with Rabalais’ own brief of the film:
The story of a creature being born from the pools of the unified field, falling in love, being killed,flying through the afterlife on the hood of convertible, being reborn and seeking revenge. Lots of knives, some fire, ‘lady and the tramp-ing’ french fries, and there’s no fourth wall.” Expect singing and dancing! Romance! Expect to laugh, to cry! Expect to not be sure just how you should feel!
The film shows June 27 from 6:00 – 6:30 PM in Room B of the Downtown Public Library as part of the Interrobang Film Festival taking place in conjunction with the Des Moines Arts Festival.
The Do Wrong Trilogy will eventually come out on DVD through Maximum Ames Records at an as-of-yet undetermined date. We’ll keep you posted.
More information at the Des Moines Arts Festival website.