San Antonio sound artists take you on an immersive overnight journey
All-night tunes at a slumber party may feel like a thing of the past, but two San Antonio event organizers are bringing those feelings back this Saturday, March 26, for Contemporary Art Month— just much mellower this time. The goal isn’t to stay up; it’s to fall asleep to the right sounds.
Multi-hyphenate musician Pamela Martinez, who performs and gives sound baths under the name Teletexile, is teaming up with associate professor of music technology at UTSA and director of MuTeFest, Andrew Bergmann, to invite San Antonians for 14 hours of continuous music, snacks, and sleeping.
It is a low-commitment invite, as guests are allowed to wander in and out whenever they choose, in case sleep still evades them.
"Maybe you need a break, maybe you need to go out and get dinner ... the idea is that we're setting a mood," says Martinez, who will perform a sound bath around 1 am. "Hopefully [the mood] will shift ... but you have to really slow and observe to notice that."
Over the course of the event, titled Overnight Sound: A Sonic Slumber Party, more than 20 artists will perform compositions and improvisations — both acoustic and electric — tied together by the San Antonio Ambient Orchestra for a completely seamless, transforming sound. Six sets, named simply for time of night, from “Early Evening” to “Sunrise," map out the experience, reserving the time between Martinez’s sound bath and 8 am for “music for sleep.”
One “Twilight” performance in this timeframe, Holomovement by Eric Acuña, will project visualizations on thin, flowing sheets for the event’s only sculptural installation. Another by UTSA Assistant Professor of Violin Dr. Nicole Cherry is a “newly composed genre-bending [work] for violin with electronics,” according to Martinez.
It will all take place in one large room at the Mercury Project, which houses Martinez’s Southtown Music Studio, a wellness, learning, and practice space rather than a recording studio. Olivia De Jesús, who helped Martinez launch the studio, will make “a cameo,” Martinez says, contributing vocals to her late-night sound bath. The front of the room will allow quiet conversation, while everything beyond will be focused on total immersion (permitting whispers only).
This sleepy social event marks multiple firsts: It is the first event of MuTeFest 5, an annual event directed by Berman and organized by UTSA students studying music technology. The sleepover also represents Contemporary Art Month, a citywide program culminating in an annual exhibition. Further, a portion of the slumber party proceeds will support relief efforts in Ukraine through a mix of organizations including the Stryzhavskyi Orphanage and the National Bank of Ukraine.
While Overnight Sound is a new event, it is presented as part of a recurring “intentional listening” series called The Listener’s Gallery. Always educating, Martinez puts these sessions together with the hopes of using her professional and media connections to bring awareness to experimental sound art and music. Those efforts include performances, talks, and showings; seemingly anything that catches Martinez’s attention.
If it all sounds like a lot of layers, it is. More than a long showcase for the novelty of it, Overnight Sound is a cross section of a community. By inviting newcomers, Martinez provides a chance to go beyond watching a performance, to living inside one.
“It feels more like a lock in, or like a summer party, or like a camp,” says Martinez. “Imagine going to see a band. You probably call up your friends … and then you leave with the same two or three friends, and you don't talk to anybody else. Because people are [at the slumber party] for an extended amount of time, I'm hoping that people will have connections … to just kind of reflect on whatever experiences they're having.”
Tickets to Overnight Sound: A Sonic Slumber Party, March 26-27, are available on a pay-what-you-can basis on Eventbrite. This event is only open to guests ages 18 and up.