Using his looping technique of layering the sounds he creates during a live performance, Ryan Marchand says he realized the counterpoints and harmonies can eventually create “tracks that aren’t there.”
That was one of the inspirations for his “Lights” rock opera, which is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 11 at 3 p.m. in the College of the Siskiyous’ Kenneth Ford Theatre in Weed.
Marchand says his live performance show features sound design, lighting, sound frequency, visual art projections, and lasers interacting with mirrors and crystals.
The action and music – combining classical, funk and rock with visuals – are designed to “pull the viewer into the mind of the character and back to reality,” according to Marchand.
A fan of rock operas like Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and The Who’s “Tommy,” Marchand said he “always had ideas about how I’d like to see lights.”
One of the lighting techniques he uses in the show is created by attributing corresponding colors to specific musical tones.
“Light and sound are both frequencies and can be related to each other,” said Marchand.
Slide show images by Siskiyou County photographer John Rogers are also featured in the show.
As for the “sound anomalies” created by the complexity of the layers of music recorded during the live looping process, Marchand said they can vary depending on the size of the room.
He creates the music on guitar, but at times Marchand said he has heard it sound like a violin section; another time it sounded like a loud synthesizer.
“I’m trying to harness the frequencies in a direct way to see if the anomalies happen,” he said. “That’s a sub-experiment of this project.”
All the music is created live. “Nothing is prerecorded,” said Marchand. “I’m a purist like that.”
The songs in his rock opera are all original. Some of the material is new, some is from Marchand’s large body of previous creations. He has recorded and produced 10 albums of original music and has spent 10 years on the road supporting his music touring North America, Europe and Egypt.
“A lot of my songs are written with story and feeling,” Marchand said. “It’s usually about something I’ve experienced.”
All the music in “Lights” is Marchand playing solo with live looping. It will feature 5.1 home-theatre style surround sound.
About a half dozen people are involved in the production, including director Jimmy Higgins, a former Hollywood equity actor who “created the production with me and is handling the dramatic elements of the show and bringing people on,” Marchand said.
Higgins also helped “gear the show for a wider audience,” according to Marchand. “I initially saw it being for people to about age 60,” he said. “He wanted it to be for people up to age 90, so compromises were made to include everybody.”
Tickets are $15 or $12. Advanced tickets are available at Weed Chamber of Commerce office, Village Books in Mount Shasta or online at: www.ryanmarchand.com/tickets