Since its inception in 1996 the Postindustrial Players have been refining a performing style which combines the textual clarity of film with a plastic form of melody based equally on European classical music and American pop standards. Over the course of ten years the group's vocal settings have evolved from low-intensity, text-oriented accompanied recitative to a nuanced mix of higher-intensity operatic and pop technique. In our current work, A Ascenção e a Queda do Primeiro Mundo (The Rise and Fall of the First World) this agenda has been expanded to embrace the Portuguese language, with its distinctive rhythms and idioms, and the profound traditions of MPB (música popular brasileira).
In the group's original mission statement in 1990, I wrote:
The overall purpose of the ensemble is the reinvention of uplifting, cathartic tragedy and non-sarcastic comedy and the rescue of music from its self-inflicted, 100-year-long crisis of style. ... The audience must be seduced and challenged at the same time. ... The ultimate challenge in our time is to convince mature adults that everything worth saying hasn't already been said, that everything good worth doing hasn't already been tried and found wanting, and that living human beings are indeed capable of dealing with the ultimate truths of existence, no less so than our classical ancestors. In this sense, the group's mission is unapologetically optimistic. Without repudiating the accomplishments of the last hundred years, we stand in defiance of the generally pessimistic thrust of Western philosophical, social, and aesthetic evolution in the so-called "postmodern" age.
With nearly twenty years of hindsight, this original program seems somewhat quaint and more than a bit pompous. Nevertheless, its broad thrust still informs the activities of the ensemble, and the idea of seducing and challenging at the same time remains paramount for us.
Label: Equilibrium Item Number: EQ36 Format: CD Year Recorded: 2000
Fraternity of Deceit presents a variety of behaviors familiar to big city dwellers of the late twentieth century: the dissembling, the phoniness, the bullying, the stealthy guile, the bluster, the feigned loyalty, the inadvertent collusion with those whose politics we vehemently oppose, and the clumsy attempts at kindness hidden behind rigidly codified male bonding rituals.