How do you accompany the world on guitar? That was the challenge facing the band Black Yodel earlier this year, when it played a live score for Michael Maraden's short film "Lifecycle." The 15-minute epic montage seems to encompass the planet's history, from origins in space to ruination by its human inhabitants. Pittsburgh-based Maraden assembled "Lifecycle" for a show in Boston, using footage downloaded from the famed Prelinger Archives. As images of crashing waves and lava eruptions give way to felled forests, the music moves from contemplative to dissonant. The rising musical maelstrom punctuates images of environmental devastation, then becomes something more complicated: moaning guitars and truculent drums score wrenching images of natural disaster and warfare.
A reprise of "Lifecycle" is a likely highlight of Sync'd, a Dec. 18 show at the Melwood Screening Room. Maraden organized Sync'd to present locally made silent shorts accompanied by scores played live by Black Yodel, an East Coast three-piece, and local rock quartet Dire Wolves.
The nine films that make up the screening include everything from Super 8 works to computer animations, and from experimental pieces to narratives. Other films include Chris Smalley's "Rain on Lights," a three-minute demi-abstract that suggests a pleasantly discombobulated night trip down the Las Vegas Strip. Jessica Fenlon's "Flight" is a colorful, dreamlike 20-minute piece built around re-animated photographs of birds. Also screening is Keith DeVries' "On Power," an eight-minute montage assembled from footage of protests of the G-20 summit of world leaders here in September. Images from Oakland include: scenes of something in flames on Forbes Avenue; helmeted, baton-wielding riot police; and students complaining to a University of Pittsburgh administrator about their treatment by cops.
Sync'd also features work by Tess Allard, Justin Crimone, Matthew R. Day, Anna Hawkins and Ben Hernstrom.
Sync'd 8 p.m. Fri., Dec. 18. Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., N. Oakland. $5 (includes refreshments). 412-682-4111