Pittsburgh-based musician Feralcat has been making a name for himself on the local scene for years. Whether you perform solo or with his band Feralcat and the Wild, you’ve probably heard of him or heard his genre-defying music. Now he brings a unique hybrid of music and video to the stage of the North Side’s New Hazlett Theater as part of his CSA performance series.
“Disassembly is an audiovisual experience. Perhaps you’ve seen an orchestra perform music from the soundtrack of a beloved video game or movie while music videos from the game/movie play in the background,” says Feralcat. “Or maybe you’ve seen one of those old silent movies, recorded by a live orchestra. These are the kinds of experiences that I try to emulate, with a certain nostalgia for video games that is close to my heart.”
New Hazlett describes Disassembly as an animated sci-fi drama with a protagonist fighting for humanity in a “post-apocalyptic landscape where androids take over the world”. It is both a concert and a theatrical performance.
Feralcat says the multimedia show displays animated visual cutscenes of a yet-to-be-created sci-fi, cyberpunk, and retro video game. AAccompanying the visual stages will be a 15-track concert, written, arranged and produced by Feralcat, which he will perform alone and with his band, Feralcat and the Wild.
His performance at the New Hazlett Theater will be the first time many people will hear the new music he’s been working on, according to Feralcat, who says it could show audiences a side of him they might not have expected.
“I’ve divided the story and music into two ‘chapters.’ “Chapter Two is music that I perform and record with my band, and is incorporated into the second half of the show.”
Because he plays the saxophone, Feralcat says he’s often categorized as a jazz musician. But while he says he is deeply influenced by the tradition of jazz and other black American musical practices, he considers Disassembly to be his “genderless love child”.
“Most people in town and on the internet know me as a saxophonist, musician and performer. Disassembly, I reveal to you my work as a fiction writer and amateur filmmaker. I wrote the script for Disassembly on and off for a year and a half or so, after recognizing that I wanted to explore that side of myself during the performance lulls of the start of lockdown (2020-2021),” he says. “With the help of an animation studio called Cold Beverage Studios, we were able to storyboard the beats of my story, create beautiful illustrations of my characters, and develop detailed pixel art environments.”
He says the end result of this collaboration is a 45-minute animated visual that people will watch in sync with the concert in New Hazlett.
“I learned a parcel skills just to be able to best communicate my vision,” he says, “including video editing and sound design.”
Disassembly. Thu March 17-Fri March 18. New Hazlett Theater. 6 Allegheny Square East, north side. $15-25. newhazletttheater.org