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Artist spins spirit into turntable beats

Managing to maintain its image as the hottest experimental venue in the region, the Wexner Center hosts multi-media artist Kid Koala and his show, the “Short Attention Span Theater,” Friday night.

Koala (Eric San), who recently released his latest abstract turntablist work, “Some of my Best Friends are DJs,” said he hopes the live show will aid in better explaining his music.

“We’re on tour to kind of explain why we do what we do, how its done and how we put it together,” Koala said.

The show will take place in the intimate Wexner Performance Space. For Koala, this setting works well for the show’s design.

“Its a vaudeville-type show. So there’s seats for the audience to sit back and enjoy. This way they won’t try and dance,” Koala said.

Though the show is heavy on the turntables-eight total- Koala’s creationist layering of vinyl loops doesn’t necessarily make it the normal club fare that one might typically associate with the DJ stereotype.

“There’s individual turntable setups devoted to piano, bass, drums and a set for soloing as well. We like to try and explore the gamut of what a turntable can do,” Koala said.

Kid Koala entered the music world as a classically trained pianist. Eventually falling in love with the rock-solid Technics 1200 turntables (“decks”), he turned his musical expressionism to scratching.

“Playing with decks , for me, has always been about trying new things,” Koala said. “I make it a point to keep trying different things, keep pushing it a little bit at a time.”

“No matter what the instrument, it’s always about trying to interject your own message and concept into the music,” he said. “The challenge within the design of turntable music is to place your spirit within the pre-recorded sounds. Is there a way to cut up, bend, scratch and alter these sounds to make them come from me? Can you do it expressively, emotively? These are the questions I address when putting this form of music together.”

For “Short Attention Span Theater,” Koala collaborated with a collection of DJs and artists to create a truly orchestrated show of sorts, which he refers to as his “monster project.”

“We’ve been putting this show together for months, rehearsing and whatnot,” Koala said. “Its so different from working on something in a studio. It may or may not work, which is part of the excitement.”

Koala, along with DJ P-Love and DJ Jester, will form the evening’s turntable trio. Live dialogue and vinyl scoring will be provided to go along with filmmaker Monkmus’ animated shorts. There will also be opening sets by DJ Jester and Lederhosen Lucil.

“Our Columbus show will be the third of the tour, so it might still be kind of wonky as far as our togetherness is concerned,” Koala said.

In addition to turntable experimentalism, Koala has forayed into the visual arts with his graphic novel “Nufonia Must Fall,” which he wrote and illustrated as well as collaborating with other audio acts such as the Gorillaz, Deltron 3030, Handsome Boy Modeling School, and his jazz-hop band, Bullfrog.

“The Wexner lends itself well to Kid Koala. He appeals to students because he is a very creative artist who works in multiple disciplines,” said Wexner Center spokeswoman Karen Simonian.

The show begins at 9 p.m. Friday. Student tickets for the Wexner event are $12 and are still available at the Wexner information desk.

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