Omnimedia vs BOLT: Omni-Micro—Lo-Bit Dueling Consoles

This was a show at San Francisco's Blasthaus, 2/20/1999, part of a series electroic music and experimental visual art shows called Omnimedia, happening from 1995-1999, mostly occuring at the SF Mission District art warehouse CELL of which I was a founder and the Technical Director. Each show featured a decidedly unique and chaotic trickle-down technology garage-sale aesthetic and DIY vibe with circuit bent instruments, custom visualization softwares, and hardware hacked electronic installations.

The Omimedia shows featured many audioVisual artists, with installations and performances, multiple projections (video, slide, super 8 and 16mm film), and a pre-show opening that allowed visitors to wander among the installations and artists to talk about their gear, techniques and set-ups prior to the evening performances.

Many of the shows also featured unique collaborations between audio and video artists. The video artists had access to 3 or more projectors with multiple matrix switching possibilites, allowing one video artist to send their visuals to another video artist or use another's visuals in their own compositions, and most visual artists were also using their own personal visual generation softwares. The audio artists would play a "set" then have an overlap with the next audio artist, allowing a short collaboration as a transition between sets. At the end there was a free-for-all in which all artists jammed with all others.
O beauteous audioVisual cacophony!

Electronic musician and writer Bean wrote this about Omnimedia, in Electronic Musician Magazine, December 98, Tech Notes section, "A Vintage Multimedia Encounter":
"[Omnimedia] integrates an overwhelming collection of electronic media, audio, video, and assorted visual stimuli into an impressive assemblage of all things a garage sale of old-fashioned gizmos. I was more than a little bewildered and wondered how anyone trying to create sounds in a warehouse full of equipment junkies would have a clue as to which sounds they were generating themselves...this was exactly the point of the evening's festivities: a complete loss of the egotistical self-awareness that often plagues "new music" events. An evening of Omnimedia pays tribute to a bygone era of electronica. Gearheads reveling in time-honored analog traditions can inspire further reflection on how far we've come in such a short time. As you run out to buy the latest digital gadgets, remember Omnimedia's maxim: That bit of electronix you covet today, you will find in a garage sale or swap meet tomorrow. [Good hunting!]"

Here is an Omnimedia show at Blasthaus from 12/04/1999 shot by dAs of Big City Orchestra. Sadly there is not a lot of documentation of the Omnimedia series out there. As I discover more archive material I'll post it on TechDweeb.


This Omnimedia was considered one of the smaller Omni-Micro shows and was a classic video game themed audioVisual specatcular at Blasthaus in San Francisco. BOLT (Bureau Of Low Technology) was Blasthaus' in-house tech/projection/video game geeks and they covered the walls with their classic video game 16mm promo film projections mixed with projected NESbyt all to a soundscape provided by 9 sound artists who were assigned sounds and effects from classic video games to use as audio fodder.

For the sounds I played many differerent classic video games on MacMAME, accessed the sounds via the ROM explorer in MAME, and recorded each individual sound effect for each game. I then assigned the game to each "band" or group of sound artists and sent them all the sound resources. They were to utilize the sounds of the game they were assigned in some way for their performance.

The CD recording release of this show was put out in 1999 on Ovenguard Music, a really great independent CDR label from the Bay Area that existed from 1995 through early 2000's run by Chris Stecker.

Here is a short video artifact of the Omnimedia vs BOLT show at Blasthaus (with univac in the lighted fez providing the explanation), from 1999, put together by Erich Shienke, BOLT media monster and formerly of Blasthaus.

Find the entire CD of the show below for your downloading pleasure.


Click here for a zip download of the entire Omni-Micro: Lo-Bit Dueling Consoles CD, including artwork and tracks.

Originally released on Ovenguard Music, 1999, its still pretty damn good and timely with all these new-fangled 8-bitters jumping face-first into neo-nostalgicism.

Download it for later, or njoy playing it right now below: