The Electronic Planet Ensemble are magic men -- I can say that since percussionist Rachel Fuhrer apparently has disappeared this year, leaving poet David Jewell, keyboardist Chad Salvata and bassist/video artist Sergio R. Samayoa to deliver this piece assisted by drummer Doug Marcis. I had to identify Marcis from the poster legend, since there was no program available at the Vortex this year.
Even the mail art display in the Vortex's Butterfly Bar was much smaller and less imaginative than in earlier years, hung in the semi-darkness and literally overshadowed by the Betty Boop cartoon projected on the wall by the bar.
The EPE's strength has been projecting a sci-fi universe of mythic figures before our minds' eyes, using powered rhythms and David Jewell's hallucinatory lyrics. Samayoa's imaginative video creations served as springboards into that trippy world.
Not so this year.
Their music still rocks, but Viper Vixens of 2012 pretty much abandons Jewell, even though he's still right there out front, wearing a fine voluminous shiny gray polyester suit and wearing a red tie, working his fingertips over a laptop fuzzbox. During most of the hour's adventure you can't really hear what he's saying.