Arrington de Dionyso (of Old Time Reljiun, Malaikat dan Singa) is known throughout the world for his unique abilities as musician and colorful aesthetic as a visual artist. He tours tirelessly, forever working to expand his skill set and explore other cultures with a curious intellectual eye.
In the height of his European tour earlier this year a group called Invisible Shows, known for rejoicing art in subliminal spaces, hosted Arrington for a three-day art experience in an industrial apartment in Bergamo, just Northwest of Milan.
Throughout the first two days he painted continuously, for over 24 hours straight. The curious public was allowed in for certain hours during the night to watch him work and to view interview clips and films on Shamanism, ritual and dance projected in the adjacent room.
“On the third night, I filled up the walls with artwork and we had a little performance. When the public was there, there was a little bar set up and food and it became such an experience. I had worked with them [Invisible Shows] before, they hosted me in another gallery, but this was much more involved—they filmed the entire thing as I was drawing and painting, people could take pictures. There was something about other people witnessing, maybe in a certain sense it allowed me to go even deeper into the experience,” he explains, “everyone becomes easier to tune out and it’s another experience beyond being alone and drawing, but there was no expectation that I was going to interact with anyone.”
Arrington’s aesthetic is distinct and recognizable, with themes that reoccur throughout different series over time. As an artist, he tries to refrain from pre-formulated ideas, and found inspiration in the palette of the lost city of Pompeii.
“Once I’m there with a blank paper and a brush and the ink, I can dive into it pretty easily. I’m getting tuned into the idea of color palette and the color palette of Pomepeii is a very specific one. 2000 years ago the only paint they had were natural pigments, so there’s a very deep earthy red that you see on almost all the walls, it’s really powerful, and a deep kind of husky green. The blues are very faded and it’s more the reds and the browns and some areas there is even a little bit of gold, which is very expensive because they had to use real gold to make the pigment. The idea of incorporating that pallette into my new pieces was very cool to work with,” he says.
The tour culminated at a government-supported festival, Sweden’s Cladisitino Festival. A gig that played host to nearly 500 attendees and musicians from around the world, it was here that Arrington’s Swedish version of Malaikat dan Singa shared the night with Tinariwen of North Africa on a stage set up in front of a 400-foot cliff, with what he describes as, “the professional sound system available.” The festival, held on the rural grounds of a year-round art school for stone workers, is a space where the sun doesn’t set until midnight and was a memorable capstone to a successful tour.
“Everything and everyone was glowing and dancing. That was the last gig I played, this droning desert trance music [Tinariwen] was the perfect fit for my tastes, then they had these DJ’s doing more subliminal dance music that played until four or five am, until people stopped dancing. I can’t even tell you how much fun it was,” he laughs.
Most years, Arrington divides his time between touring and developing sounds in the studio. His enthusiasm barely breaks a sweat when he talks about his passions—just this year alone he has toured Europe, worked on a new album with Malaikat dan Singa at Dub Narcotic Studio, and prepared for his west coast tour with Daniel Higgs, formerly of the Baltimore band Lungfish.
“We feel as if we have a real commonality in our experience of music that communicates an ecstatic experience, music that references trance states and approaches to higher consciousness, embraces improvisation as well. He’s [Higgs] one of the most exciting people, as this extraordinary visual artist and musician, I can imagine travelling with. We’ve worked together before,” he explains.
Their tour together begins Olympia on October 13th and spans across two months and three states, some shows also featuring Calvin Johnson. This adventure differs greatly from his earlier this year when he travelled solo and played extensively throughout Europe, with stops in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and mini-tours of both Italy and Sweden.
ARRINGTON’S FALL TOUR DATES:
10.13 – Olympia, WA @ The Northern w/ Tatsuya Nakatani, Rachel Carns
10.19 – Seattle, WA @ S.S. Josephine w/ Spires That In The Sunset Rise
10.20 – Portland, OR @ Million Brazilians’ House w/ Spires That In The Sunset Rise
10.23 – Olympia, WA @ The Northern w/ Spires That In The Sunset Rise, Daniel Higgs, Jaap Blonk
10.24 – Portland, OR @ Valentine’s w/ Daniel Higgs, Lori Goldston, Larry Yesss
10.25 – Corvallis, OR @ House Show w/ Daniel Higgs and Lori Goldston
10.26 – Ashland, OR @ House Show w/ Daniel Higgs
10.28 – San Francisco, CA @ Vortex Room w/ Daniel Higgs
10.29 – Bolinas, CA @ Bolinas Community Center w/ Daniel Higgs
10.31 – Oakland, CA @ The Church w/ Daniel Higgs, Suzy Poling, DJ Forest Juziuk
11.01 – San Luis Obisbo, CA @ Crossroads w/ Daniel Higgs
11.02 – Los Angeles, CA @ HM 157 w/ Daniel Higgs, Professor Cantaloupe, Sun Araw
11.03 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Smell w/ Daniel Higgs, Lucky Dragons, Spires That In The Sunset Rise
11.04 – San Diego, CA @ House Show
11.05 – Irvine, CA @ UC Irvine w/ Daniel Higgs
11.07 – Davis, CA @ House Show w/ Daniel Higgs, Jocelyn
11.08 – Portland, OR @ Cherry Sprout Grocery Store w/ Daniel Higgs
11.09 – Seattle, WA @ Cairo w/ Daniel Higgs, Calvin Johnson
11.10 – Seattle, WA @ Hollow Earth Radio w/ Daniel Higgs
11.11 – Port Townsend, WA @ House Show w/ Daniel Higgs
11.12 – Olympia, WA @ House Show w/ Daniel Higgs, Scout Niblet