Collapsing Scenery — long-time friends, New York-based artist and musician Don De Vore (Ink & Dagger, Sick Feeling, Lilys, The Icarus Line and Amazing Baby) and Los Angeles-based artist and musician Reggie Debris — can trace their origins back several years back: De Vore and Debris initially began collaborating in programming events with the Lower East Side-base D’agostino and Fiore Gallery.
Their first collaboration was a video installation, which led to a month of music and visual programming called “Rebuild Babylon.” That turned into a traveling residency series, which led to the duo’s musical project Collapsing Scenery.
Through their multimedia-based work, De Vore and Debris have been passionate about challenging and subverting perceptions in both the worlds of outsider art and political protest — and embracing the joyous, carnivalesque aspects of both. A 2016 artistic residency in New York saw Collapsing Scenery create a psychedelic immersive art installation that incorporated projections, layers of colorful plexi-glass, a reading from Genesis P-Orridge and performances from De Vore and Debris. Meanwhile in a clash of the old and the new, the gallery upstairs hosted a Picasso exhibition.
As a musical outfit, the duo started back in 2013 “in a pall of paranoia and disgust.” De Vore and Debris put their guitars away and began acquiring and assembling as much analog electronic equipment as possible, including samplers, step sequencers, synths and drums machines, and plugged them into a variety of effects pedals.
Their initial writing and recording sessions were largely improvised and were accompanied by Ryan Raspys (drums). The material they wrote managed to express their rage and frustration at the stage of the world, while drawing from punk rock, industrial electronica and techno, hip-hop, free jazz, disco, folk and more. Since they started the music project, De Vore and Debris have been restlessly prolific while also collaborating with Ninjaman, Money Mark, and James Chance among others.
The duo’s recently released Acid Casual EP is the first batch of material released from many hours of recordings they made during the pandemic. And with Acid Casual, the members of Collapsing Scenery sees the pair pushing deeper into sonic and genre experiments while finding beauty — and even joy — hiding within the cracks of the existential dread we’ve all felt in the past couple of years.
“You Already Know,” Acid Casual‘s latest single is a woozy and uneasy song centered around glistening and blown out electronic percussion, a mournful horn sample, live drumming wobbling synth arpeggios, Debris’ dreamily plaintive vocals, a chanted hook and bursts of scorching guitar before gently fading out. Sonically, “You Already Know” seems to nod at Tour de France era Kraftwerk, psych pop, trip hop and psych rock in a seamless and mind-bending fashion.
Directed, shot and edited by Kansas Bowling, the video stars Floyd Cashio, Park Love Bowling, Lo Espinosa and Kathy Corpus in a surreal fever dream fueled by obsession, slow-burning dread, violence. The video features a cameo from the members of Collapsing Scenery as inept and goofy hotel bellboys.