NarkotroniK is an electronic band from Washington, D.C. That’s both true and misleading. Part performance art, part subdued dance music, they craft tunes that reference eerily familiar touchstones while subverting it all with no natural sounds. The uncanny valley is a major part of their aesthetic. They oscillate across it, representing a strange synthetic human approximation.
Over the past year, I’ve seen the band (once a trio, now a duo) play several shows. Each one has been unique, vaguely unsettling, and featuring pretty interesting music, regardless of how you feel about a keytar. I’ve photographed some of these shows as well as a practice at their space in Mt. Pleasant.
Concert photography poses its own lighting challenges, but one show, at Dr. Clock’s, was perhaps the darkest show I’ve been to. This photo was taken using a table as a tripod and with a 2.5 second exposure. Even then, one-third of the band, on the left and clad in black with a black mask and black gloves, is barely visible.
Most recently, I caught them play at The Pinch, playing on a mishmash of a bill seemingly designed for maximization of revenue rather than musical overlap. The opening act didn’t bother to show up, so I threw out any and all expectations. But since I’d dragged friends out to the show, feelings of guilt crept in. I was about to subject them to one of the weirder acts in D.C. in a poorly-lit basement with mediocre sound and odd piles of chairs and tables surrounding the audience. Ritual murder by the masked keytarist didn’t seem out of the question. It turned out to be alright, though – NarkotroniK, performing as a duo, played a strong set of darkly antiseptic, synthesized dance tracks.
NarkotroniK plays Dr. Clock’s this Saturday, April 9, for free. Dr. Clock’s is located upstairs at 2226 18th St, NW. I will be there (and most likely using a flash).
All images © Beau Finley. You can see more of his work on his flickr page. If you or your band would like to be photographed, you can contact him: beaufinley at google’s email service.