Melissa Auf der Mar -- former bassist for Hole and the Smashing Pumpkins -- is doing something rather ambitious for her next solo album: It's not just an album. It's a "fantasy noise experience" -- part album, part film, part photos, and part comic book.
"I'm combining them all right now," Auf der Mar told us when we caught up with her at her one-night-only photo exhibit at a New York gallery. "My new album is a three-dimensional concept album. These images, these photos are stills from the film, and they're an extension of the album. Then there's a comic book and a multimedia website, where people will be able to see the photos and the illustrations."
The film and the comic book, like the album, are called "Out Of Our Minds," and will be out next spring. It's completely wordless -- except for the songs -- because "it's a universal language speaking to anyone in any country," Auf der Mar said.
The narrative then, depends on strong imagery -- such as a head-on collision, a bleeding forest, and a leaf-healing witch in the film . Auf der Mar described the first 12 pages of the comic book images , by Jack Forbes, as being "very graphic and stylized," mostly black and white with an emphasis on red, since the theme is blood. "It's the connector between you and me, the animal, and the tree," she said. "It's the life force that connects us through our pulsing heart."
The heart, she said, isn't just a physical heart, but a symbolic one -- "the heart of the matter, the heart of the universe." "It's a very simple concept," she said. "How do you strip everything away, including words, and lose your mind, leave your mind, and follow -- we use the word lightly, but -- our heart. We follow our heart to the center of the conflict, or the center of the lifeforce. It sounds very general, but it's not."
Since the blood is a connector, the blood is rhythmic, playing with the music . "The acronym for 'Out Of Our Minds' is 'Ooom,' which is maybe the eternal sound," Auf der Mar said. "It's the sound that no one hears, or the sound that we always hear."
Auf der Mar plans to have the portal on her website open "by Thanksgiving," and to continue to feed it for the next two years with more photos, comics, music, and other collaborations. Until the album is available next spring, she's offering a three-song EP this fall called "This would be Paradise" (digital and vinyl only, and on her own label).
Intrigued by Melissa Auf der Mar's concept album/comic book/film? Have you checked out her website? What do you think?