In the summer of 2015, former Talking Heads mastermind David Byrne recruited a crew of forward-thinking musicians – including St. Vincent, Devonté Hynes, Tune-Yards, Zola Jesus and Money Mark/Ad-Rock – to write original music for “Contemporary Color,” a series of elaborately choreographed color guard events.
Oscilloscope Laboratories released a new trailer for the bizarre project, showcasing the 10 color guards and 10 composers (also including Nelly Furtado, How to Dress Well, Lucius and Nico Muhly/Ira Glass). “Everybody kinda gets one shot at this, and this is it,” a giddy Byrne tells the camera crew. “So yeah, it’s pretty intense.”
The clip is a dizzying blur of spinning flags, rifles, sabers and dancers on ornate stages. Byrne soundtracks the footage with his anthemic vocal showcase, crooning over moaning brass. Filmmakers Bill and Turner Ross chronicled the experience in their acclaimed film of the same name, which premieres at New York’s IFC Center on March 1st and other select U.S. theaters in the following weeks.
Contemporary Color debuted at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won Best Documentary Cinematography and Best Documentary Editing. Oscilloscope subsequently purchased the film’s American rights.