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Shameless Friend expands definitions of art, music

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Shameless Friend (Provided)
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Too often, noise music is more about the show than the tell.

Finding a story and a heartbeat inside the maelstrom of disorienting feedback, digitized landscapes and layered guitar crests and crashes is the hallmark of masterful ambient artists like Grouper and Tim Hecker. Growing up in a music-friendly household on a diet of Neil Young, The Microphones and Smashing Pumpkins, Laine Bergeron seeks to find that same sweet spot as Shameless Friend, sinking songwriter tendencies into his construction of moody sonic vignettes.

“I’m trying to keep poetry in it,” Bergeron said. “There’s a lot of noise music around these days, and it’s aesthetically excellent, but I think the intent can be lacking.”

Coming up like most musicians in more prototypical situations, he played guitar and drums for garage bands and made his own songs in the straight-ahead singer-songwriter vein. It didn’t take long for Bergeron to fall in love with the avant-garde fringes of experimental folk and indie music.

He indulges in that varied past now, bending, warping and applying those skills by playing bass in psychedelic-indie outfit Luna Moth and helping head experimental rock act Shishio.

Even in those artistically ambitious outlets, Bergeron is never further from center than he is working as Shameless Friend, a project that is mostly of his own making but is occasionally assisted live with a host of different friends and collaborators.

“Music serves a function, and as Shameless Friend, you can put on your headphones and just tune out the world,” he said.

If that mission statement sounds vague or hazy, that’s because it sort of is. His recordings exist in a fluid state — live traces and whispers heard live are strung together by fleeting segues — a persistently metamorphosing catalog with the only constant being an immersive and emotional experience for listeners and Bergeron alike.

“I like to write the show based on the context. It always depends on where the show is, when it’s happening, who it’s happening with,” he explained.

As busy as Bergeron is as an artist, he keeps equally busy as a facilitator of that art for himself and others like him. Last year brought the split Shameless Friend record We Have A Window with fellow noise artist Borke as well as new recordings from his other projects Shishio and Luna Moth. However, he spent much of 2014 helping friends build foundations for new creative entities: experimental cassette label Tape Gun Records and DIY art space Dope Chapel in Norman.

He does it to shine a light not only on himself and his friends in acts like LOOM and Momok but anyone making art inside our borders.

“Providence, Rhode Island, it’s a noise capitol. I think Oklahoma City has that same potential,” Bergeron said.

With “a couple records worth of material” and time for personal pursuits, this year should be a productive one.

“Those projects required a lot of legwork,” Bergeron said. “Now that they have some momentum, they can hit the ground running, and so will I.”

Print headline: Shameless promotion, Laine Bergeron’s new project expands the sometimes rigid definition of art and music.

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