On day four of his week-long, cross-country quest to create one continuous song, Mark Mallman made a pit stop in Minneapolis last night. In a 1992 GMC Vandura van emblazoned with a large magnet reading "Marathon 4," Mallman and crew - who wore matching green jumpsuits printed with the Marathon logo - parked themselves in the MCAD parking lot and opened their doors to let the ambient sounds out. Mallman never left his perch in front of his keyboard inside the van, donning his custom brainwave-sensing headgear.
"It's hard," he said of the experience thus far. "See these wires everywhere? It's lo-fi and hi-fi at the same time." All totaled, the van's sound equipment and six cameras uses an estimated 200 to 250 watts of power via a 1,200 power inverter - though they are using only about 10 percent of its power, according to crew member Stuart DeVaan.
A small crowd filtered in and out at MCAD and its second stop at the Hack Factory to "watch" the performance, though it was hard to see much with Mallman tucked inside the van. Musicians including Ryan Olcott, Chris Strouth, Jeremy Ylvisaker and Martin Dosh, as well as poet Paul Dickenson stopped by to do improvised sets with Mallman, before the group headed off for their third, final, closed-to-the-public stop of the night, Savage Aural Studios.
Though Mallman seemed a little out of it, crew member Gus Watkins reassured us, "We're not concerned about his health. He's sleeping this time."