Matt Vander Boegh has no concept of the word minimal when it comes to music. His second release, Blood Red, is a magnum rock opera on par with his 2005 release, The Erinys, a multi-media creation that dealt with the concepts of love, hate and revenge (and which also served as his master's thesis). Blood Red is just as large in nature, but this time, the pale-skinned, blond-haired Vander Boegh decided to tackle the controversial ideologies of "black and white racism and hate dogma."
Vander Boegh, who paid for the production of Blood Red with a slew of credit cards and hard work at his job in sales at the Idaho Statesman, said what he wanted to do was pose the questions, "where does hatred come from and where does it lead?" but not offer an answer.
Throughout the CD, which is separated into four suites, four narrations and a finale, both a white and a black preacher spew messages of racial purity and exclusion to their respective followers. With each song, tension builds, anger mounts and the outcome is an obvious one: violence and death.
Vander Boegh said his inspiration for this grand undertaking came from the film American History X and Makes Me Wanna Holler, a book by African-American author Nathan McCall, in which McCall explored dealing with racial oppression growing up. Vander Boegh enlisted a number of musicians to help him realize his vision, including strong vocalists Anthony Fagiano (Midline) and Joel Klimes (Coco Pele), who have two completely different but beautifully complementary styles, and local rapper Jonathan Sullivan and New Yorker Robin Andre (who Vander Boegh said was an original member of The Fugees) came on board to interpret the musical story Vander Boegh wanted to tell.
As intriguing as the music itself is the CD cover art by local visual artist Bobby Gaytan which, with its dark images and graffiti-esque lines, argues against the aphorism, "you can't judge a book by its cover."
Vander Boegh is working on a trailer for Blood Red he can shop around to filmmakers for what he sees as a 75-minute-long movie of his showpiece, but for now is just excited to have people hear what he sees.
Blood Red CD release party March 14, 7 p.m. at The Record Exchange, 1105 W. Idaho St.