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100 Creatives: Jonathan Jindra

Jonathan Jindra
Jonathan Jindra

What he does: Jindra is a man never at rest. Well, he might sleep, but thinking about that just ruins our image of him constantly working away on his multitude of projects, a mad scientist of sound and visuals, forever bringing new things to life.

For starters, Jindra runs his own video production company, Binarium Productions, creating nonprofit videos, artist mini-docs and music videos. This recently earned Jindra his own television program, Binarium TV, on The Urban Houston Network UHN 21.6.

"I document experimental music and culture coming from within Houston," he explains. "Sometimes it would be a documentary of an artist's creative process, and other times it would be a music video or a live show recording. The first run of the show just completed, so I am going to take a few months off and focus on my other creative projects and then perhaps revisit the show with some fresh ideas."

Binarium Productions Demo Reel 2011 from Binarium Productions on Vimeo.

Those other creative projects? Well, there's the Binarium Sound Series, "a monthly experimental music series in Houston focused on showcasing and supporting artists working in fields of noise, abstract electronic, free jazz, dance and film." Performances are currently held at 14 Pews, 800 Aurora Street, on the last Sunday of each month. And prior to the television show, Jindra was producing the accompanying Binarium Sound Series Podcast, which is available for free on iTunes.

Far be it from Jindra to stop there -- and this is another reason we imagine him locked away in some laboratory, working into the wee hours -- he's got two musical outputs to keep himself busy as well. Composing under the names Trills (Jindra's solo work) and Midmir (a collaboration with Frank Dambra), Jindra pens experimental electronic music.

"I just completed a split EP release with Charlie Naked entitled əˈnɛməni that will see a digital release shortly," he says. "The release is inspired by underwater creatures and phantom limbs. My half is made up of keyboard improvisations on the Korg DW-8000."

100 Creatives: Jonathan Jindra
Jonathan Jindra

Much of his attention of late has been focused on his next Trills album, Anagogic -- a double-album follow-up to Blue Metallic Sunrise -- featuring collaborations with many other Houston-area experimental musicians, including Denis Cisneros, Konstantinos Kouzas, Thomas Helton, Chris Becker and Kathy Fay, among others.

"The sound is simultaneously harsh and delicate," says Jindra. "The beats are generally composed of improvised feedback-loop structures that are more like cascading syncopated scrapes than distinct drum tones...The sound looks like an eight-armed Shiva figure appearing in the sky, spinning symbols of the occult in its hands or something."

If that sounds intriguing, just wait. We'll let Jindra explain the rest, as it's fairly astounding.

It's also a concept album, written around a vision I had in a dream about a fractal wave that plays itself out within the context of my life. I ran with the idea, and started to map it out musically to fully understand the idea. I drew the wave on a piece of paper, mapping specific points on the wave and how they can be represented musically.

The lowest point of the trough is the end of the first disc and beginning of the second disc, and the amplitude of the wave is analogous to the complexity and color of the songs of the CD, when played in order. The first and second discs appear as mirrors of each other with the second CD increasing the complexity of the wave. Beyond just this overarching wave concept, I'm playing with associations and embedded clues that can be pieced together to tell the story more clearly.

He's also been working closely with guitarist and surrealist artist Denis Cisneros to create artwork that explains the concept in a visual manner. Jindra also says that a music video is in the works.

Jindra is further busying himself composing music with Dambra for the next Midmir show, on October 8 at the ensuing Countercrawl after-party.

Oh yes, he's also one of the coordinators of Countercrawl, which he describes as "a mobile art, music, and experiential event" taking place every few months. Countercrawl's goal is "to provide a venue for artistic and critical experiments difficult to exhibit in a traditional gallery setting." Jindra's been hard at work with Christopher Patterson of Ella Egg Films, creating some "eye-popping viral videos."

As the proverbial cherry on the sundae, Jindra also has a DVD of video art set to come out, a collaboration with double bass player Thomas Helton, entitled "I." Jindra spent nine months filming for the DVD, which premiered at 14 Pews. A subsequent follow-up performance at The Vocal Divergence Theater saw Thomas improvising alongside Chris Becker to certain scenes of the film.

Why he likes it: "I've always been interested in art that implies something outside of just what you are looking at or hearing. When it has the right amount of space, it leaves enough room for the imagination to fill in the places not explicitly stated."

What inspires him: "There is a Brian Eno documentary where he talks about how the only time you really see a place is when you first arrive to it. That's always seemed to resonate with me," says Jindra. He admits his nature is a conscious effort, stating, "I constantly force myself into a new endeavor to keep things from reaching a state of inertia."

In addition, he cites one-on-one collaboration with drawing out heavy doses of motivation. This isn't limited to his music, either, but in his video work as well. Commenting on his collaboration with Patterson for the Countercrawl promos, Jindra says, "it's been great having no constraints placed on the work outside of our own imaginations. Too often the kind of creative ideas I come with don't exactly fit into any sort of corporate branding scheme, so the idea of having an open sky -- defined by what we decide it should be -- has been empowering." Additionally, he lists visual artist Y.E. Torres as a frequent collaborator, and "a great muse to me within my work."

If not this, then what? "I can't really imagine myself doing anything else. I find the idea of gardening interesting, but everything I plant dies."

If not here, then where? "It doesn't matter to me where I am, but I don't imagine I'll move within the next 20 years."

What's next? "The follow-up to Thomas Helton's 'I' is in the works. Beyond that, I will just continue to work on expanding the current projects that I've been fortunate enough to become involved in, like the video production company and Countercrawl."

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