February at Lampo Reviewed

Chicago‘s Lampo is rapidly becoming a model of how to bring modern avant-garde to a dedicated audience. Our friend and contributor Mike Eisenberg reviews three recent Lampo shows.

In February I saw three really excellent sound artist shows (can call them electro-acoustic, but I’ve been using that term alot lately so wanted to call them something else this time) here in Chicago. The performing space/program presenters is called Lampo, and all shows are at the Lampo space in the heart of town. Basically a fairly large loft space with lots of exposed brick and ceiling (you can see the network of heating ducts etc.) with a large skylight that sometimes adds the only natural light (moonlight) ambience into the room below. There is also one very large white wall which is used as a projection screen for those artists that have a visual component to their shows.

The seating configuration of the room is almost always different, depending on the performers specification of how he/she wants the audience to experience the music. The four speaker surround system is very state of the art, and the sound of the room itself if fantastic.

This was the Lampo winter series, and it consisted of artists that are, or were at some point associated with the LAFMS (Los Angeles Free Music Society), a loose collective of musicians formed in 1973, with a shared interest in Cage, Partch, Zappa, Beefheart, Bailey and Ra (Sun).

Rick Potts (b. 1957, San Gabriel, Calif.): My impressions: Wonderful wonderful show!! A comment I heard as I was leaving was…”if you weren’t stoned coming into this show…u certainly were coming out”. The music was, in a word, colorful, like a Disney cartoon. Nothing dark and ominous here, all the sampled sounds were happy, bright, cheerful and…clown-like. Starting with some live playing of a VERY musical saw sampled and looped into oblivion, the sounds came at us/around us/though us (thanks to that great sound system) at a super rapid rate. About half way though he whips out the hinged-neck guitar (something I’ve certainly never seen before) for some very well placed axe skronk…fantastic! It was a short show, only about 50 minutes for both pieces, but a memorable one.

Ulrich Krieger (b. 1962, Freiburg, Germany): My impressions: HOLY SHIT!!! This was one loud, powerful sound experience. The lady who designed the sound system at Lampo was specifically invited to attend this show to see what her handywork was capable of. Plenty!!!

Talk about feeling the music. There was copious amounts of subsonic lows happening during this long, about 75-80 minute set. At points, my stomach felt like it was being torn apart and my jaw was about to unhinge from….well, whatever it’s hinged to. Everything was done live, with one sax, and some sound enhancing delay/looping boxes. Krieger was mixing everything live, as he was playing it. The music went from low, almost silent, breathy waves morphing into something more dark and sinister…high pitched squeals, and low, and I mean LOW foghorn like blasts. Frankly, I dont know how the windows sustained the onslaught of sound that was being created.

The last 20 minutes or so was pure heaven. Subsonic war crys from the sax, sampled and sequenced back at every changing intervals and layered with some more live playing, also in the subsonic range. Bone-fucking-rattling and a total tour de force!

John Duncan (b. 1953, Wichita, Kan.): My impressions: Another great show, but would have to say was my least favorite. “The Hidden” is a short, maybe 30 minute piece that definitely explored the darker recesses of the human soul. It reminded me of times of Bernard Parmegiani‘s “L’enfer” (a sonic exploration of hell) but never really reached the disturbing perfection of that work.

Duncan did the live mixing, and again, the great sound system of Lampo was put though it’s paces. Ear plugs were offered, but not needed, although it was quite loud in spots. The piece started off with about 10 minutes of white-ish noise, and as that section progressed, you can actually pick out the seperate layers of sound. It ended abruptly with some very otherworldy speaking describing the environments of the “Hidden” but, never really describing what was “Hidden”. That was up to us, the audience…as it should be. The speaking was quite creepy btw…and mixed in a very novel and interesting way using the four speaker set up at the venue. Treated voices were coming at us from every direction, and constantly moving around us. While these voices were “talking to us”…there was also some processed sounds going on…something that I would equate more to the INA-Grm folks like Bayle…high pitched chiming, treated bells, etc.

Well…that was the Winter season at Lampo. If you have read this far…you are a total trooper!!! If any of this sparks anybodys interest, feel free to respond..and by all means, check out these three artists work.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Rick Potts at Lampo Previewed

Gapers Block discusses this upcoming Chicago show.

Who’s doing what to whom, now? Well, Rick Potts, he of the esteemed Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS) will play playing THIS SATURDAY at Lampo (216 W. Chicago, 2nd Floor) at 9 p.m. $12 at the door.

Potts is a member of the hippest lot on the west coast throughout the ’70s (and beyond), the LAFMS, a group that preciently sucked up gargantuan chunks of avant-garde weirdness, modern classical discipline, pop-cultural flippancy for stodginess, and a love for learning to do things in the most unintuitive way, and mashed them all together into a bundle of color and sound whose reverberations are still being felt. The core of some of the craziest Japanese sound of the late ’70s and ’80s pledged their allegiance to LAFMS, and today, scenes in San Francisco, Portland (who now host longtime LAMFS’ers Smegma), and elsewhere show strong traces of the then-unheard combination of righteous pursuit of new sound with tongue-lolling cartoon-mallet-to-the-head craziness.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Rick Potts at Lampo

From Chicago’s Lampo:

JAN 24 9pm
Ever have one of those soul-searching moments in the middle of the night, when you look at yourself in the mirror and wonder—how come Rick Potts has never been to Chicago? We did. Now Lampo is thrilled to bring Rick here for his long overdue local debut.

Potts is a founding member of the Los Angeles Free Music Society (L.A.F.M.S.)—a loose collective of musicians formed in 1973, with a shared interest in Cage, Partch, Zappa, Beefheart, Bailey and Ra (Sun). Together in various ensembles Rick, brother Joe, Tom Recchion, Chip Chapman, Dennis Duck, Fredrik Nilson, Joseph Hammer and others crossed genres and techniques, mixing free jazz, noise rock, chance composition, tape collage and kitsch.

Here, he performs new versions of two recent works.

In “Carousel of Progress,” he offers an abstracted audio history of technology, inspired by the Walt Disney / General Electric promotional amusement park ride that displayed with human-like robots how life has improved for us each decade because of the invention of new household appliances. The last part of Disney’s ride heralded the promise of a utopian future where humans would enjoy increased leisure time because of advances in technology. These ideas are contrasted with the reality of living in a world with more and more machinery. Using samplers with carousel sounds, musical saw, the “Mando-Bird” hinged-neck electric mandolin, synthesizer and effects, the rise and fall of these dreams of technology’s past, present and future are expressed. It runs about 22 minutes.

In “Kasper,” Potts plays a freeform mix of chopped up percussive rhythms and synthesizer sounds with pre-recorded, record manipulated, thrift store LPs providing the vocal track. The title and muse for this comes from a ghostly black cat that appeared on the day his family dog died, Friday the 13th, July 2007. With a little help, the machines play themselves.

Rick Potts (b. 1957, San Gabriel, Calif.) is an improviser and instrument maker who has been on the musical fringe of Los Angeles the last 35 years. A founding member of the L.A. Free Music Society, Potts played in one of its premier units, Le Forte Four, as well as Airway and numerous spin-off ensembles. He is a homemade sound scientist, with custom hinged-neck guitars, musical saw, synths, samplers and random objects, who produces sounds which are unique, alarming and funny. He has played with tape loop maestro, Joseph Hammer, in the ensembles Solid Eye and Dinosaurs with Horns for many years and improvised with a vast array of international artists such as Chris Cutler, Eugene Chadbourne, Keiji Haino and Otomo Yoshihide, as well as locals Tom Recchion and brother Joe Potts.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]