C. Spencer Yeh, Michael Johnsen | Lampo | Experimental | Chicago Reader
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C. Spencer Yeh, Michael Johnsen 

When: Sat., May 23, 9 p.m. 2009
Price: $12
Though he’s most at home in noise and drone music, Cincinnati’s C. Spencer Yeh (aka Burning Star Core) has little trouble fitting in elsewhere. On the recent New York Nuts & Boston Beans (Important) he goes head-to-head with Massachusetts free-jazz saxophonist Paul Flaherty, scraping and grinding at his violin, his abrasive long tones and pulsating double stops alternately dancing around and intersecting with Flaherty’s guttural squawks and upper-register post-Ayler hosannas; he uses his voice much the same way, spitting furious barrages of wordless sound that make Jaap Blonk sound like Professor Henry Higgins. Though he’s an accomplished free improviser, Yeh doesn’t use the language of free jazz per se—instead he demonstrates an impressive ability to listen and adapt that lets him retain his meditative sound in alien contexts. And on familiar turf, like his recent duo with LA noisenik John Wiese, Cincinnati (Drone Disco), Yeh sounds great: he and Wiese frenetically tinker with a tableful of electronics, mikes, and synthesizers to produce a garbled, wonderfully tactile clatter that only occasionally ramps up to the brain-scraping loudness of their usual output. Tonight Yeh and Pittsburgh sound artist Michael Johnsen, who makes an appealingly cranky kind of sputtering chaos with instruments he builds himself, will play solos and duets for violin, voice, singing saw, radio, and other electronics. —Peter Margasak

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