Electronic improviser Bonnie Jones highlights community in her abstract sound practice | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Electronic improviser Bonnie Jones highlights community in her abstract sound practice 

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click to enlarge Bonnie Jones

Bonnie Jones

Fridman Gallery

Baltimore improviser Bonnie Jones hasn’t released any recordings of her work for more than half a decade, but before that self-imposed hiatus she made a series of highly abstract efforts using low-budget electronics. Her finest work features distinctive European improvisers including Andrea Neumann and Christine Abdelnour, and implants microscopic gestures and refined interaction within abrasive noisescapes larded with sine tones and garbled feedback. For improvisers, recordings are imperfect documents of a practice that’s meant to be experienced in person, but Jones’s operates with a heightened sense of community ethos. Along with fellow improviser Suzanne Thorpe she runs Techne, an organization that teaches female-identified youth the rudiments of building DIY electronic instruments. This week Jones gives her first-ever Chicago solo performance, which will be followed by a conversation with reedist and improviser Ken Vandermark. Her earliest work involved noise, and she recently told me she’s been revisiting that practice through a revisionist lens, building long pieces from sine tones, dense walls of static, and “electronic kludge.” While that recent work has a harsh veneer that harks back to the noise underground, there’s a subtle architectural sophistication in the way she layers, builds, and moves around elements within the din—an art that comes from years of close listening.   v


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