Emil Beaulieau | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Emil Beaulieau 

Emil Beaulieau--aka Ron Lessard of the RRRecords label in Lowell, Massachusetts--is a noise nerd so excited about his record collection that he's worked it into his hyperactive performances. Beaulieau's version of active listening involves playing his favorite noise albums (his "children," some of which he rubs with sandpaper or dirt, covers with paint, or nicks with razor blades) on a four-armed turntable called the Minutoli. Every arm is a different grade, from child's toy to hi-fi; some he's fixed in place to play locked grooves, so that something like a beat emerges from the hurricane, while another he uses like a wand to tap on the vinyl. The arms all get their own channels on his board too, so he can "remix" a track endlessly without using a sampler. One of the awesome things about this technique is that it's so surefire: at lots of noise shows you have to wait around while some dude twiddles knobs, trying (and often failing) to get his sound perfect before he destroys it, but Beaulieau starts with the creme de la creme and gets right down to taking it apart. Obviously his vocabulary includes the whole range of certified "noise" noises: sheet metal wobbling in the wind, witchy screeching, rumbling from the bowels of hell, etc. He also tells jokes, waves his hands around the Minutoli like a palsied conductor, and freaks out till his eyes bulge from his head. Plus he dances--with his feet and everything, not just his head. It almost seems like he's making fun of noise nerds, but be he blasphemer or genius, he's so into what he's doing that it's hard not to get into it too. Prurient headlines; with Crank Sturgeon, Panicsville, and Vertonen. Free. Monday, August 30, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499.

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