John Bischoff | Graham Foundation | Experimental | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Sat., May 4, 8 p.m. 2013
Price: Free with RSVP at
Few artists have been as tightly connected to the development of electronic music as Bay Area experimenter John Bischoff, a founding member of the League of Automatic Composers, which in the late 70s and early 80s became the first ensemble to use networked computers to make music in real time. Since then he’s consistently explored ways to merge human input and control with sophisticated software, both through his membership in the long-running Hub (another bold computer-network band) and in his bracing, rigorous solo work. Last year he released Audio Combine (New World), whose title refers to this fusion of musician and machine; to make it Bischoff fed programmed systems with sound signals from analog sources (bells, toy chimes, a detuned ukulele, a crackle box) and from electronic circuits he controlled himself. On “Local Color,” for example, a glowing, throbbing drone enfolds a meticulously timed series of collisions among synthetic bell-like sounds, computer-triggered acoustic bells, and sustained electronic tones; the collisions hint at a pulse, and the shifting relationships among the different elements are full of surprising juxtapositions and unpredictable phrases. On “Decay Trace” Bischoff produces sounds on an amplified brass rod that trigger fragments of prerecorded samples, creating a slowly intensifying contrapuntal dance of ringing piano notes, electronics, and various buzzing, clacking, and cranking sounds (plus the metallic scraping and resonant long tones from the rod). “Surface Effect,” like the other three works on tonight’s program (it’s the only one from the CD), focuses on interactions between analog oscillator signals controlled by Bischoff and a computer with a sound generator that “listens” to him and responds. —Peter Margasak



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