Joseph Suchy, Keith Fullerton Whitman | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Joseph Suchy, Keith Fullerton Whitman 

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Guitarist Joseph Suchy, from Cologne, is one of several players--along with Chicagoan Kevin Drumm and Austrian Christian Fennesz--who characterize a strong new current flowing between the islands of free improvisation and electronic music. In their hands, tit-for-tat instrumental play, pure noise, and real time laptop manipulation are all equally valid tools to create music on the fly. On a series of recent albums Suchy has isolated some of these approaches; Smi2le (Grob, 2000) is an unholy barrage of guitar-derived noise that progresses by shifts in density, while the brand-new Canoeing Instructional (Whatness), where he improvises on a string instrument fashioned from a wooden canoe by artist Kirsten Pieroth, emphasizes more traditional-sounding acoustic thwacks and twangs. Entskidoo (released earlier this year on Entenpfuhl) is the key work of synthesis--gentle guitar lines fed through computer software and electronic effects dissolve into milky sonic clouds that obliterate any trace of the instrument's inherent characteristics. In his Chicago debut Suchy will improvise with oboist Kyle Bruckmann and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. Also on the bill is Boston's Keith Fullerton Whitman, who usually works under the name Hrvatski. On the forthcoming Hrvatski album Swarm & Dither (Planet Mu), he's still pushing a jumble of hyperactive breakbeats, discombobulated samples, and squelchy electronic tones into the red, though there are a few pieces where an electric guitar is allowed to sketch out a bona fide melody. But the guitar is the primary sound source for his first recording under his real name, Playthroughs (due from the local Kranky label in November); using "ring modulators, granular re-synthesis algorithms, banks of delays and spectral effects" he sculpts it into serenely undulating soundscapes. He'll be performing material from that album here. DJing throughout the evening are Wolfgang Brauneis and Georg Odijk, the respective owners of the Tonschacht label and the A-Musik label and record shop, two important Cologne experimental music outlets. Friday, September 6, 9 PM, 3030, 3030 W. Cortland; 773-862-3616.

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