Okkyung Lee | Constellation | Classical | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thu., March 27, 9:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $10
Korean-born cellist Okkyung Lee wrote in a 2010 artist’s statement for the Foundation for Contemporary Arts that she didn’t feel connected to her own work—despite 20 years of studying, playing, and composing—until she discovered noise in the late 90s. But while she includes plenty of harsh and unpitched sounds on her recent recordings, what makes them compelling is her ability to shift between unruly racket and more conventional playing. Her quicksilver improvisations with double bassist John Edwards on the all-acoustic White Cable, Black Wires (Fataka) make you just as aware of the agitated air shaped by the bodies of their instruments as it does the strings drawn taut across them. On “Tonight We Sleep Like Empty Hard Drives,” from a trio with electronic musician Lasse Marhaug and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist C. Spencer Yeh called Wake Up Awesome (Software), her adroit transitions between keening lyricism and frantic scrabbling provide a center of gravity amid a chaotic maelstrom of sped-up samples. The noisiest of Lee’s recent albums may also have the most in common with what she’ll do tonight: on Ghil (Ideologic Organ), a collection of solos recorded by Marhaug with an old cassette machine, she wallows in distorted room sound and in-the-red filth with the gusto of a Labrador puppy rolling in mud and shit. —Bill Meyer

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