Richard Teitelbaum & Carlos Zingaro, Hugh Davies | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Richard Teitelbaum & Carlos Zingaro, Hugh Davies 

Over the last four or five years the world of improvised music has become infatuated with electronic sound: if a musician isn't accompanied by someone generating muffled gurgles, high-frequency sine waves, or low-end rumbles, chances are his acoustic output's getting fed into a laptop for real-time processing. But these experiments are old hat for a handful of musicians, two of whom are spotlighted on this bill, part of this year's Outer Ear Festival of Sound. New York native Richard Teitelbaum was trained in formal composition, but while on a Fulbright in Italy (where he studied with Luigi Nono) he bought a Moog synthesizer and set off on a new path. In 1966 he, Alvin Curran, and Frederic Rzewski founded Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV), one of the first groups to mix free improvisation with electronics. Early on, Teitelbaum would create abstract smudges and squiggles on the Moog, playing off other musicians, but over the years he's updated his arsenal: on The Sea Between (Victo, 1993) he feeds the lines of Portuguese violinist Carlos Zingaro into an elaborate MIDI setup, then electronically shadows and underlines the source material, transforming it into odd-shaped splatters. While most of today's electronic improvisers use sophisticated computers, the English improviser Hugh Davies has always made his own delightfully primitive instruments, which he calls shozyg, using contact mikes, basic circuit boards, metal springs, toothbrushes, saw blades, and various tools. An assistant to Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, Davies has worked in a variety of improvisational contexts--he was a member of the legendary Music Improvisation Company with Derek Bailey and Evan Parker--but his most fascinating work is on his rare solo recordings. Last year's Warming Up With the Iceman (Grob) is distinguished by extreme dynamics, and Davies's sounds, which range from gentle ringing to dissonant scraping to harsh plucking, are always sharply tactile. A project by violinist Terri Kapsalis, Swedish dancer and choreographer Lotta Melin, and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm rounds out the triple bill. Saturday, November 16, 8 PM, Galvin Auditorium, Sullivan Center, Loyola University, 6339 N. Sheridan; 773-784-0449. Zingaro will give a free solo concert on Sunday, November 17, 3 PM, GAR Rotunda, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; 312-744-6630.

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