ScrapArtsMusic plumbs the musical potential of plumbing | Dance Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

ScrapArtsMusic plumbs the musical potential of plumbing 

Canadian percussionists hit the Chicago Human Rhythm Project's Global Rhythms show

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ScrapArtsMusic, literally playing all that racket.

ScrapArtsMusic, literally playing all that racket.

Don Lee

Even if you're not a percussion junkie' you'll probably dig ScrapArtsMusic's offbeat 85-minute performance. The folks at the Chicago Human Rhythm Project obviously do, having made the Vancouver-based troupe the one and only act in this year's Global Rhythms show. The five performers are primarily percussionists, but they also put on a helluva kinetic display, leaping around their drums a la the Chicago group Jellyeye and going for laughs a la Stomp. Meanwhile, their instruments—often found objects, reconfigured—create a dazzling visual display, a magical junkyard brought to life by a company founded by street buskers.

ScrapArtsMusic mastermind Gregory Kozak not only composes all the ditties but designs and builds all the instruments. PVC pipes loom large in his visions—consider Some Assembly Required, where oversize ping-pong paddles (fashioned from old gym mats) are used to swat the open ends of a giant tubular construction. Squeezebox-like "sigh-chordions" are also made out of plumbing fixtures, while "annoy-o-phones" are constructed from bagpipe reeds, dishwasher hose, and balloons. Engaging, talented artists and 145 weird instruments onstage together—how can you go wrong?

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