Takehisa Kosugi | Graham Foundation | Experimental | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Sat., April 20, 8 p.m. 2013
Sometimes it seems as though composer and violinist Takehisa Kosugi has animated virtually every key movement in Japanese experimental music for more than five decades. In 1958, nearly a decade before British guitarist Derek Bailey tore up the free-jazz playbook, he cofounded the daring and often noisy Group Ongaku, which improvised freely and gesturally in a way that had nothing to do with jazz or any other idiom. The recent Music of Group Ongaku (Seer Sound Archive) contains three bracing improvisations from 1960 and ’61 where Kosugi is joined by Ongaku cofounder Shukou Mizuno (cello, drums, tape), Yasanao Tone (saxophone, tape), and others; these folks were well ahead of the pack when it came to merging noise with classical technique. In the early to mid-60s Kosugi was a leading figure in Japan’s energetic Fluxus movement, and from the late 60s through the mid-70s he led the Taj Mahal Travellers, a heavily amplified improvising unit that brought a psychedelic intensity to its music. For most of the past three decades, though, he worked most consistently with choreographer Merce Cunningham—the monumental 2010 box set Music for Merce (New World) includes a slew of his thrilling, confounding electroacoustic works. In this rare local performance Kosugi will present five pieces composed between 1981 and 2011, most of them commissioned by Cunningham (though none appears in the box set), among them 2009’s “Music for Nearly 90, Part-A,” originally performed with Sonic Youth and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. He’s shortening the works and revising them for Lampo’s quadrophonic sound system; according to the presenter, he’s “using homemade audio generators, ready-made sound processors and light/sound interactive materials.” —Peter Margasak RSVP at kosugi.eventbrite.com.

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