Wednesday, September 27, 2006


i'm not exactly sure how to spell this yiddish word my mom taught me a long time ago, which means, roughly, 'things happen as they should.' anyway...turns out that hauschka (see previous post) is playing a house concert in chicago tomorrow night, at frank abbinanti's (radical chicago composer / musical philosopher) place.

you should definitely come out for this. apparently mr. abbinanti may be taking a seat at the (piano) bench too.

thursday, september 28
starts at 8:30 pm
124 w. kinzie

it's going to be very excellent.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

feeling it

a couple days ago i listened to an excellent episode of one of my favorite radio shows, radio lab, which was all about the musicality of language, and one woman mentioned that sound is like touch...from a distance. i thought about that statement for a long time, and tucked it away, but nearby.

having just experienced a live show at the
elastic venue (which continues to offer incredible live music experiences in an intimate, orange-walled room above a chinese restaurant that's a ten minute walk from my house) by hauschka i'm beginning to think that i understand what she was getting at.

hauschka is: volker bertelmann on the piano and a variety of noisemakers - bottlecaps, scrunched up pieces of plastic wrap, tin foil, duct tape - accompanying him in the band.
bertelmann plays hypnotic, repetitive songs that sometimes jag off course in the blink of an ear. but as striking as the melodies he performs are the additional sounds coaxed from his piano thanks to the obstructions nesting on (and IN) its strings that resonate around, under and through every key that's struck. the sounds that materialized were physical and active - you could almost taste the vibrations and disrupted airwaves. you could feel them, tapping nerves and knocking on veins, nudging cells. i felt coated by the end of the performance - with simply a thin layer of piano covering my arms. for an aspiring (slowly, and without direction) pianist, this was about the most welcome lotion imaginable.

i have no idea if this is the sort of thing the woman from radio lab was talking about. but i think she's spot on: sound is like touch...from a distance.

think of all the fingerprints out there. then
treat yourself to some hauschka.

i'd be interested to know of other musics - live or recorded - that anyone reading this post has felt, in her/his bones...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


audio artist brenda hutchinson recently set out on a cross-country drive with a large cast-iron bell in tow. no, really. ms hutchinson (who some years ago made a radio documentary about driving her piano across the country, in a u-haul) is en route from brooklyn, MI to new york to san francisco. along the way she'll ring the bell, allow it to ring as she drives, stop in variously sized towns and invite others to ring the bell, and collect bell-related stories and associations from whoever wishes to tell them. she'll arrive in SF just in time for the opening of an exhibit at the exploratorium called "listen: making sense of sound", and the bell will then take up permanent residence there, where it will ring as the exploratorium opens and closes each day.

this is the kind of project that makes my heart shake. i'd give anything to drive across america, (or new zealand) making a lot of beautiful noise and engaging people in conversations about sound, or anything else for that matter. best of luck to brenda, and i hope you'll keep an eye/ear out for her and the bell, which may be rolling down your street when you least expect it.

keep track of brenda's adventures
here. and in the spirit of her endeavors, who's got a good bell story to share?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

lampo fall season

craving some memorable live music performances in chicago to keep your brain occupied and ears busy? lampo just announced its upcoming fall season, and will have plenty to share over the next few months. musicians include: skull defekts on september 30, florian hecker on oct 21, mark trayle and david behrman on Nov 4 and jessica rylan on Nov 18. haven't heard of any of them? what better reason to catch a show?