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Sunday, December 3

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Concert Tue Mar 06 2007

Of Pilgrims and Beehives: Joe Colley and Jason Lescalleet at Odum

Lampo, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing high-profile experimental musicians and installation artists to Chicago for performance, have once again outdone themselves. The people that brought Achim Wollscheid to Chicago so he could cook potato pancakes for a small army of happy, hungry hipsters; who let Maryanne Amacher turn a concrete bunker of a venue into a place where ears could be filled with three-dimensional audio hallucinations; and who recently brought the monarch of a hypothetical empire (Leif Elggren) to his adoring constituents in the Windy City, now welcome two of the premier alchemists of music made primarily with equipment not even a junkshop would take in trade.

Friday and Saturday (9 p.m. both nights), dim the lights and chill the reel-to-reel, becuase Joe Colley and Jason Lescalleet are coming to teach Chicago a new way to boogie (while sitting stock-still in a chair, head down, eyes closed, lost in the moment). On Friday night, the artists will each perform solo sets, while Saturday's show will feature a collaborative duo performance. Tickets for each night is $12, but if you buy Friday's ticket for $12 and wish to return on Saturday, you get in free. Hotcha!

The event takes place at Odum (2116 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago). for more information.

Joe Colley started his career in decayed compositional sound as Crawl Unit, a project based not so much in musical ideology, but in the more general concepts of breakdown, failure, withdrawl and nihilism. His shimmering drones and thunderous hums benefitted from judicious editing via tape-splicing or mixing-deck trickery, creating unease, tension, and narrative travel through abstract sound fields. Unlike many modern-day "ecastic" drone acts, like Vibracathedral Orchestra or Jackie-O Motherfucker, Crawl Unit never let you relax in the moment, "digging the jamz." His works constantly remind you of the process used to make the sounds.

As Colley hit the 21st century, the process became an all-consuming focus for him. He dropped the Crawl Unit moniker in favor of his given name around 2000 and engaged in more process and installation-oriented works, such as Clay Sound (Meeuw Musik), a 7" record documenting the sounds of contact mics attached to clay that had been soaked in water (Colley's previous performance at Lampo also featured the "Clay Sound" experiment, but after starting the process, he informed us that we could go drink wine and eat cheese in the back, rather than staring intently at the bucket, as the process would probably take about 14 hours to complete). A recent 7" uses tapes of recordings of animals in distress (sold to big-game hunters to attract their prey) as its primary sound source, and warns in the liner notes that "the producers are not responsible for unwanted interaction or damage caused by wildlife attracted by playback of this recording." Sense of humor intact, check.

Colley's most recent works include the more compositional Waste of Songs CD (Oral); and Hive (Ferns Recordings), a 3" CD that processes the sounds of a beehive through assorted media (including an analogue synth, cymbals, and metal surfaces.) The recording is released as a tribute to his father, who was a beekeeper.

Jason Lescalleet's father also plays prominently into his recent work, though the circumstances involved are considerably more mournful. Lescalleet, known for many years as a preeminent audio exorcist in the medium is decayed tape loops, has collaborated with Due Process, Greg Kelly, and most fruitfully with the free improv/sound duo nmperign, yielding the recent masterwork Love Me Two Times, a 2CD set on Intransitive Recordings.

Sadly, Lescalleet's life was thrown into turmoil when his father was diagnosed with cancer in 2005, and died later that year. His response was The Pilgrim, a staggering release on the Glistening Examples label. A combination picture-disc LP and CD, The Pilgrim is a bared-to-the-world expression of grief, loss, and fond remembrance. Side 1 of the LP contains a live recording, in which Lescalleet reads an email his father sent around the time he was diagnosed, the obvious pain and anger of the recent news reflected in the bumpy, jangled sounds that follow. Side two is even more brutal: an unprocessed recording of Lescalleet and his daughter Audrey visiting his ailing father in the hospital. Audrey helpfully sings a song for grandpa ("Molly Malone," of all things), but stops partway through when she realizes that Molly dies at the end of the song. All the small talk, uncomfortable silence, and clattering metal instruments make this an exercise in soul-baring emotional honesty (or unrepentant voyeurism, your choice).

The CD contains the 74 minute compositoin for Lescalleet's father, beginning with sounds of church bells and rain, segueing through various careful and deliberate passages meant to represent various phases of Lescalleet Sr.'s life, beforing climaxing in a molten sonic fireball of rage and regret at the end of the piece, the sputtering, dying tape machines mirroring a body in the final moments of painful consciousness. Finally, the piece ends with a reprise of "Molly Malone" by Audrey; a life in moments, captured in points, details, and gestures.

Colley and Lescalleet have also released a collaborative CD, titled Brombron 09: Annihilate this Week, on Korm Plastics. As both performers are particularly allergic to repeating themselves, it's unlikely that either Colley or Lescalleet will be performing "hits" from the aforementioned albums. Neverthless, you are strongly encouraged to come out and hear sounds your ears have never imagined, the shrieks and hums of machines in the final throes of la petit mort. Or maybe even la grande mort.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


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