Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, March 6

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Concert Wed Oct 13 2010

Tristan Perich's Binary Swarm

Imagine, if you will, a grand piano playing a minor third, with the dampers released. Listen in your head to that thick, cloudy haze of tones. It may be just three notes, but zoom in with the microscope, and you'll hear thousands -- maybe millions -- of microtonal variants on those three notes within the cloud of sound, each deepening the emotion and atmosphere of that big, pompous chord. You'd have to have superhuman hearing to listen to each as a separate note variant, but they are all there, and you are hearing them all.

Cut to your nearest gallery displaying Tristan Perich's "Interval Studies" exhibit. A wall, covered with hundreds of tiny speakers, each attached to its own 1-bit tone generator. No subtlety to each speaker, just one mono tone, pure binary -- you're either on of you're off. Now, adjust each tone a micro-click from the other, and you can start to simulate the cloudy density of a piano keyboard, or a flute, or any other musical instrument. It's like a paint-by-number of a chord -- all the pieces are the same, but the blending comes only at a distance. Stand too close, and you see it for what it is, a herd of binary tones coexisting.

Interval Study.jpg

Tristan Perich is working the outer edges of 1-bit technology. His "1-Bit Symphony" album is packaged in a jewel case, but it doesn't play in your CD player. It's an actual 1-bit circuit programmed by Perich and equipped with an external mic jack -- you plug your headphones into the jewel case, and the composition plays through until you turn it off or the battery runs out.

Tristan Perich: 1-Bit Symphony (Part 1: Overview) from Tristan Perich on Vimeo.

Listening to the abundant sound samples on the artist's page, two separate new music traditions are orbiting around each other, exerting their gravity on the pieces: Philip Glass's quickly arpeggiated chord shifts, tempered by Morton Feldman's intuition with intermingling of instrumental tone qualities. Perich's 1-bit electronic accompaniments are paired with toy pianos, flutes, strings, crotales (small, tuned cymbals), and contrabass saxophones. The instrumental qualities soften and blur the electronic/acoustic textures into shimmering, microtonally rich compositions, simultaneously lo-tech and sumptuous.

Tristan Perich performs "1-Bit Symphony" this Saturday (October 16) as the start of Lampo's Fall 2010 season. The performance takes place at the Graham Foundation's Madlener House (4 W. Burton Pl., Chicago) at 8 p.m. Tickets are free and RSVP is required, and though the event is currently full, it is possible to sign up for the waitlist here.

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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 »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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