Hong Chulki & Choi Joonyong All Ages Free Member Picks Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., Feb. 9, 8 p.m. 2013

Between them, South Korean improvisers Hong Chulki and Choi Joonyong use an idiosyncratic variety of electronic “instruments”—CD player, MP3 player, VCR, loudspeaker, cartridgeless turntable, no-input mixing board, VCR, laptop, loudspeaker—and it’s so much fun to watch them playing this stuff that the recordings they’ve made, as much as I enjoy them, pale next to live shows and videos of their performances. The duo is part of a small circle of Seoul experimentalists often referred to by the names of the concert series they’ve organized—Relay for much of the late aughts, Dotolim since 2008. In the mid-aughts, as Chulki writes in the liner notes to Relay Archive 2007-2008 (Manual), the two of them decided to make “music (I still call it music) out of non-musical sound/noise” and to use “cheap second hand electronics and devices like CD players, hard drives, clockworks, amp heads, guitar pickups, and circuit boards of delay pedals.” In fact, much of their work involves overriding or hacking consumer-grade electronics to get sounds those devices were never intended to create. Chulki and Joonyong have been collaborating for years, beginning in the mid-90s with one Korea’s first noise bands, Astronoise, and the rapport they’ve developed includes a shared commitment to exploration. On the 2007 album Hum and Rattle (released, like much Dotolim music, by Joonyong’s label Balloon & Needle), Chulki is credited with CD player and Joonyong with turntable, but their high-velocity give-and-take produces almost no recognizable noises: it’s all static, white noise bursts, skittering CD skips, and unidentifiable friction. Some of their work is violently loud, but the various utterances are meticulously articulated. They can also get conceptual: a great Chulki release called Amplified WC documents a sound installation that uses piezo mikes and feedback loops in the bathrooms at the Nam June Paik Art Center to comment on the 1963 installation Prepared WC by the center’s namesake. A few years ago in Sweden I saw a terrific set by Dotolim member Ryu Hankil, and it reminded me of the footage I’ve seen of Chulki and Joonyong, who usually perform seated casually at a table, navigating the electronic devices in front of them—there’s no urgency, just an engaged curiosity that’s fun and exciting to watch. Chulki and Joonyong are the first Dotolim regulars to visit Chicago, and this is their debut here. —Peter Margasak

Price: free with RSVP at eventbrite.com/event/5320904970

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