Archer Prewitt & Sam Prekop, John Butcher & Thomas Lehn, Joe Mills & Olivia Block | Empty Bottle | Experimental | Chicago Reader

Archer Prewitt & Sam Prekop, John Butcher & Thomas Lehn, Joe Mills & Olivia Block Recommended Soundboard

When: Sat., June 9, 10 p.m. 2012

British reedist John Butcher (born in 1954) and German analog-synth improviser Thomas Lehn (born in 1958) are transitional figures: they inherited the building blocks of classical music and American jazz that informed European free improvisation, but pointed toward the more gestural, abstract sounds that have dominated that scene for the past two decades. Over the years each has demonstrated excellence in both contexts; they're capable of high-velocity interaction that's connected, however tenuously, to free jazz, and of shaping mutable forms in a collective mass of sound. Lehn has collaborated with younger electronic musicians such as Marcus Schmickler, with whom he recorded the harrowing, slashing Live Double Seance (eMego), where his analog blurps and whooshes crush, caress, or slalom between Schmickler's icy digital lacerations; he also works with acoustic players, and on the recent Scope (Monotype), with tuba player Carl Ludwig Hübsch, pianist Philip Zoubek, and quarter-tone trumpeter Franz Hautzinger (billed as LHZ + H), the ensemble twists the sounds of conventional instruments into a hall-of-­mirrors nightmare full of suspense-movie scrapes and wails crawling over a simmering drone. Butcher has absorbed the idiom of the great Evan Parker like few others, but on this year's Dusted Machinery (Monotype), a duo with Toshimaru Nakamura (on no-input mixing board), he uses a more contemporary vocabulary that rarely sounds like a saxophone, generating upper-register squeals, sibilant squawks, and rumbling harmonics that mimic the timbre and shape of Nakamura's electronic long tones. Many of Butcher and Lehn's sporadic collaborations have been in the company of younger players, including harpist Clare Cooper and Ex guitarist Andy Moor, but because they've both got one foot in the old school, this performance could go either way—and all the possibilities look great to me. —Peter Margasak Archer Prewitt & Sam Prekop headline this program of duos; John Butcher & Thomas Lehn and Joseph Clayton Mills & Olivia Block open.

Price: $15, $10 in advance

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