Domenico Sciajno | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Domenico Sciajno

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Italian-born musician Domenico Sciajno started out as a bassist playing contemporary classical works, but even at the beginning of his career he was eager to break down musical boundaries. In the early 90s he studied composition in the Netherlands, where he was also drawn to free improvisation; later that decade he began recording a series of albums with Italian guitarist Giuseppe Ielasi that were distinguished by their wonderfully brittle tonality and wide-ranging dynamic sensibility. In recent years he's set aside his bass to focus on electronics: on 2001's Right After (Erstwhile), a duo album with Ielasi, he's in line with the electroacoustic improv camp, sculpting abstract forms of pure tones and crackling static that dynamically combine and collide. He's since worked with kindred spirits like Gert-Jan Prins and Kim Cascone, but his biggest influence these days seems to be composer Alvin Curran, who took on Sciajno as an assistant in 1994, and Sciajno's amorphous compositions sound best on their 2004 collaboration, Our Ur (Rossbin). For "Outer Cities" he manipulates and processes samples of Curran playing his own "Inner Cities X"; the joint composition "Rue de la Gare 76" takes most of its sources from Curran's sample library, but Sciajno creates a thrilling tension by adding his own rumbling, splattery transformations and unprocessed snippets of cello, voice, and howling coyotes, along with harder-to-identify bits. Sciajno performs here with bass clarinetist Gene Coleman and cellist Marina Peterson. a 8 PM, Bond Chapel, University of Chicago, 1050 E. 59th, 773-702-8670. Free. All ages.

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