Gert-Jan Prins | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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As a teenager in the Netherlands, Gert-Jan Prins experimented with radios, progressing from prepackaged kits to transmitter-receiver rigs he built from scratch. But it wasn't till years later that it dawned on him to incorporate this hobby into his improvised music--he'd started playing out as a drummer. These days radios are his bread and butter. Prins has put together a bunch of two-way sets designed to create feedback loops, and they spew an unholy stream of acidic static, gut-rumbling low-end frequencies, and rippling sibilance. Occasionally he'll pull in a bit of broadcast signal and use it like a found object. The sounds themselves aren't so far from the abrasive patches used by countless laptop jockeys, but Prins's analog gadgetry is much more erratic--making it a better instrument for free improv. Dawn (Grob, 2002), a trio work with computer whiz Christian Fennesz and reedist Peter Van Bergen, is composed of drifting layers of noise, alternately brutal and sonorous; Prins transforms the saxophonist's airstream into piercing squalls that are the aural equivalent of paint blobs splattering on a canvas. His recent duo album with Domenico Sciajno, The D & B Album (Bowindo), is a wonderfully percussive symphony of electronic stuttering. For his Chicago solo debut Prins will focus on music from his brand-new Mego recording, Risk, for which he received honorable mention at last year's prestigious Prix Ars Electronica. Saturday, April 3, 9 PM, 6Odum, 2116 W. Chicago; 773-227-3617 or 312-666-0795.

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