Jean-Francois Laporte | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Jean-Francois Laporte

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Luigi Russolo's 1913 futurist manifesto "The Art of Noises" celebrated "the throbbing of valves, the bustle of pistons, the shrieks of mechanical saws, the starting of trams on the tracks" and envisioned a future in which "every workshop will become an intoxicating orchestra of noises." At first blush the work of Montreal-based composer and instrument builder Jean-Francois Laporte seems like Russolo's prophecy fulfilled. He's a former engineering student who has built instruments with names like the Tu-Yo and the Siren Organ out of air compressors, pneumatic valves, and boat horns. He even won first prize at the 23rd International Luigi Russolo electroacoustic music competition with his composition "Prana," a hypnotic blend of wind sounds and tangled, Ligeti-like orchestral writing. But "Mantra," his entry in the Metamkine label's "Cinema pour l'oreille" series of three-inch CDs, would have made the warmongering Russolo cough up bolts. For this 22-minute piece, Laporte panned the sounds of a Zamboni across the stereo spectrum to create a gorgeous, multilayered drone that's wholly suited to the meditation the title invites. For this show, the latest in a long series of Chicago debuts sponsored by the local nonprofit Lampo, Laporte will play his invented instruments and present some electroacoustic compositions. Saturday, May 22, 9 PM, 6Odum, 2116 W. Chicago; 773-227-3617 or 312-666-0795.

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