MICHAEL J. SCHUMACHER | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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MICHAEL J. SCHUMACHER

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As part of his long-running work in progress Room Pieces, New York sound artist Michael J. Schumacher creates immersive computer-driven audio installations tailored to the dimensions and contents of the spaces they occupy. Once set in motion, a program of Schumacher's design uses an elaborate set of algorithms to control in real time any number of what he calls "sound modules"--more specifically, "simple sine tones, both sustained and articulated, instrumental sounds, synthesized sounds, field recordings, and sounds culled from various sources like the World Wide Web, films and CDs." As the modules play over a sound system of a dozen or more channels, they accumulate unpredictably at different locations around the room, in ever shifting combinations and densities. A typical piece is many hours long, and though Schumacher doesn't expect everyone to sit through the whole thing he suggests spending at least half an hour listening. All this might seem like a dry intellectual exercise, but the recordings I've heard are beautiful; once I surrender to the sound, the bounty of detail and movement becomes mesmerizing. A Room Pieces installation runs March 16-23 at Experimental Sound Studio, 5925 N. Ravenswood, 773-769-1069; for tonight's "longish" laptop performance Schumacher will manipulate the sounds himself. Brian Labycz, Vadim Sprikut, and Jason Roebke play first as a trio. a 8 PM, Enemy, 1550 N. Milwaukee, third floor, 312-493-3657, $7. A

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