Pauline Oliveros | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Pauline Oliveros




Though she's a product of the ravenously experimental late 60s--she cofounded the famous Tape Music Center at Mills College in Oakland--the music Pauline Oliveros has forged over the last few decades is decidedly timeless. It rolls into your consciousness like thick banks of fog: gorgeous, amorphous, ethereal, enveloping. In her best-known vehicle, the ten-year-old Deep Listening Band, she, trombonist Stuart Dempster, keyboardist David Gamper, vocalist Panaiotis, and a parade of prominent guests have severely yet unobtrusively manipulated sound beyond recognition, cranking the reverb to 11--you'd hardly guess Oliveros's main ax was the accordion. In many situations they rely on electronics, but ideally the effects are achieved naturally: the ensemble has recorded in an abandoned 186-foot-wide cistern and an old limestone quarry in search of watery echoes. While some of the DLB's works seem best suited to an hour in a flotation tank, others, like its 1992 album, The Ready Made Boomerang (New Albion), can be downright unsettling, with softened metallic clangs leaping out of a low, soothing din. Oliveros will collaborate with a number of local musicians this weekend: Saturday's performance will feature ad hoc pieces with improvisers Robbie Hunsinger and Fred Lonberg-Holm and sound artists Andrea Polli, Carol Genetti, and Olivia Block. For Sunday's free performance she'll be joined by Carrie Biolo and Jeff Kowalkowski (aka Jack the Dog) in a 90-minute piece for which they'll transform a room adjacent to the theater into a giant reverb chamber. Saturday, 8 PM, Artemisia, 700 N. Carpenter; 312-226-7323. Sunday, 3 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; 312-744-1430. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Peter Margasak.

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