Sound artist John Wiese brings the noise with a sculptural touch that keeps listeners on edge | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Music » Concert Preview

Sound artist John Wiese brings the noise with a sculptural touch that keeps listeners on edge

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

After years as one of the most prolific and unrelenting noise artists in the U.S., veteran LA experimentalist John Wiese seems to have deliberately altered his modus operandi. His discography lists more than 400 items under his own name as well as projects like Sissy Spacek, Leather Bath, and others, but over the last half decade his output has screeched to a near halt. That said, if he only intermittently drops a title like the recent one-sided record Escaped Language (Gilgongo), I’m OK with it. As on its 2015 predecessor, Deviate From Balance, Wiese uses components such as abstract electronics, samples, or found recordings with precision and composerlike thrust. Yet he simultaneously operates on a more intuitive level, working intensely with his materials and spinning each performance of a given work into a variation on a theme. As he said in an interview with C. Spencer Yeh in Bomb magazine last year, “I would describe myself as a whittler, turning a log into something else.” The new 19-minute piece was recorded at Ina/GRM’s 2016 Présences Électronique Festival in Paris, and although the largely abrasive, clangorous sounds he uses feel far more constrained than those on Deviate From Balance, he shapes them with a three-dimensional richness. It’s as if the listener is taken on some kind of haunted-house theme-park ride, where new iterations of sound lurk around every corner. For tonight’s performance Wiese gives the local debut a new four-channel work called Time Column.   v

Add a comment