Tomomi Adachi | Columbia College, room 214 | Experimental | Chicago Reader

Tomomi Adachi All Ages Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Fri., April 16, 8 p.m. 2010

One of my old editors hated the term "sound artist" because she thought it screamed pretentiousness. Japan's Tomomi Adachi calls himself a lot of things—"performer, composer, sound poet, installation artist, occasional theater director"—and he makes sound art that's not the slightest bit pretentious. His aesthetic is wonderfully absurd, often goofy—he claims he's the only Japanese artist to have performed the Kurt Schwitters Dada classic Ursonate—and his playful curiosity manifests itself not just in his novel, entertaining performances but also in the low-tech electronic instruments he builds. The recent Early Works & Live 1994-1996 (Omega Point) includes plenty of sound poetry, from zany originals to an obscure 1920s piece by futurist painter Hide Kinoshita, plus what Adachi calls "newspaper singing" and pieces for homemade electronics, piano, and violin; the 2003 album Yo (Tzadik) is a hilarious effort by his eight-member Royal Chorus, a "punk-style choir" that compensates for its amateurish singing with careful arrangements, energetic rhythms, and the liberal use of nonverbal animal sounds. For his Chicago debut, the first concert booked by local experimental-music presenter Lampo since it lost its Chicago Avenue space last summer, Adachi will perform sound poetry and show off some of his inventions, including a monophonic oscillator he calls the tomomim and a device that consists of amplified springs and wires meant to be struck, brushed, or rattled—both of which are built into Tupperware containers. He'll also demonstrate his infrared sensor shirt, a gesture-driven device that controls a crazy variety of vocal effects by monitoring the positions of the ten sensors attached to it. You can see video of some of these contraptions at www.adachitomomi.com/a/video.html. —Peter Margasak

$10, $5 students

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