United Noise Toys | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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United Noise Toys

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Performing together as United Noise Toys, Dutch electronics whiz Gert-Jan Prins and Minnesota-born avant-garde flutist Anne La Berge create a punishing wall of sound that renders the differences between their methods of creating sound almost completely moot. The Netherlands-based duo's sole recording, Live in Utrecht '98 (X-OR), is unapologetically harsh. Prins unleashes ear-piercing squalls of feedback, clouds of static, and blizzard-thick hiss. La Berge--who plays a Kingma System flute, with six extra keys designed to provide quarter tones and multiphonic vents missing on a standard flute--can simulate a feedback squeal as brutal as anything Prins whips up, and she can transform puffs of breath into a range of abstract sounds worthy of a vintage synth by manipulating lip position, her distance from the microphone, and attack. But as noisy as their music is, they're top-flight improvisers. They're not just randomly screaming at each other--they're having a really interesting argument. Wednesday, October 18, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, Chicago; 773-276-3600.

--Peter Margasak

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Werner Puntigam/Adrienne.

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