Zbigniew Karkowski | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Zbigniew Karkowski

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The booklet for One and Many (Sub Rosa), the most recent album by Polish-born, Japan-based sound artist Zbigniew Karkowski, doesn't include any information on the source material he used, but where he winds up is ultimately more important than where he started. In the past he's pulled sounds from a Kyoto temple, digital data transmissions, and a traditional symphony, but he rarely leaves them intact: his electronic processing transforms everything into a deeply physical experience, with noises and rumbles attacking the body like an aggressive masseur. The sounds on One and Many (which Sub Rosa bills as "an ode to loudspeakers") aren't particularly unusual in and of themselves; like many in the Japanese noise scene, Karkowski deals in gray machine hums, high-frequency whistling, coruscating white noise, and violently lacerating sound bursts. But he organizes this raw material like a master sculptor, carefully adding and subtracting layers, creating virtually tactile works shot through with an anxious, suspenseful tone--slasher movies have nothing on this. For his first Chicago performance in nearly three years, Karkowski will present two new works, including a video piece with sound. Open ears and a strong constitution are recommended. Sat 3/11, 9 PM, 6Odum, 2116 W. Chicago, 773-227-3617, $12. All ages.

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