Joyful Noise

Courtesy of the Artist

Whoever first decided to perform avant-garde art in a church was a genius. While the avant-garde is defined by its divisiveness and controversy, placing it in the context of such traditionalism amplifies the genre’s aims a thousand-fold. The illicit thrill that accompanies the gleeful irreverence of this ideological confrontation prepares the viewer for the challenging experience of the avant-garde. The midst of this tension is right where you will want to be when you witness the alien improvisations of Daniel Wyche and Forced Collapse at Bond Chapel this Saturday. Sponsored by the University of Chicago’s campus radio station, WHPK 88.5, this event brings together two musicians with little in common besides their axes of choice.

Daniel Wyche, who will play first at 7pm, is a PhD candidate in the Divinity School with an extensive history in the New Jersey post-hardcore/emo scene of the late-90s and early-00s. His New Jersey days heavily inform his current work, which is equally influenced by jazz and noise. In reaction to the his punk background so wrought with rigid composition, improvised noise music appealed to Wyche as a way to satisfy both his jazzier and more experimental interests while maintaining the bloodthirst of post-hardcore: “I really appreciated the types of layering that were going on, the weird time signatures and some of those harsher elements that ultimately came from the hardcore/post-hardcore influence.” Discussing his own approach, Wyche continues, “Probably the most important thing, and this may sound strange, was that ‘song writing’…especially in genres like post-hardcore…requires…an amount of orchestration that I find kind of boring, it’s too much like doing math, which I am terrible at.” Wyche, on the other hand, feels “a lot more comfortable, maybe safer taking a rough idea and making the exploration of that idea in real time the actual work or performance.” His music, which reapplies the effects pedals from his rock and roll days to a more extended jazz context.

Following Wyche’s performance will be Chris Riggs and Liz Allbee of Forced Collapse, a guitar and horn duo from Wesleyan University and Berlin, respectively, brought together under the tutelage of fearless free musician and educator Anthony Braxton. Riggs has played at the University of Chicago before as a guest musician on WHPK’s Friday night live showcase, Pure Hype. Riggs’ approach to guitar composition, in contrast to Wyche’s, utilizes the bare minimum of sonic resources, but at no expense to the scope of his music. His conceptual approach to music has always been naïve: “Music probably gained precedence over writing or visual art because I knew at a pretty young age what the basic ‘right’ and ‘wrong’s of those disciplines were.  Pictures needed to be representational.  Stories needed to make sense.  My ignorance lasted longer with music.  My parents never told me that…weird sounds…were incorrect.  By the time I started learning music in a formal setting, the damage was done.  No one was going to stop me from making my weird sounds.” As a child, his “weird sounds” were abstract mouth games overdubbed and layered on the computer. Nowadays, Riggs employs a literal catalog of extended techniques for guitar that can only be described as ingenious. Allbee’s musical vocabulary is even more difficult to characterize, as her work spans many instruments (conch, electronics, voice, trumpet), genres (“improvisation, noise, weird pop, minimalist/maximalist brawls….”) and collaborators. It suffices to say that the dynamic confluence of their respectively exotic contributions as Forced Collapse makes for a splendid spectacle.

Introducing another angle to the evening, WHPK Program Director and showcase curator Eric Hanss hopes to showcase the coastal-Midwest, and academic-“scrapper” traditional crossovers in Wyche’s and Forced Collapse’s music. “I feel that WHPK’s ability to bring together both worlds, as a scrapper radio station with ties to the noise scene […] fits in with the trajectory of this body of work well, and gives us an opportunity to initiate some kind of dialogue.” The epicenter of this flurry of discourses, Bond Chapel, will provide the most unusual of entertainment this Saturday.

Bond Chapel, 1050 E 59th St. March 12. Saturday, 7pm. Free. whpk.org/things_to_do