Nameless Sound and Lawndale Art Center present They, Who Sound, with different artists and performers every Monday at 7:30pm, at Lawndale
The audience is immersed in electronic sound, surrounded by four speakers plus subwoofers. In the center is the “real-virtual analogue-digital” duo of Thomas Lehn and Marcus Schmickler. They don’t look to the audience. They face each other (As if in a dialog? Or a chess match?). The room itself, with its walls and ceiling and acoustics and speakers, is part of the “instrument”. We are inside of this sound chamber.
A project that began in 1998, the German duo has often been described as a relationship of contrasting practices and materials. Lehn’s instrument is the Synthi A modular analogue synthesizer combined with the DK-2 keyboard, produced by the British company EMS in the late 1960’s. Schmickler identifies his instrument as the “electronic music studio and computers ” Lehn’s training as a pianist is evident in his kinetic and physical performative expressivity. Schmickler keeps an austere and still demeanor in performance; looking very much like a producer in a studio, one can imagine him doing the same thing with no audience present.
Though they’ve been described in terms of contrast (analogue/digital, improvisation/studio-production, performativity/austerity), their collaboration is a sounding together of one space. Not so much a duo of back-and-forth dialogical gesture, this is a collaboration which may hold a key to understanding the common thread between improvisational performance and sound-installation. Both practices are especially able to examine the physical, architectural, and acoustic space that sound operates in.
Thomas Lehn has been popular with Nameless Sound audiences since our first season, from his several appearances with the trio Konk Pack, his duo with drummer Gerry Hemmingway and his trio with John Butcher and Gino Robair. This will be the Nameless Sound and Houston debut of Marcus Schmickler, whose diverse output ranges from the DJ collective Brüsseler-Platz-10a-Musik, post-rock from his group Pluramon (including work with the singer Julee Cruise), composition for performing ensembles, theater work, and of course electronic studio composition. Schmickler sites “epistemological exchange between the arts and sciences” as being of particular interest, and talks of conceptual starting points such as the relationship of music to number values and economy and processes such as the “sonification of a generalization of number classes and mathematical problems.”
Monday, February 19: The concert will open with a performance by Houston sound artist Anisa Boukhlif. Boukhlif uses field recordings to examine the synchronic/incidental qualities of found sound, through a shape-shifting, minimally processed pathway.
Monday, February 26: The duo will be joined by Sarah Ruth and Justin Jones.