Tony Conrad + Keiji Haino
Empty Bottle; Tue 28
A Tony Conrad or Keiji Haino show is something special on its own—together, they’re an improv enthusiast’s dream. The meeting of musical minds brings together almost opposite ends of the experimental spectrum; each musician complements the other in the most unexpected way.
On the one hand, there’s the formidable New Hampshire–born Conrad: violinist, composer and superb video artist. His minimal motifs and extended droning structures hearken back to the ideas he developed with the Theatre of Eternal Music, a pioneering minimalist ensemble featuring his longtime collaborators John Cage and La Monte Young. (Eternal Music was later known as the Dream Syndicate, not to be confused with the ’80s L.A. rock band—though it was pretty good, too.)
On the other, we have Chinese guitar sorcerer Keiji Haino, who tends to veer more toward expansive, exploratory soundscapes that fill rooms with overwhelming intensity, even when he’s alone onstage. Haino melds elements of rock, noise, psychedelia and free improvisation in a style always evolving, inspired and unmistakably distinctive.
Both musicians, active since the 1970s, are up there with the best of contemporary improvisers, having collaborated with the likes of Japanese shredders Boris, Jim O’Rourke and Faith No More’s Mike Patton. One of only three cities included on this short run, Chicago will see the pair share the same stage for the first time since last year’s highly lauded performance in Tokyo.