Wayne Check

This richness is best exemplified in his Aquilarco, an evening-length suite for amplified ensemble, performed at the Knitting Factory last Monday. This vertiginous concerto (recorded on Point Music) is a wild tornado whipping up everything from the Sicilian tarantella to melancholic minimalism, from frenetic jazz to high-wired rock (not to mention some cheesy electronics). African and Arabic threads— there's a thumb piano and Moroccan drum in the ensemble— are also weaved into the dynamic tapestry, which bears the stamp of his New York stay two years ago. Like the best of Bang on a Can, Sollima loves the verve of insistent odd meters and the thrill of contrasting textures.

Some stretches were so exhilarating you wanted to get up and dance. In fact, Robert Wilson, whose recorded voice appears in several movements reciting the inspired nonsense of Christopher Knowles, will choreograph Aquilarco in Italy this fall. —Robert Hilferty

Flaunting his loser status: Fountains of Wayne's Chris Collingwood
Hiroyuki Ito
Flaunting his loser status: Fountains of Wayne's Chris Collingwood

Turning The Tables

DJ culture's dark underbelly (and steaming viscera!) were exposed at Tonic last Wednesday when Christian Marclay— who virtually invented the turntable as discrete musical instrument some two decades ago— joined illbient scener DJ Soulslinger and multi- instrumentalist Elliott Sharp for an evening of slashing, scratching, and sonic bloodletting. Although billed, French DJ Erik M. was a no-show. But there were still five turntables onstage in addition to Sharp's digitally turbocharged guitar and soprano saxophone— enough to create a cacophony of colliding soundscapes.

Sharp has long been interested in sonic excess, of course; his last two Tectonics albums explored the textural overdrive inherent in jungle and drum-and-bass, and a European collaboration with Soulslinger resulted in the recent live album Rwong Territory. The DJ's fast, thick, stuttering beats provide an equally nervy counterpoint to Sharp's nimble chaos of effects-driven soloing and slurring slide guitar.

Marclay at first seemed to add a "fun" element to a mix that was usually more ominous than halcyon. Where Soulslinger combined funk breaks and Bahian choruses into abrasive locomotive rhythm sections, Marclay took a slower and more tactile approach on his three wheels of steel. Sources as seemingly unrelated as bird whistles, crickets, hot jazz, and a kitsch rendering of "Somewhere My Love" permeated Sharp and Soulslinger's thick barrage. Where Soulslinger is a spinner and scratcher, Marclay's masking tape added repetitive skips and speed bumps to his thrift-store pool of surface-noisy sounds. During a shorter and more focused second set, Marclay put two tone arms on a single disc, creating an endlessly repeating out-of-synch sax section on the spot. Such infinite gestures demonstrated both the limits, and ultimate freedom, of the turntablist as improviser. —Richard Gehr

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