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Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday's Pick: Outsound New Music Summit

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 9:28 AM

David Michalak (L) and Tom Nunn (R)
  • David Michalak (L) and Tom Nunn (R)

Outsound New Music Summit: How to Build Your Own Skatchbox

Community Music Center

7 p.m. -- 9 p.m., free

Avant-garde music often intimidates the casual observer: "Do I need an advanced degree in music theory to appreciate squeaks on the proper intellectual level?," one may think. "What if my brain capacity is too limited to comprehend the deeper cosmological meanings of these alien noises? Who the hell is Iannis Xenakis anyway -- and how do you even pronounce his/her/its name?" There's no reason to feel shame -- not here, not tonight. Local experimenter Tom Nunn won't beat you about the head with cerebral abstractions or willfully astruse mind-boggles. The inventor of the skatchbox has built an instrument that operates on an accessible artistic level, one closer to macaroni glued on construction paper than, say, a Stradivarius: this basic device can be built at home using such cheapo materials as a flat cardboard box, some barbershop combs, a fistful of toothpicks, plumbing washers, and a contact microphone (i.e., a homemade sound pickup made using a generic $2 piezo disc and some wires). It's low tech and lo-fi. Nevertheless these "electroacoustic percussion boards" can create such varied sounds as those of scratching animals, scraping knives, squealing reed instruments, and more*. Tonight Tom Nunn and David Michalak (Nunn's partner in T.D. Skatchit, the world's foremost -- if not only -- skatchbox combo) instruct curious noisemakers how to construct their very own skatchbox at this free lecture/demonstration. Bring your inquisitive mind. And leave your intellectual insecurity behind.

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John Graham

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