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Do This For FREE: White/Light At MCA

By Sarah Cobarrubias in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 9, 2010 8:20PM

Experimental duo White/Light, comprised of Chicago sound-based artists Jeremy Lemos and Matt Clark, currently have an interactive music installation on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art as part of the UBS 12 x 12: New Artists / New Work series. The exhibit is set in the dimly lit gallery, where two reel-to-reel tape machines loop electric guitar samples and drone electronic noise. A glowing microphone lures people into the room and triggers a sensor that modifies the sound frequencies, allowing the visitors to participate in transforming the continually evolving sound. The artists also constantly manipulate the installation - the tape machines and amps are rearranged periodically and Clark shows up at the gallery frequently to record new guitar samples for the loops.

White/Light came together in 2003 as a sound project, Clark playing electric guitar and Lemos layering synth, analog electronics and shruti box beneath it. Though the band’s name was inspired by Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat, their music takes a much different, more experimental approach. They explore the dynamic properties of sound, evident by their focus on contrasting Lemos’ humming, pulsating noise with Clark’s electric guitar, as well as the extreme, often surprising variations of their sound: sometimes minimal and subtly hypnotic, while at other times overwhelmingly dense and orchestral. So far, White/Light has recorded two full-length albums, toured Europe and the U.S. and are currently creating a collaborative album with Steve Shelley, drummer of Sonic Youth, and Disappears, a minimalist rock ensemble made up of members from Chicago bands such as the Ponys, Boas and 90 Day.

Tonight (and every Tuesday night through March), they’ll be performing live, interacting with the sound installation. Many of their performances include guest musicians, such as Steve Shelley, Tortoise’s John McEntire and Joan of Arc’s Tim Kinsella. Tonight, White/Light will be accompanied by Disappears (minus drummer Graeme Gibson). The performance kicks off at 7pm, but show up at 6pm to hear White/Light discuss their work beforehand in the gallery. Checkout White/Light’s site for their complete schedule and a few free downloads.

Disappears & White/Light perform tonight, Tuesday, March 9 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago, 7 p.m., FREE