Of Carousels and Cats


Who's doing what to whom, now? Well, Rick Potts, he of the esteemed Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS) will play playing THIS SATURDAY at Lampo (216 W. Chicago, 2nd Floor) at 9 p.m. $12 at the door.

Potts is a member of the hippest lot on the west coast throughout the '70s (and beyond), the LAFMS, a group that preciently sucked up gargantuan chunks of avant-garde weirdness, modern classical discipline, pop-cultural flippancy for stodginess, and a love for learning to do things in the most unintuitive way, and mashed them all together into a bundle of color and sound whose reverberations are still being felt. The core of some of the craziest Japanese sound of the late '70s and '80s pledged their allegiance to LAFMS, and today, scenes in San Francisco, Portland (who now host longtime LAMFS'ers Smegma), and elsewhere show strong traces of the then-unheard combination of righteous pursuit of new sound with tongue-lolling cartoon-mallet-to-the-head craziness.

Potts, a founding member of LAFMS mainstays Le Forte Four, Dinosaurs With Horns, Airway, and Solid Eye, performs a solo set at Lampo. Pieces will include "Carousel of Progress," a piece that promises "an abstracted audio history of technology, inspired by the Walt Disney / General Electric promotional amusement park ride that displayed with human-like robots how life has improved for us each decade because of the invention of new household appliances," performed on "samplers with carousel sounds, musical saw, the "Mando-Bird" hinged-neck electric mandolin, synthesizer and effects." The second piece, "Kaspar," is named after a cat that arrived at the Potts family's back door the day their beloved dog died, is "a freeform mix of chopped up percussive rhythms and synthesizer sounds with pre-recorded, record manipulated, thrift store LPs providing the vocal track" in which "with a little help, the machines play themselves."

This musicially colorful event, Potts's first performance in Chicago, will go down at 9 p.m., and will cost $12 at the door. A previous appearance by LAFMS alum Joseph Hammer during Lampo's 2007 season was astounding, touching, and quite possibly one of the best shows I've ever seen. I'm equally excited for this one, and I hope you are as well.

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