The Walls are Whispering


It's hard to try to explain Damion Romero's awesomeness without first starting by saying that he built his own automobile -- a 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner -- from scratch. Said automobile can be heard on his self-released 2003 3" CD titled Idle. It's just that -- an unprocessed recording of 20 minutes in the driveway with the Roadrunner. Idling. It happens to be one of the 2000s' finest experimental/noise documents, a constantly engaging series of rumbles and clatterings, more persnickety in tone than any car you've heard. Despite its unconventional name, his '90s project, Speculum Fight, redefined elegant, monolithic audio (the low-end theory, mostly) at a time when deliberate filthiness in avant garde sound was the law of the land.

But that's Damion. He's a builder, a tinkerer. He approaches sound with a with a scientist's intuition and love of play. He builds his own musical equipment, and has a comprehensive knowledge of acoustic properties, like Alvin Lucier without the resultant academic stodginess. As such, his live performances often have a strong art installation quality to them, but a sound that tends to be fuller, more emotional than most installation fare. Witness the Feedback in a Lover's Telegraph CD, which utilized a long wire stretched in a room, a bucket with some piezo mics, and a series of reverberant objects to induce wave upon wave of self-perpetuating deep-string excitations.

This Saturday (November 15) at 9 p.m., Romero turns Lampo (216 W. Chicago Avenue, 2nd Floor) into a highly reverberant space with a new performance created especially for the location. Using tone generators and a devices known as geophones, which are used to pick up vibrations in the ground. Using these devices with other equipment meant to generate internal feedback, Romero will essentially play the space itself, drawing out the vibrations of the walls and floors while sending the resultant sounds back into themselves, building a perpetual feedback loop that will surround the listener with all manner of physically and emotionally-charged low end sonics. If you haven't been to the new Lampo space yet, this is a great opportunity to get a feel for the new location, as every square inch of it will be put to the test.

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