The Gilgamanians and Maku Sica celebrate new records from distant points on the spectrum of improvisationBill Meyeron November 25, 2022 at 12:00 pm

The Gilgamanians and Maku Sica (formerly Mako Sica) sound profoundly different from each other, but these two local ensembles share a commitment to using improvisation to tap into ideas they would never find any other way. The Gilgamanians are percussionist Michael Zerang and shortwave-radio operator Don Meckley. This is the duo’s first concert, but their history stretches back 40 years. In the early 1980s, they enlisted Daniel Scanlan, who played guitar, violin, and cornet, to found the electroacoustic improv group Liof Munimula. Their concerts were as legendary for the bristling abstraction of their music as they were for their vast and improbable array of equipment—in Meckley’s case that included one-of-a-kind inventions such as the radiotar (a shortwave radio tuned with a hinged guitar neck) and the hydro-kalimba (a row of cords or pipes that dripped water onto “keys” cut into a miked cafeteria tray) as well as a 40-foot antenna that enabled him to tap into a world’s worth of broadcast sounds. Liof Munimula disbanded in 1997, but Meckley and Zerang reunited after learning that Scanlan had died in 2018 in a Florida nursing home. While the Gilgamanians’ current setup is decidedly more portable than that of their earlier ensemble, the fluctuating mixtures of vibrations, textures, and caught-and-released sounds on their debut CD, this year’s Escape From Dark Matter (Pink Palace), are as hallucinatory as anything they did back in the day. 

Singer, bassist, and guitarist Brent Fuscaldo and trumpeter, mandolinist, and guitarist Przemyslaw Krys Drazek first convened as Mako Sica in 2007. Third members have come and gone, and in recent years they’ve initiated an open-door policy that has dramatically diversified their sound. Beginning with their 2018 double LP, Ronda (Astral Spirits/Feeding Tube), made with master percussionist Hamid Drake, they’ve invited eminences from the worlds of free jazz and experimental music to join them in improvising unspooling grooves and eerily atmospheric melodies. At this show violinist Mark Feldman, drummer George Marich, and Cheer-Accident bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Thymme Jones will join them to celebrate the release of their new CD, Formless (Feeding Tube). This is also the first time they’ve played out since changing their name from “Mako Sica” (the Lakota term for the South Dakota Badlands) to “Maku Sica,” which Fuscaldo says is intended to show respect for the people to whom the original name belongs.

Gilgamanians, Maku Sica Tue 11/29, 8 PM, Elastic Arts, 3429 W. Diversey #208, $15, all ages

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *