ESS Home the fifth annual

Outer Ear Festival of Sound

November 3 - 24, 2004

The Outer Ear Festival of Sound is the only comprehensive interdiscplinary sonic arts festival in the Midwest. Each November, the festival presents live performances, screenings, installations, radio art broadcasts, roundtable discussions, and workshops by local, national, and international artists at various Chicago locations.

Live Performances

Saturday, November 13 at 9:00 PM
Stuart Dempster and Jeb Bishop, trombone duos
Nicolas Collins with Jonathan Chen
Industry of the Ordinary (Adam Brooks and Mathew Wilson), The Beautiful Game

3030 W. Cortland Ave.
$10/$8 for students and seniors

Thursday, November 18 at 9:00 PM
The Sons of God (Leif Elggren and Kent Tankred), Before the Miracle
Jon Mueller, solo percussion

3030 W. Cortland Ave.
$10/$8 for students and seniors


Cinema Screenings

Sunday 11/14, 7:30 PM
Paula Froehle retrospective: Underground Women (2002, 16:00); Fever (1999, 7:00); excerpt from Threads (2004, 92:00 -- 10:00 excerpt); Turns to Dust (2003, 6:00)
Phill Niblock: The Magic Sun (1966, 17:00) featuring Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra
Michael Vorfeld: Leuchtstoff (2003, 13:00)
Gene Siskel Film Center
164 N. State Str.
$8/$5 for students and seniors


Sound Installations

Wednesday evenings, 11/3, 10, and 17 at 7:30 PM
Rob Danielson: In Thin Air (2003, 25:00)
Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum
StarRider Theater
1300 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
$8/$6 for students and seniors

11/7 - 1/31
Amnon Wolman
Lincoln Park Conservatory
2391 N. Stockton Drive
hours: every day 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
opening reception: Sunday 11/7, 3:00 - 5:00 PM
free admission
(presented in conjunction with the florasonic sound installation series)

11/12 - 12/15
Richard Holland: Of change
Hyde Park Art Center
5307 S. Hyde Park Boulevard
hours: Mon. - Fri. 9AM - 5PM, Saturdays 10AM - 3PM
opening reception: Friday 11/12, 5:00 - 7:00 PM
free admission


Radio Art Broadcasts

Program 1: Chris DeLaurenti: N30: Who guards the Guardians? (55:00)

Program 2: Three Chicago Soundscapes: Todd Carter: Reppin' Dolomite (2004, 19:42): Julie Shapiro: The only reason you and I are here (2004, 17:00): Paul Dickinson: Non-native (2004, 18:46)

Program 3: Selections from the ESS Creative Audio Archive: Benjamin Balcom: Terminals (2003, 25:35); The Glowbug Theatre of the Air: True Bugs in Chicago (1995, 23:00)

Programs 1, 2, and 3 will be repeated several times throughout the festival on stations WLUW 88.7FM, and WZRD 88.3 FM. Please check for detailed listings.

Program 4 (one broadcast only): Sunday 11/14 at 11:00PM: Industry of the Ordinary, FAITH, WLUW 88.7 FM

Program 5 (one broadcast only): Sunday 11/21 at 10:00PM: The Sons of God live radio collaboration with Blind Spot, WLUW 88.7 FM

WZRD 88.3 FM
Schedule coming soon

WLUW 88.7 FM
Sun, 11/7 - 11pm: Program 1; midnight: Program 2
Sun, 11/14 - midnight: Program 3; 1am: Program 1
Sun, 11/21 - 11pm: Program 2; midnight: Program 3

WNUR 89.3 FM
Thurs, 11/4 - 11am: Program 1
Tues, 11/9 - 8pm: Program 1
Wed, 11/10 - 11am: Program 1
Thurs, 11/11 - 11am: Program 2
Tues, 11/16 - 8pm-9pm: Program 2
Thurs, 11/18 - 11am: Program 3
Tues, 11/23 - 8pm: Program 3
Wed, 11/24 - 11am: Program 3


List of Artists

Benjamin Balcom (Chicago) is a composer, musician and engineer. His past projects range from chamber works to music for film and dance to working with bands such as Mahjongg and Greg Davis. His current work layers microtonal elements, folk themes, and other melodic materials to create very dense melodic textures.

Jeb Bishop (Chicago) has been active as a trombonist in Chicago since 1994. He currently performs and records with groups including the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Vandermark 5, Jeb Bishop Trio, and others. He appears on recordings on the Atavistic, Wobbly Rail, Okkadisk, and Hatology labels, among others, and has played at many festivals of jazz and improvised music in North America and Europe.

Blind Spot (Chicago) is a radio art collective that produces a weekly radio program live, Sundays 10 -11PM on WLUW 88.7FM. The group is comprised of artists, musicians, writers, performers and art professionals. For more information about the show and the collective, please visit

Todd Carter (Chicago) has been a member of the electro-acoustic free improv trio TV Pow since 1995, Storks International (Chicago Chapter), and the Audio Engineering Society since 1992. In 1996 he became Chief Audio Engineer for the Chicago Cultural Center, creating a digital archive recording much of the city's diverse musical and artistic communities. He has been a freelance audio engineer since 2000, working out of many studios and his own, bel_Air.

Jonathan Chen (Chicago) is a sound artist and improviser. Selected recent performances include the Asian American Jazz Festival with his sextet, the Smithsonian Institute with the Miyumi Project, and the PAC/edge Festival with bass clarinetist, Gene Coleman. He is currently working on a recording of duets with bassist Tatsu Aoki, to be released on Asian Improv Records.

Nicolas Collins (Chicago) studied composition with Alvin Lucier at Wesleyan University and worked for many years with David Tudor. In the 1990s he was Visiting Artistic Director of Stichting STEIM (Amsterdam), and a DAAD composer-in-residence in Berlin. Since 1997 he has been editor-in-chief of the Leonardo Music Journal. He teaches in the Department of Sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent recordings are available on PlateLunch, Periplum and Apestaartje.

Rob Danielson (Milwaukee) teaches film, video, installation and sound in the UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts. His central tool of expression has long been the portable tape recorder. His sound installations for planetaria have incorporated both low-tech visuals like magic lanterns and high-tech media such as surround video and surround sound reproduction.

Chris DeLaurenti (Seattle) is a composer, improvisor, and music writer. He incorporates murky atmospheres, unusual field recordings, everyday speech, and an array of instruments into a recombinant polyphony. His work seeks not only to capture the ordinary and extraordinary sounds of everyday life, but also to bear witness to current crises that demand response.

Stuart Dempster (Seattle) is a sound gatherer-trombonist, didjeriduist, Guggenheim Fellow, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington. As a leader in development of trombone technique and performance, he published "The Modern Trombone" in 1979, and his "Abbey and Cistern Chapel" recordings (on New Albion) have become cult classics. He plays internet performances in Cathedral Band, and is a founding member of Deep Listening Band.

Paul Dickinson (Chicago) is an artist and educator. He often collaborates with animals in his sound, video and installation works. His installation "Music for Worms and Compost" was recently exhibited at Suitable Gallery in Chicago.

Paula Froehle (Chicago) is an award-winning short filmmaker. Her films have been screened at numerous festivals including the London International Film Festival, the New Zealand Film Festival, Tampere International Film Festival, and the Toronto International Short Film Festival. She is an Assistant Professor at Columbia College Chicago, and has directed videos and films for Atavistic, a Chicago production company and record label.

The Glowbug Theatre of the Air (Chicago) was a collective of Chicago artists who worked with radio artist Gregory Whitehead in 1995 and 1996 on several live and recorded radio art works. The group included Audrey Colby, John Corbett, Lisa Kucharski, Mark Booth, Shanna Linn, Ken Thompson, Lou Mallozzi, Alex Keller, Steve Barsotti, and Jim Chesire.

Richard Holland (Chicago) is a sculptor and sound artist. In 2003 he earned masters degrees in both fine art and law at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He has recorded sound art and experimental music projects as the Institute for Sonic Ponderance and has exhibited sound installations at several galleries and public spaces.

Industry of the Ordinary (Adam Brooks and Mathew Wilson) (Chicago) conducts conceptual art projects in a variety of media which seek to refocus our attention on the simple and mundane actions, events, and objects of the world.

Jon Mueller (Milwaukee) has been an active percussionist since the early 90s. His use of drums and material extends beyond rhythm and tempo as witnessed in his collaborations with Asmus Tietchens, Bhob Rainey, Jason Kahn, Achim Wollscheid and Lionel Marchetti. He is currently a member of the Collections of Colonies of Bees project, and has performed throughout the U.S. and Japan.

Phill Niblock (New York) makes thick, loud drones of music, filled with microtones of instrumental timbres that generate many other tones in the performance space. Simultaneously, he presents films/videos which look at the movement of people working, or computer driven black and white abstract images floating through time.

Julie Shapiro (Chicago) makes audio art for public presentation and can occasionally be heard on the public radio airwaves. She is the Managing Director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival from Chicago Public Radio. From 1998-2001, she was assistant director of Transmissions, an annual experimental, minimal, electronic sound and art festival.

The Sons of God (Leif Elggren and Kent Tankred) (Stockholm) occupy a field of activity best described as an investigation of a mental airspace, undertaken with the aid of unconventional tools. The aural aspect is important, but equal care is devoted to the visual. The Sons of God put themselves at the disposal of civil defense and strive to imbue fortitude and courage.

Michael Vorfeld (Berlin) is a percussionist and light installation artist. He regularly collaborates with theater artists, choreographers, visual artists, and musicians on numerous projects at galleries, performance spaces, and festivals.

Amnon Wolman (Brooklyn) is a sound artist and composer whose eclectic works are grounded in an essential interest in experimentation and a belief that music expresses many dissimilar ideas of beauty. His compositions include works for computer-generated and processed sounds, symphonic works, vocal and chamber pieces, and music for film, theater and dance. He is a Professor of Composition at the Conservatory of Music and the Director of the Center for Computer Music at Brooklyn College.