Rick Potts makes his long overdue Chicago debut.
Potts is a founding member of the Los Angeles Free Music Society (L.A.F.M.S.)—a loose collective of musicians formed in 1973, with a shared interest in Cage, Partch, Zappa, Beefheart, Bailey and Ra (Sun). Together in various ensembles Rick, brother Joe, Tom Recchion, Chip Chapman, Dennis Duck, Fredrik Nilson, Joseph Hammer and others crossed genres and techniques, mixing free jazz, noise rock, chance composition, tape collage and kitsch.
Here, he performs new versions of two recent works.
In Carousel of Progress, he offers 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. The last part of Disney’s ride heralded the promise of a utopian future where humans would enjoy increased leisure time because of advances in technology. These ideas are contrasted with the reality of living in a world with more and more machinery. Using samplers with carousel sounds, musical saw, the “Mando-Bird” hinged-neck electric mandolin, synthesizer and effects, the rise and fall of these dreams of technology’s past, present and future are expressed. It runs about 22 minutes.
In Kasper, Potts plays a freeform mix of chopped up percussive rhythms and synthesizer sounds with pre-recorded, record manipulated, thrift store LPs providing the vocal track. The title and muse for this comes from a ghostly black cat that appeared on the day his family dog died, Friday the 13th, July 2007. With a little help, the machines play themselves.
Rick Potts (b.1957, San Gabriel, Calif.) is an improviser and instrument maker who has been on the musical fringe of Los Angeles the last 35 years. A founding member of the Los Angeles Free Music Society, Potts played in one of its premier units, Le Forte Four, as well as Airway and numerous spin-off ensembles. He is a homemade sound scientist, with custom hinged-neck guitars, musical saw, synths, samplers and random objects, who produces sounds which are unique, alarming and funny. He has played with tape loop maestro, Joseph Hammer, in the ensembles Solid Eye and Dinosaurs with Horns for many years and improvised with a vast array of international artists such as Chris Cutler, Eugene Chadbourne, Keiji Haino and Otomo Yoshihide, as well as locals Tom Recchion and brother Joe Potts.