No one has done more to link the improvised-music communities of Vienna and Chicago than saxophonist and computer musician Boris Hauf.
True, his countrymen in the group Polwechsel are no strangers to town: since 1997 they’ve played Chicago both as a unit and in mix-and-match collaborations masterminded by local bass clarinetist Gene Coleman, and Polwechsel guitarist and composer Burkhard Stangl staged the third part of his opera Venusmond here in 2000.
Hauf travels in similar circles–he contributed to Venusmond and plays with Stangl in a band called Efzeg–but he’s the only Viennese improviser who’s gone so far as to live in Chicago.
Since 1998 Hauf has spent part of each year here, working with a wide range of locals–among them category-crushing rock band Lozenge, laptop trio TV Pow, and electronicist and guitarist Adam Sonderberg (with whom he’s recorded two CD-Rs). On saxophone he eschews tunes, preferring a highly evolved, texture-oriented vocabulary that includes squelchy wet kisses, long breathy whistles, and fine-grained multiphonics.
Even when he switches to laptop, he shows a profound appreciation for the physicality of sound; at a Deadtech concert last year, one of his primary signal sources was the amplified creaking of his Powerbook’s hinges. This weekend’s concerts conclude Hauf’s current two-month residence in Chicago. Saturday he’ll play computer alone, with Sonderberg, and in a five-way face-off with Sonderberg and TV Pow; Sunday he’ll play a solo computer set and then go analog, picking up his saxophone to join headliners Lozenge.
March 22, 2002 CRITIC’s CHOICE