Aug 16th 2019

ESS celebrates with an all-star line-up of performances and installations:
George Lewis, Sam Pluta, Mwata Bowden
Rob Mazurek and Kim Alpert
Ken Vandermark with Claire Rousay and Macie Stewart
Angel Bat Dawid & Douglas R. Ewart
Kotoka Suzuki
Katie Wood, ESS Alba Artist-in-Resident

The 2019 Experimental Sound Studio Gala supports sonic arts and experimental music in Chicago. Funds raised at this year’s Benefit will support significant upgrades to ESS’s recording studios.

For 33 years ESS has served as a responsive resource and gathering place for a wide network of innovative artists and curious ears. We serve as a hub of activity, a reverberant ecosystem for the sonic arts, comprised of public performance and installation, a full-service recording studio, local and international artist residencies, workshops, and an archive.

Central to this activity is ESS’s recording studio. In 2018 alone ESS worked with 146 unique artists or ensembles in 322 recording sessions. Beyond recording, mixing, and mastering sessions, the studios are essential in ESS’s public performances, artist residencies, and in the archive. For example, last year we professionally recorded an additional 100+ musicians in 36 live performances, all of which were given to the performers free of charge. We used the studio to digitize tens of hours of experimental music in the archive, which were previously unavailable to the public.

This event helps ESS continue to provide some of today’s most innovative artists with top tier resources, supporting a continuum of radical creativity coming out of Chicago.

2019 Experimental Sound Studio Benefit
Friday, August 16, 2019
Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave.

$40 – Early Bird (purchase by 7/19)
$50 – General Admission
$75 – General Admission Ticket + Year-Long Membership (total value $90)
$100 VIP – VIP ticket holders receive 2 complimentary drink tickets, a limited-edition original screen-printed poster by Sonnenzimmer, front row seating during performances, and the joy of knowing that you have provided significant support for artists experimenting in Chicago.

Tickets are available at:

Founded in 1986, Experimental Sound Studio (ESS) was one of the first non-profit cultural institutions in the U.S. dedicated entirely to the sonic arts and remains the only one in the Midwest. ESS activities support 1) the sonic arts, which, while increasingly recognized in the arts, architecture, and education, are still nascent; and 2) a community of artists from many disciplines who are experimenting with sound in new forms of artistic creation.

ESS facilitates the creation, presentation, documentation, and exploration of innovative work related to the sonic arts. Ongoing and often interwined activities include:
-Artist support: rehearsal space; guaranteed artist fees; artist residencies; fiscal sponsorship; public workshops/tutorials.
-Presentation in many formats from concerts to site-specific installations throughout the city.
-Documentation: Program recordings are archived in ESS’s Creative Audio Archive, which also stewards eight outside collections including the Sun Ra collection.

ESS’s emphasis on a multidisciplinary approach to sound across every stage of the creative process is key to its unique ability to foster innovative works—in contrast to organizations that deal solely with music or fine art, etc, ESS uniquely encourages an environment in which artists work, collaborate, and experiment across genres, working closely with others in Chicago’s experimental music, media arts, contemporary arts, and performing arts.

ESS also serves as a recording studio and sound consultant for Chicago’s art scene, working with clients from organizations like the Chicago Architecture Biennial or Pentimenti Productions to individual artists like Maria Gaspar and Fo Wilson. ESS has long been an integral contributor to Chicago’s experimental cultural activities, helping to push exploratory art forms (ie sound in museum contexts) and cultural discourses (ie gender in music and sonic arts) that build towards changes in the field at large.

Core Values:
The artist is at the center of the creative process
The past informs and inspires invention and innovation
Experimentation requires both artistic rigor and risk
Sonic-based expression has no boundaries and requires an inclusive environment that welcomes and values diverse perspectives and voices
Collaboration activates growth

Official Website

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