When a ‘sound collector’ loses his mind and finds himself in a lab of invented instruments, the result is equal parts cacophonic, humourous and awe-inspiring. This ‘collector’ is the star of an upcoming production, Schick Machine – a 90-minute spectacle of sounds you’ve probably never heard before, accompanied by philosophical musings about music and noise.
Presented by composer Paul Dresher and performed by talented percussionist Steven Schick, Schick Machine sees a collection of wacky objects and instruments (all of which were invented by Dresher) together on stage. You see a deconstructed pipe organ with its keys painted and reassembled like the rays of the sun and a giant metre-wide metal disc suspended in midair which Schick bangs like a cymbal. He transforms the metal wheel of a bike into an instrument when playing it with a violin bow. Since he’s the only man on stage throughout the performance, save for the occasional words of a narrator off-stage, Schick takes full advantage of a loop pedal in order to ‘play’ multiple instruments at the same time, resulting in a boisterous pseudo-symphony which is dissonant at times but somehow comes together.
The bespectacled and balding Schick isn’t who you might picture when thinking of a virtuoso percussionist. But the professor of music at the University of California, San Diego is an animated and entertaining performer to watch, with a mile-long list of accolades and accomplishments, including being an author and also conductor of La Jolla Symphony & Chorus. Coupled with Dresher’s fanatical compositions, it’s a performance that’s equally entertaining for older kids and adults – and might just have you banging your own pots and pans when you get back home.
Schick Machine runs at the Cultural Centre from Friday July 6 to Saturday July 7. For tickets: urbtix.hk.