When I was 8, I made my first—and maybe the best—do-it-yourself audio project of all time: the soup-can telephone.

Sponsored
Madeleine Peyroux and Paula Cole bring their iconic albums to the Benaroya Hall stage on October 8!
These sensational singer-songwriters celebrate their hit records, Careless Love and This Fire, at Benaroya Hall!

Take two empty soup cans, punch a small hole in the bottom of each can, thread a long string through both holes, and tie each end with a knot. Hand one can to your best friend. Walk far away so the string is taut, and start telling secrets, making fart sounds, or doing whatever feels right into the can.

The soup-can telephone is elegantly primitive. Acting as a transmitting wire, the string attached to the can vibrates, carrying the waves of sound inside one can to the other can. Compared to the crappy sound of cell phones and land lines, the soup can's resolution mimics a wax cylinder or a well-played 78 rpm record. Any resemblance to the originating sound is cramped and hollowed out. The can acts as a miniature cavern, sonically fogging whatever is inside; the stiffness of the string impedes the stuff our ears take for granted, filtering out high tones and low rumble.

At first glance, Jason Kahn's installation Wires suggests a series of suspended soup-can telephones. Four pairs of wired-up soup cans stretch across Jack Straw's New Media Gallery. Yet Kahn, an American sound artist based in Zurich, cannily exploits the humble container's lo-fi flaws. Focusing on resonance and repetition, Kahn sends a high-pitched 2400 Hz sine wave coursing along the wires connecting the cans. We hear the waves collect inside the can, quietly shivering, whining, purring, and rumbling. Wires reminds us that a wire (or a simple string) is a frozen wave waiting to be thawed by transmitting a message—or music. recommended

Wires runs through Fri March 28 at Jack Straw Productions, 4261 Roosevelt Way NE, 634-091, Mon–Fri 9 am–6 pm, free.

Concerts

Thurs 3/20

SEATTLE SYMPHONY

Gerry Schwarz and the band mount one of the tallest summits of Western music, J. S. Bach's Mass in B minor, BWV 232. With soloists Sarah Coburn (soprano), Mary Phillips (mezzo-soprano), Stanford Olsen (tenor), and Charles Robert Austin, the compelling bass-baritone in last summer's performance of Bluebeard's Castle. Also Fri March 21 at 1 pm and Sat March 22 at 8 pm. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 215-4747, 7:30 pm, $17—$105.

Fri 3/21

YOLANDA KONDONASSIS

I love the harp; in its modern (and comparatively giant) form, this instrument is a hybrid of a guitar and the guts of a grand piano. Kondonassis, whose disc Salzedo's Harp (Telarc) remains on regular rotation in my stereo, proffers a solo recital of music by Scarlatti, Handel, and Debussy as well as pieces by Donald, Erb, Alan Hovhaness, and the godfather of 20th-century harp technique, Carlos Salzedo. Recital Hall at Benaroya, 200 University St, 292-2787, 8 pm, $20.

HADLEY CALIMAN

Once nicknamed "little Dex," this friend and disciple of Dexter Gordon still sounds robust and lyrical at the age of 77. Caliman and his tenor saxophone were superb at the Ballard Jazz Walk last November, smoldering his way through Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage" with trumpeter Thomas Marriott. Here, he joins forces with Marriott and kickass vibraphonist Joe Locke to celebrate the release of his new disc, Gratitude (Origin). Reservations recommended. Tula's, 2214 Second Ave, 443-4221, 8:30 pm, $20.

Sat 3/22

JIM KNAPP ORCHESTRA

Usually heard at their monthly date up north at the Seattle Drum School, Knapp and company offer a rare performance at Cornish, where Knapp began developing the jazz program over three decades ago. Without Knapp, jazz in our burg might be a desert with two or three select oases. Instead, the masters who were hired—Julian Priester, Hadley Caliman, Jovino Santos Neto, and many others—and the impossibly long list of impressive students including Eyvind Kang, Briggan Krauss, Dawn Clement, and assorted musicians from the Monktail Creative Music Concern attest to Knapp's crucial contribution to jazz in Seattle. PONCHO Concert Hall at Cornish College, 710 E Roy St, 325-6500, 8 pm, $7.50/$15.

MAEG O'DONOGHUE-WILLIAMS

This improvising vocalist presents improvisations in tandem with compositions featuring singers Jessika Kenney, Stephen Fandrich, and others. Gallery 1412, 1412 18th Ave, 322-1533, 8 pm, free but donations accepted.

Mon 3/24

CAMERATA IRELAND

Noted pianist Barry Douglas captains this Irish orchestra in a slew of pieces for strings: the mandatory Eine kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart and Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, along with the "Andante for Strings" of Prokofiev and the seldom heard Concerto in D by Stravinsky. Douglas is the soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 14. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 215-4747, 7:30 pm, $21—$81.

Tues 3/25

KATSAOUNIS & SCOTT

Support The Stranger

Chiefly known as the pop group Locks, the Chicago-based duo appears here improvising minimal and utterly engaging electronic music. Gallery 1412, 1412 18th Ave, 322-1533, 8 pm, free but donations accepted.

chris@delaurenti.net

Sponsored
DocFest Kicks Off The Return of SIFF Cinema | Sep 30-Oct 7
A celebration of all films documentary—with in person and virtual screenings, plus filmmaker Q&As.