The sound of a summer storm's distant thunder and the rain on the roof - the memory of the late night sound of his mother's typewriter down the hall - these compel the sound collector and sonic inventor Laslo Klangfarben to attempt the creation of the Schick Machine, a wondrous mechanical device that consumes his every waking and dreaming moment. A giant motorized hurdy gurdy, a deconstructed pipe organ and an array of spinning and thrashing metal machines that seem almost to be alive - these devices and more fill the basement workshop of our possibly mad and possibly genius inventor as he nears the completion of his giant instrument that he believes can reconcile the past and the future. He thinks: "Theoretically it's sound. It's sound, theoretically, it's sound."
Collaboratively created by a multi-disciplinary team including composer/instrument builder Paul Dresher, writer/director Rinde Eckert, percussionist/performer Steven Schick, lighting and visual designer Tom Ontiveros, instrument inventor/educator Daniel Schmidt, and mechanical sound artist Matt Heckert, Schick Machine features percussionist Schick exploring a visually compelling world of mechanical devices, invented instruments and seemingly infinite sonic possibilities. He occupies a stage filled with large scale invented instruments, drawing the audience into a magical place filled with creative potential. The audience quickly relinquishes its expectations about what an instrument should look like, how it should be played, and what sounds it can make, and is enticed into a sonorous world of continual aural and visual surprises. Schick Machine has been created specifically to appeal to a broad range of audiences including families, youth and students and senior citizens.
"The sounds are fresh and surprising... Schick's playing is often mind-blowing."
The Los Angeles Times
"A gorgeous clutter of instruments fills the stage... a quiet and contemplative piece of theater... crisp, enrapturing visual aesthetic."
The San Francisco Bay Guardian
"Schick's evenness of touch and mastery of pacing make it hard to believe that one person is playing these absurdly complex interlocking timbral and rhythmic patterns, reminiscent of a one man gamelan orchestra."
BBC Music Magazine