Psssst! Write this down. No, wait: Tear this section out of the paper and hand the scrap to the next person you see. Are you ready? Here it is: In the summer of 2004, shit will happen in St. Louis, and it will not suck. Make sure everybody knows.
The tip comes from Joe Raglani, who has emerged from a sullen cocoon of what he terms "total inactivity" to summon forth a diverse group of musicians to perform one-off shows in the new-and-improved Radio Cherokee (3227 Cherokee Street, 314-773-2164). These musicians have but one directive: Do something new. Oh yeah, and they have to perform as duets, because Raglani's series of monthly shows is called "Duets." OK, that's two restrictions, but after that they're free to play whatever springs forth from their minds once they take the stage.
The idea of pairing off talented improvisers in a group show is nothing new, as Raglani is quick to point out. Derek Bailey's "Company Week" shows, the Offsite collaborations in Tokyo and even the original Cabaret Voltaire of the Dada movement all utilized this trope -- but you gotta go to Europe, to Japan or 90 years back in time to experience any of those. "Duets" is right here, right now.
For the Saturday, May 1, show (8 p.m., $5), bassist Darin Gray has agreed to perform with electro-acoustic saboteur Eric Hall; Dave Stone (look in the dictionary under "saxophone titan"), Danny McClain (percussion/voice of the whirlwind) and Raglani (sound-wave manipulation) himself will also perform, but no one has decided in what combination. Panicsville, Chris Smentkowski and Emil Beaulieau are locked in for upcoming performances. Freakazoid noise fans are now drooling, but even if you don't think you're particularly well suited for such sound excursions, Raglani begs to differ.
"I think listening is one of the most important elements of making music," he says, but careful listening also benefits the audience. Be patient, close your eyes, and realize you will never again hear what you're hearing.