Joe Rauen

Artist of the Month | February 2020


I have used K&K Big Twin and Twin Spot to amplify a banjo-sitar hybrid with a salad bowl resonator, a fretless instrument with catfood can resonator, two unusual kalimbas, a wooden box with door stoppers and coat hooks, and a tennis racquet violin. In each case the transducers were easy to use. I didn’t have to spend a long time looking for the sweet spot on the instrument. Most importantly the electronics reflect the natural sound of the instrument. When I make an instrument from a tennis racquet or a catfood can I want the unique sounds of those materials to shine through. K&K has made that possible.

Joe Rauen is an artist and musician who makes playable musical instruments out of found objects. Rauen’s work tends to include canes, hockey sticks, plumbing, tennis racquets, toys, kitchen utensils, luggage, hardware, and the detritus of everyday life. His work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, WGN Morning News and on the PBS program Eye on the Arts.

At his residency at Ace Hotel Chicago Rauen plays compositions and improvisations with more than a dozen one of a kind instruments. His music explores a wide variety of styles and settings, and borrows heavily from jazz, fusion, and world beat. Rauen is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music and a grant recipient form the Indiana Arts Commission.

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