Lia Kohl
Credit: Ash Dye

When I interviewed experimental Chicago cellist, composer, and improviser Lia Kohl last year for the Reader’s People Issue, she talked about using radios in her solo work. “Something I really like about the radio is that I’m responding,” she said. “You turn on the radio, and someone could say pretty much anything—except, like, a select number of swear words.” Kohl has an affinity for collaboration—her regular partners include Macie Stewart, Makaya McCraven, and Katinka Kleijn—and she treats her field recordings like active collaborators too. On her new solo album, The Ceiling Reposes (American Dreams), Kohl builds songlike, borderline ambient instrumental compositions that incorporate radio broadcasts she recorded while staying on Vashon Island, just off the southwest coast of Seattle. She frames each fragmentary sample so that even the static feels like a living part of the lush, tranquil, gradually evolving music, and the radio recordings mesh with the other material so well that you might wonder if they weren’t also somehow responding to her. Kohl fleshed out the album with a small symphony of instruments she played herself—cello, of course, plus synthesizers, kazoo, wind machine, piano, drums, bells, and concertina. When a rococo piano figure needles through the sound of a radio jumping among stations on “Became Daily Today,” it ushers in a brief but flourishing melody that feels as calming as a warm bath.

Lia Kohl Fri 3/10, 7:30 PM, International Museum of Surgical Science, 1524 N. Lake Shore Drive, $15, $7 with membership, all ages