Byzantine Time Machine is a Chicago based music group that mixes electronic music with the sound of Arabic percussion, Greek clarinet and dulcimer, and Balkan brass. These instruments are then dispatched through an array of computer generated effects, and layered with deep sub-bass and synthesizers to create the mutated, sci-fi, sub-genre of ethno-dub music. is an Ethno-Dub music group.
BTM’s specially trained technicians utilize their time machine to simultaneously bring you closer to the past and the future!!! Imagine the sound of a Middle Eastern goblet drum, processed digitally through a frequency shifter? How about a Greek dulcimer with oscillating temporal flux? Transform a Turkish clarinet solo via ring-modulation, add to that a resonant synth sub-bass, and whenever possible, a horn section, and you have Byzantine Time Machine!!!
BTM formed when 2 Chicago based music scientists, (and married couple), George Lawler and Eve Monzingo had a desire to do something a bit different with their music: Combine the folk music of man’s “Byzantine” ancestors with modern electronic music. The result is a percussive, backbeat driven, electronic sci-fi dub sound, with multilingual vocals, atmospheric dulcimer licks, and echoey clarinet leads. To top that off, horn lines are laid down on trumpet and trombone by skilled technicians Sam Johnson and Elanor Leskiw.
Lawler, who spent the last 15 years honing his skills in world percussion, touring with bands such as Lamajamal, Mucca Pazza, Occidental Brothers Dance band, Hawk and a Hacksaw, and Natacha Atlas, has now found a way to combine his percussion skills with his passion for electronic music. His BTM drumset is a self made percussion kit consisting of frame drums, darbuka, bass drum, and cymbals, which are all close mic’d and sent to the computer’s sound card for processing.
Eve Monzingo has always gravitated towards the sounds of the Mediterranean; Epirotan clarinet, Balkan sax, and dulcimer from the Greek islands. She is a first call for Greek clarinet in Chicago, has played dulcimer with the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble for 19 years, sax and clarinet with Lamajamal, and Mucca Pazza, and is musical director for the Orpheus Hellenic Preservation Society. With the help of an electronic pickup on the barrel of her clarinet, and a dual piezoelectric pickup on her sandouri (Greek dulcimer), she is now a fully interfaced cybernetic musician!
Sam Johnson and Elanor Leskiw have provided the power behind horn sections in Chicago and around the world for the last 10 years, from Mucca Pazza, Girl Group Chicago, the Lowdown Brass Band, Hawk and a Hacksaw, the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, and beyond, they are now “bringing the brass” to Byzantine Time Machine.