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Monday, December 9

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Transmission
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Concert Wed Mar 21 2007

Tender Knobs and Buttons

Thought versus emotion. Indigo over red. Cool colors recede while warm colors advance. Get the balance right. That's color theory 101 -- a basic rule of visual push and pull. In musical terms, it's that same sense of balance that Berlin-based deejay and producer Ellen Allien possesses in spades, what sets her music -- and that of the artists she releases on her BPitch Control label -- apart in a scene awash with boilerplate dance music. Five years after her debut, 2006 saw the release of of her collaborative effort with labelmate Apparat. Entitled Orchestra of Bubbles, the album is a full and moodily rich affair, the result of a creative symbiosis that found both artists bringing out the best in each other. On her own, Allien's a rhymthic polymath, drawing freely from a satchel full of tricks that spans electronica subgenres. Techno and electro are key components, but she can just as easily go leftfield as get all lushly pop on your ass. Most strikingly, she has a strong ear for cushioning and counterpointing the more abstract and clinical aspects of a track with subtely oh-so human touches. Her music is often sexy, but only obliquely so. Its emotiveness and eroticism, like her sense of melody, is implied rather than directly engaged. Its warmth is like the wisp of a lover's breath on your neck. You might savor the sensation by itself, or you might decide to cozy closer to its source. The next move, dancing or otherwise, is yours.

Allien will be in Chicago this Friday night, putting down a headlining DJ set at Smart Bar. The tour is scheduled to coincide with her audio guide to Berlin (and accompanying DVD) that will be released next month in conjunction with Time Out magazine. Up first for the evening is the San Francisco-based "micro-house" artist known as Safety Scissors, whose prior releases on the Plug Research and ~Scape labels saw him crafting vaguely pop-ish songs stretched over twitchy, hiccuping beats and glitchy laptop scribble. The evening gets under way at 10 PM. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 the night of.

[Video]: Ellen Allien - "Trashscapes"
[mp3]: Ellen Allien & Apparat - "Do Not Break"

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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