Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, December 7

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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 »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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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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