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Review Wed Feb 20 2008

Review: Dalek, Russian Circles @ Subterranean

Boom. Bap.


Abstract music, from the perspective of someone whose tastes tend more towards mainstream, can really never be understood without a shrug. Even those heavy into the experimental and abstract can exhibit more enthusiasm for the music than the music actually moves you to.

Last night at SubT, three very abstract acts took the stage, and played close to three hours of what I can really only term as atmospherics. This is beyond the fringe, where simple basslines go nowhere without accompaniment by a variable note that sounds as if it was produced by an violinist with an four foot bow. The bass of drumbeats sometimes lost the battle for prevailing rhythm to guitars and laptops.

Young Widows opened, and they came out hard and loud. Dalek followed, and the hip-hop head in me heard mostly what I expected from their albums; abstract lyrics, high-end to complete heavy bass. I was amazed, though, that my head was nodding at a pretty fast clip. At their core, these were the same basslines that formed the foundation of songs I know and knew, just their backing was different. Screeches, static, and high pitched noises from the bowels of a MacBook Pro made it so.

Russian Circles, devoid of lyricists, continued the atmospherics, but, without the need to stay in a constant beat to accommodate words, they were free to perform longform instrumentals that were adventurous and ethereal.

Unfortunately, ethereal soundscapes and atmospheric melodic structure does not make for a good live show. The opening act fit the usual live show MO, but Dalek's crunching style and Russian Circles' melodic wanderings are, quite frankly, better for headphone-based consumption. Good music? Sure. Good music to listen to live? Uh,, not really.

Sure, it's heavy. Sure, it's not danceable. But the chanced these artists take in making their music is pretty refreshing. There's something to be said for living on the fringe. It's better said while isolated in your own headphone world, though.

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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.

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  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

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  & 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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