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Transmission
« Reviews: Shudder to Think & Wombats/Telenovela 10th Annual World Music Festival Chicago »

Feature Wed Sep 10 2008

Adventures in Modern Music, 2008

This year's Adventures in Modern Music series at The Empty Bottle once again promises to showcase exciting bands from across the sea as well as across town. International influences range from Finnish to Japanese to French, while local tastes collaborate and cultivate new relationships (like Chicagoans do so well). All will satisfy your musical palate like some delicious auditory buffet. Head down Western Avenue this week, and you'll walk away from the five days of music pleasantly full. A bargain by any measure, tickets are just $15 per night (for 4 performances), or $60 for a 5-day pass.

Wednesday, 9/10

Keiji Haino

It's the other other Man in Black; not Johnny Cash, and not Roy Orbison, either. Keiji Haino is a dark-shaded, long-haired, all-black-wearing Japanese electrified hunger artist who rides into town with six strings that draw blood (and feedback) and a keening wail that makes Yoko sound like Ray Coniff. Although he's also known for plucking a mean koto and has cut several albums on solo hurdy-gurdy (!!), here he'll be plugging his Gibson SG into four amps...one for each hemisphere of your brain (with an extra to clean up the mess afterward). Expect something between Japanese Kabuki, a ritual bloodletting, and a condensed history of Blue Cheer, minus "Summertime Blues" or requests from the audience.
-Chris Sienko

"Wire Fest"

These Are Powers

These Are Powers

With 2007's Terrific Season, the Brooklyn trio These Are Powers offered one of the most impressive off-the-radar debuts of the year — a writhing, heady brew of psych-tinged no-wave skree. Sure, a number of outer-edge aficionados took note because the guitars sounded like power tools leaning into a hard day's work. But with their recent Taro Tarot EP, the band demonstrated that their sound is still an intriguingly open equation. These days they're moving into spookier, more hypnotic terrain; with the addition of Chicago percussionist Bill Salas (aka Brenmar) tinting the travelogue with shades of pan-cultural tribalism. With each turn, it's making more and more sense why the band calls what they do "ghost punk." Their appearance tonight — playing an early slot in the evening's billing — marks the end of the group's summer sabbatical in Chicago before they head out on a national tour.
-Graham Sanford

Thursday, 9/11

Black Month Super Rainbow

Black Moth Super Rainbow (BMSR) is really a band of two opposing sides. On one side you have the strange album covers and mysterious names (Tobacco, The Seven Fields of Aphelion, Power Pill Fist, Iffernaut, and Father Hummingbird), and then you have the childlike innocence and pure summer haze of their music. Their 2007 release, Dandelion Gum (on Chicago's Graveface Records), sounded like a swarm of cicadas sizzling in the sun, and transported you instantly to fields and playgrounds. The group has been releasing albums on their on imprint The '70s Gymnastics Recording Company since 2003, but it was the collaboration with the like mind Octopus Project that brought them national attention in 2006. This year BMSR has rereleased Dandelion Gum on vinyl with a Scratch n Sniff cover, and they have also released a limited edition Scratch n Sniff EP called Drippers.
-Jason Behrends

Transmission Feature 9/10, Evangalista

Evangalista

Evangalista

Evangelista is the latest project from former Geraldine Fidders frontwoman Carla Bozulich, who's now putting the name of her prior solo album toward her new musical partnership with bassist and co-songwriter Tara Barnes. With the help of numerous friends and former collaborators (including members of Thee Silver Mt. Zion and an appearance from Fibber alumn/Wilco member Nels Cline), the band's recent debut Hello, Voyager is an exceptionally stunning affair. Dark, heavy, sometimes rippingly cathartic, at others desolately beautiful — it's an emotionally raw mix of heavy gothic folk-blues that earns the description easily. Reviews have been unanimously amazed, and it isn't difficult to see why. After some 20-plus years of making-music, Bozulich still has lots of surprises up her sleeve.
-Graham Sanford

Friday, 9/12

Henry Flynt

The original back-porch shaman, the raga-billy, Henry Flynt's story reads like the stories of all the great bluesmen of yore, shifted up fifty years. Originally playing in the '60s with Yoko Ono, John Cale, LaMonte Young, the Velvet Underground and others, Flynt spent the next 30 years in musical isolation, recording only for himself and his kin. His style mixes country-blues stomp with modal improvisation and Indian raga discipline, and sometimes he just goes into full meltdown, as is the case with his band Nova-Billy, a '70s hillbilly No Wave group. Flynt's myriad styles have been well represented by various releases on the Locust Music label here in Chicago, and his live appearances are as rare as the proverbial hen's teeth. Best not to wait, in case another 30 years slip by.
-Chris Sienko

Saturday, 9/13

Flying Lotus

Steven Ellison (a.k.a. Flying Lotus) was born with music in his blood. The great nephew of the innovative Alice Coltrane, FlyLo has every reason to combine the pureness of jazz with cloudy, hazy and lazy beats like he does. In an interview he did following he death of Ms. Coltrane last year he had this say, "I lost more than a musical mentor. I lost more than an aunt. I lost my spiritual guide." He took that sense of loss and created the album Los Angeles (Warp, 2008) which shows considerable growth from his 2006 debut 1983. His beats are really unlike anything I have ever heard combing jazz with ambient drones, and then adding subtle nods to the tropics and of course electronic music. With off tempo percussion and casual hip hop beats, he has created an organic sound that fans of many different genres have found appealing.
-Jason Behrends

Blues Control

Some tastes are made to go together naturally...who can imagine a time before chocolate and peanut butter? Others seem like they wouldn't work, such as pineapple, peanuts, and chili sauce, but they can really boogie down if you just put a little heat under 'em. The mixture of Lea Cho's Terry Riley-esque electric piano, full of drone lines and hammered, arpeggiated chords, with Russ Waterhouse's pedal-effected acid-blues guitar sounds like a study in intentionally mismatched contrasts, but it's not. Blues Control is a new musical flavor like you've never tasted before, like Wasabi ice cream, or chocolate chip tortillas. They wowed an audience at Northwestern's "Sonic Celluloid" series back in May with their tightly composed and imagistic film score, but this performance is more likely to be what they do best — hazy, drumless-but-not-beatless psychedelic riffing.
-Chris Sienko

Lau Nau

Inspired by the birth of her son, Finland's Laura Naukkarinen (a.k.a. Lau Nau) released an album this past May that plays more like a dream then a folk album. In fact the title of the album, Nukkuu is Finnish for sleep. This, her sophomore album, was released on Chicago's Locust Music label and was conceived in tight attics & vacant dens on off hours when her young son Nuutti was fast asleep. I picture the sounds and words slowly seeping into his dreams and painting a world that is both folklore and fantasy — calming any beasts that may be present. Since Laura sings primarily in her native tongue the non-Finnish listener can allow his or her mind to drift through the ambient spaces and steady drone of her sound. A sound that is highlighted by, what seems to be exotic, instruments like baby phones and Russian candy bird flutes.
-Jason Behrends

Sunday, 9/14

"Wire Fest"

Daedelus

Daedelus

It seems to have taken a number of people a while to realize that experimental beatmaking doesn't have to be a stolid, clinical exercise; but when he first appeared on the scene about eight years ago, it appears that Daedelus was far ahead of the learning curve. The L.A. producer's most recent release Love To Make Music To (Ninja Tune), finds him hop-scotching around the stylistic board, soaking things down in watercolor washes of analog keyboards and cheekily dipping into some stock '90s rave effects. Still, throughout much of it, he's still maintained the surreal storybookish charm that made his early work so distinctly refreshing. Were someone to make a feature-length animated version of Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland, Daedelus would be the best person to provide the soundtrack. He appears at the Fest Sunday night, performing just prior to the headlining set by polyglot prog rhythmatists Icy Demons.
-Graham Sanford

The Adventures in Modern Music Festival, 2008 at The Empty Bottle

Wednesday, 9/10
Keiji Haino
Tussle
These Are Powers
Paul Metzger

Thursday, 9/11
Black Moth Super Rainbow
Evangelista
Colourmusic
Agathe Max

Friday, 9/12
Busdriver
Henry Flynt
Ecstatic Sunshine
Musket

Saturday, 9/13
Flying Lotus
Shugo Tokumaru
Blues Control
Lau Nau

Sunday, 9/14
Icy Demons
Daedelus
Arnold Dreyblatt and his Orchestra of Excited Strings
Dead Machines

 
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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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