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Preview Fri Jul 30 2010

Sónar Chicago and Adventures in Modern Music, 9/9-9/11

martyn-500.jpg

Martyn

With the Pitchfork Music Festival so recently behind us and Lollapalooza only a week away, it's difficult for most concert goers to even think of planning their September festival agendas. Electronic and experimental music lovers, however, are already booking days off work for the upcoming inaugural Sónar Chicago, slated for September 9-11. Already in its seventeenth year in its native Barcelona, this legendary celebration of synthetic sounds hopes to establish an annual autumn home in our fair city.

Veterans of avant-garde audio in Chicago no doubt associate September with the annual Adventures in Modern Music festival co-presented by the Empty Bottle and UK music magazine The Wire. This year will see this tradition continue, but now it's occurring as part of Sónar Chicago. Fear not, however, for although these two events are coinciding, Adventures in Modern Music won't lose its identity. You'll still get the full amazing line-up of experimental acts that you've come to expect from the combined efforts of The Wire and the Empty Bottle, you'll just happen to have a world-renowned electronic music festival on your doorstep as well - for free.

Yes, while all Adventures in Modern Music events will still charge admission as they have done in previous years, the rest of Sónar Chicago is absolutely free. How's that for making a good first impression on a new city? While cynics will assume that you can't get anything worthwhile without paying for it, here's where the line-up proves them wrong. The party starts on Thursday, September 9 at noon and doesn't stop until nine or ten hours later. That single day at Millenium Park's Pritzker Pavilion will see performances from Warp/Studio !K7's Jimmy Edgar, Dutch dubstepper Martyn and Kid Koala's project The Slew. Friday's events take place at the Chicago Cultural Center and feature a rare performance from Thrill Jockey glitch pioneer Oval as well as a visual show from Los Angeles experimental hip-hop producer Nosaj Thing. The Cultural Center remains the host for Saturday with highlights such as bRUNA's melodic brand of downtempo and Ben Frost's minimal ambient noise arrangements.

While the events downtown will focus on a wide range of electronic sounds, from beat-driven to ambient, the gigs arranged by The Wire and the Empty Bottle for the Adventures in Modern Music side of the festival will focus on the outer experimental limits. Starting early on September 8th with the Rhys Chatham Trio at the Museum of Contemporary Art, you'll be able to catch a master of minimalism while your ears are still fresh. Doom metal titans Sleep decimate the Logan Square Auditorium on Thursday night, while Rangda, Efterklang, Pocahaunted and Buke & Gass bring an attractive eclectic bill to the Empty Bottle on Friday. The Empty Bottle again hosts on Saturday with High Places, Wooden Shjips, Julian Lynch and Ahleuchatistas, while Sunday sees the proceedings end there with Cave, Cloud Canyon and Helen Money.

In addition to the music on offer, SonarCinema will present five films, screened first on Friday, then repeated on Saturday. The BBC documentary Synth Britannia is essential viewing for anyone with an interest in electronic music, punk or new wave, as it chronicles the movement of the synthesizer from the dark recesses of university sound labs onto the popular music stage. A clear contender for the festival's cinematic highlight is Amplified Gesture, a documentary produced as a companion piece to David Sylvian's outstanding 2009 album Manafon. Billed as "an introduction to free improvisation practitioners and their philosophy", the film features appearances by Otomo Yoshihide, Toshimaru Nakamura, Christian Fennesz, Keith Rowe, Eddie Prévost, Sachiko M., Evan Parker and more.

When Sónar first announced their intentions to come to Chicago only a few short months ago, it seemed as though they had given themselves a nearly impossible task to achieve in such a short amount of time. Now that the line-up has been revealed, it's clear that their ambitions will pay off and it's this city's electronic music lovers that will benefit the most. In joining forces with the already successful Adventures in Modern Music festival, Sónar has proven their dedication to experimental music and given Chicago a truly world-class event that will hopefully continue for many years to come.

 
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