Sick Llama @ The Hideout, 10/18/2017

Sick Llama is maybe the best noise solo act in America? The best noise comes from Detroit, and Sick Llama may just be the best classic noise jammer jamming in Detroit. Especially the past few years, Sick Llama sets have often veered out of harsh territory into the deep, heavy, and incredibly psychedelic. This video provides a really good example of where he’s at, with plenty of broken tape loops, fried manipulations of synth recordings, and, of course, the clarinet.

Heath Moerland is also proprietor of the soon-to-be-finito Fag Tapes label (once it hits 1000 releases, sometime soon apparently). He is also a purveyor of all sorts of merchandise brandishing the truly excellent graphic that goes “Music is a Natural High.” Sure is.

This was video was recorded by Erica Mei Gamble at an edition of the Resonance Series, booked by Ben Baker Billington and Sullivan Roger Davis.

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ADT @ The Hideout, 2/24/2018

In a city with one of the most richest active jazz traditions alongside one of America’s most vibrant avant music scenes, a band like ADT may be inevitable. Chicago’s a place where various lines are always intersecting, where sounds and ideas float around and mutate rapidly, resulting in this hodge podge group of free jazz, noise, and pop musicians making the deepest, psych burner free music imaginable.  So yeah, ADT’s occurrence in Chicago makes a lot of sense, but their excellence is not a foregone conclusion.

And fuck are they good. They consistently rip at just about any gig they show up at, and this set at The Hideout acts as something of a showcase of all the little niches they have developed over the years. The band’s own Kyle Drouin worked the projections throughout the set. This recording was taken just this past weekend at the record release show for the band’s new album Insecurities on Hausu Mountain. It’s a really really good album, and pretty stunning on account of the fact that the band improvised all of those intricate, melodic compositions on the spot.

This video was shot by Erica Gamble at a show organized by Doug Kaplan.

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Opheliaxz @ Smart Bar 10/12/2017

Incredibly on techno set from Smart Bar’s newish Research & Development series, bringing artists who are a little more explicitly weird or underground in for free Thursday shows. This particular Opheliaxz set is that rare blend of jubilant vibes and super hard techno. So many DJs seem to skew dark when it comes to techno this aggressive, but it just doesn’t have to be that way!

Opheliaxz has also put out some really choice mixes recently through the c- label on Soundcloud. Kelsey Knots, the real name behind Opheliaxz, is also integral to the Terry Radio crew, and therefore involved with some of the best radio on the internet.

This video was shot by Erica Mei Gamble.

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More Eaze @ Museum of Human Achievement, 3/14/2017

Austin, TX’s More Eaze is a musician full of surprises, with work sprawling across blissed out glitch electronics, spiderwebbed pop, and restrained collage work. And as you’d expect from someone covering all this ground, More Eaze puts out a lot. 2017 saw new pieces of work released on labels including Orange Milk and Astral Spirits.

This set from earlier last year is simple in scope, yet incredibly effective in execution. ME does a tight 10 minutes, full of playfulness and climaxing for just as long as needed. This set includes a drummer, who is there for flourishes and color as much as anything else.

This performance was recorded by El Demonio vive en Texas at the Austin Cultural Exchange first anniversary show.

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ADAB @ Neon Falls, Have Known 1/5/2018

Here we have an absolutely killer techno set. Saw this one live in the flesh here in Chicago and I was pretty floored, especially given the probability of seeing a totally meh techno set in a big pseudo-warehouse space with concrete floors. ADAB hails from Cleveland and helps organize the Heaven is in You party at Now That’s Class, very likely a party worth checking out if you’re in the good old CLE. The party put together a comp a couple of years back that has some real Cleveland heavy hitter on it, like Forest Management and Glacial 23.

The Neon Falls party is pretty excellent! It’s organized by dynamic duo Glenna Fitch who DJs as SOLD and Alex Bond, who has been spinning recently as Hi-Vis. This incarnation was especially primo, and it’ll be very exciting to see how the party continues to develop in its second year.

This video was shot by Erica Gamble.

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Wish Fulfillment @ House of Heavy Petting, 12/28/2017

You could have caught me back in 2013 trashing Eurorack culture (especially at that inevitable moment in the middle of the 6-hour long module demo set when some switch was flipped and the 4/4 kick started) and I’ll be damned if you still do not want to get me started on it today.* But sometimes you actually see a damn musician use one of these things and it’s pretty fucking magnificent.

Here we have beloved Chicago scene presence Tim Nordberg presenting a smokin’ hot modular synth composition under his Wish Fulfillment project. Tons of open space that wonderful tension between slow, wistful melody and machine freaking. Kinda one of those you’ll just have to listen to it sets, so go for it. TN was involved with the Rubicon space down in Pilsen while it was open, and is often seen around town working sound and making other people’s DJ sets pop.

This video was shot by Erica Mei Gamble at a show organized by Ben Baker Billington.

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*If you want to get me started, get in the Cafe Chat.

Groove du Jour: Sick Live Video Artists Pt. 1

Today’s Groove du Jour focuses on some really exciting people making what are often dubbed “live visuals.” It’s a funny term (like, sure we call stuff we smell smells but uhh…) and who knows when it even entered the lexicon, since projections during music have been happening since at least the original hippie moment when liquid light shows were very much so a thing.

Anyway, here are some really good video artists jamming around the wider American experimental scene. This post focuses on some of the fresher faces, and is kind of limited to a certain broad genre of music. Would love to get some videos up here of projections from dance parties and raves, so hopefully that’s part 2. Without further ado:

Christine Janokowicz aka armpitrubber

Christine Janokowicz is a video artist based in Chicago and does a pretty amazing job with a cobbled together array of video synths and computer tools. She’s been all over the local scene recently, lending some psychedelic delights to many of the musicians in the Hausu Mountain nexus. Venomenema is her AV project with Max Allison aka Mukqs. First video courtesy of Erica Mei Gamble.


Angel Marcloid

The last video in the previous entry contains contains very similar imagery to that used in videos Angel Marcloid made to play during her Fire-Toolz live sets. While AM doesn’t really make video work for anyone else, it’s very much so worth highlighting the work she makes for herself. You can see a lot of it posted on the Fire-Toolz YouTube channel. Super wild glitched out vaporwave collage vibes there. AM is also based in Chicago.

Continue reading Groove du Jour: Sick Live Video Artists Pt. 1