Heard superficially, the music of Liof Munimula sounds like a lot of chaotic clatter–it did to me, at least, until my ears learned to accept Don Meckley’s shortwave-radio dial twiddling as music. This band illustrates well how the most adventurous contemporary music can force us to stop expecting to hear rhythm and melody as distinct elements and to confront the idea of music as a sonic landscape with endlessly surprising morphology. If you’re unfamiliar with the turf and intimidated by the seeming seriousness of all this, be assured that Liof’s music isn’t overly cerebral. They can be almost as funny as Hal Russell, and like Russell they rely a lot on experience-tempered intuition; while percussionist Michael Zerang restlessly searches for new textures, Daniel Scanlan’s guitar playing (sometimes) provides a reference point for listeners who need it. So instead of thinking too hard, you’re best off just drifting through the noise until its musicality comes into focus, much as the streets of an unfamiliar town resolve into a comprehensible grid after you wander through them for a while. Saturday, 8:30 PM, HotHouse, 1569 N. Milwaukee; 235-2334.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Marc PoKempner.