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Eiko Ishibashi’s Hyakki Yagyō is a dazzling and dizzying musical ghost story

Japanese multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Eiko Ishibashi has spent the past couple decades working in a multitude of idioms, including art-pop, jazz, postpunk, and free improvisation. It’s been thrilling to hear her move among styles and ideas from album to album, and her latest, Hyakki Yagyō (“Night Parade of One Hundred Demons”), is one of her […]

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The harsh noise of Evicshen’s Hair Birth will leave your head spinning

Massachusetts-based sound artist and instrument maker Victoria Shen, who performs as Evicshen, makes music that rattles your brain. Her debut LP, Hair Birth (American Dreams), is a master class in explosive cacophony driven by blaring modular synthesizers. This isn’t just unregulated noise: Shen puts thought into her songcraft, and it’s immediately apparent right from the […]

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Kassel Jaeger and Jim O’Rourke take us on a journey with In Cobalt Aura Sleeps

In 2017, Paris-based electroacoustic composer Kassel Jaeger (born François Bonnet) and Chicago-born multi-instrumentalist Jim O’Rourke joined forces for Wakes on Cerulean, a kaleidoscopic duo recording filled with shape-shifting electronics and field recordings. On their brand-new second collaborative album, In Cobalt Aura Sleeps (Editions Mego), they aim to convey a similarly rapturous experience, but the piece […]

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Chicago producer RXM Reality drops an inspiringly restless and endlessly explosive new album

Enforced mass social isolation can really make you crave constant stimuli. As each day feels longer than the one before, the slow crawl of hours makes the frenetic dance music on Blood Blood Blood Blood Blood—the latest howler from Chicago-based producer RXM Reality, aka Mike Meegan—sound like a salve. It’s Meegan’s sixth album under that […]

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On the new Who Sent You? Irreversible Entanglements are more political and potent than ever

Irreversible Entanglements will leave you shaken. The group make tight, synergistic free jazz anchored by the dynamic spoken-word declarations of poet Moor Mother, aka Camae Ayewa. Their music sometimes sounds chaotic and freewheeling, but it ensnares listeners with arrangements carefully considered to help deliver fiery political messages. The five-piece ensemble—the lineup also includes saxophonist Keir […]

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Caribou makes intimate dance music that’s irresistibly personal

Update: To help slow the spread of COVID-19, this show has been postponed until further notice. Ticket holders should contact point of purchase for refund or exchange information. Canadian artist Dan Snaith, who performs as Caribou, crafts mesmerizing explorations of dance music that are alluring, catchy, and intimate. He distills various strains of house music […]

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Ganavya Doraiswamy & Rajna Swaminathan confront historical oppressions with a fusion of jazz and Carnatic music

The works of Ganavya Doraiswamy and Rajna Swaminathan offer a highly personal take on Carnatic music (South Indian classical music) that seamlessly blends ideas from different time periods and genres. On Doraiswamy’s debut album, 2018’s Aikyam: Onnu (Yāttirai), the vocalist and composer suffuses jazz standards such as George Gershwin’s “Summertime” and Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark” with […]

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Oren Ambarchi and Crys Cole open the Frequency Festival with entrancing sound worlds

Sound artists Oren Ambarchi and Crys Cole have both had thrilling careers. Ambarchi has run experimental label Black Truffle for more than a decade, and he’s collaborated with a wide array of avant-garde luminaries, including Sunn O))), Keiji Haino, and Keith Rowe and John Tilbury (both veterans of long-running UK improvising group AMM). Last year, […]

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Experimental musician Daniel Wyche celebrates his 40th birthday with a show at Elastic Arts

Composer and guitarist Daniel Wyche has long been a vital figure in Chicago’s experimental music scene, most notably at Elastic Arts, where he’s curated, produced, and organized concerts since 2013. His upcoming show at the Logan Square venue, where he’ll perform alongside frequent collaborator and fellow guitarist Mark Shippy, celebrates his 40th birthday and his […]

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Korean girl group Dreamcatcher catches on after their alt-metal makeover

Dreamcatcher evolved out of a chipper five-member Korean girl group called Minx that launched in 2014 and soldiered through a couple of unsuccessful years. In 2017 they started again, armed with a new name, two more members, and a gothic makeover. Their debut single as Dreamcatcher, “Chase Me”—indebted to 2000s alt-metal groups such as Evanescence—introduced […]

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Footwork innovator Jlin continues to expand her sound

Indiana-based footwork producer Jlin is laser-focused in her vision and in her dedication to expanding her sound. Her debut album, Dark Energy, arrived in 2015, when footwork was gaining sizable popularity outside Chicago. The record stood out for its severity, with confrontational tracks that elegantly pair brooding tones with footwork’s precise rhythms. Jlin’s follow-up, 2017’s […]

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Italian composer Caterina Barbieri casts a retrofuturistic aura on Ecstatic Computation

The cover of Caterina Barbieri’s 2019 album Ecstatic Computation (Editions Mego) is composed of two eyes digitally layered over a photo of grayish fog. Its retrofuturistic aura is an apt representation of the Italian composer’s music and what she strives to accomplish through it. Drawing largely upon the works of German musicians such as Klaus […]