Credit: Noé Cuéllar


It’s always sad when somebody robs a tour vehicle, and it’s happened to acts as big as Sonic Youth and Leon Russell—to avoid simply throwing in the towel and going home, the musicians are forced to play borrowed equipment or buy an entire new stage rig, while sending increasingly desperate pleas to fans asking them to comb pawnshops for the missing gear. But it’s barely possible to steal equipment from Partial, the Pilsen-based duo of Noé Cuellar (also of Coppice) and Joseph Clayton Mills (from Maar and Haptic)—and even if you did, it wouldn’t slow them down at all. Their music is site-specific, made with materials sourced from the place where it’s played. They recorded the three pieces on their sole CD, the 2014 release LL (Another Timbre), in the basement of Pilsen Vintage & Thrift; they chose items from its inventory of old tools, instruments, housewares, electronics, furniture, and tchotchkes, taking into account not only the objects’ sonic potential but also the histories they imagined to be embedded in them. And when they played at Sector 2337, their instruments came right off the gallery’s table. This flexibility lets them play pretty much anywhere, and better yet, no two performances are remotely alike.