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Chicago explorers Bitchin Bajas to pay homage to Sun Ra

Last fall Chicago drone explorers Bitchin Bajas released a cassette of synthesizer-only Sun Ra covers called Switched on Ra (Drag City). The trio of Cooper Crain, Rob Frye, and Dan Quinlivan combine feel-good vibes with versatility and flexibility—they’ve shape-shifted into a free-jazz-inspired combo on Frye’s 2021 solo LP, Exoplanet (Astral Spirits), and leaned into their […]

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Chicago singer-songwriter Claude makes dream pop for the youth, young and old

“I’m a twentysomething / Don’t you think it’s about time?” Chicago singer-songwriter Claudia Ferme, aka Claude, sighs on “Twenty Something,” which opens her debut full-length, A Lot’s Gonna Change (American Dreams). The track breathes and pulses through dream-pop heaven with swirling, chiming guitars and distant, mellow horns. It’s meant to be redolent of a certain […]

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WLUW’s Abstract Science celebrates 25 years with a 25-hour marathon broadcast

In July 2017, the hosts of WLUW 88.7 FM’s weekly electronic-music program, Abstract Science, celebrated the show’s 20th anniversary with a blockbuster 20-hour broadcast. (Gossip Wolf managed to tune in for a few of those hours, anyway. Sleep is important!) Those hosts include longtime selectors Chris Widman, Henry Self, Luke Stokes, Joshua P. Ferguson, and […]

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Drummer Susie Ibarra and guitarist Tashi Dorji subdivide sound and silence on Master of Time

In 2019, the Tang Museum at Skidmore College presented The Second Buddha: Master of Time, an exhibition concerning Padmasambhava, the guru credited with bringing Buddhism to Tibet during the eighth century. Along with lectures and exhibits both visual and virtual, the museum commissioned a concert—conceived as a “musical bardo exploration”—by Susie Ibarra, a Philippine American […]

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Chicago duo Conjunto Primitivo concoct an irresistible blend of reggaeton and industrial

In March 2020, when I wrote about underground industrial label Chicago Research and the tight-knit community that surrounded it, I heard that local duo Conjunto Primitivo planned to release their debut full-length through the label. Considering how that month ended, I’m not surprised to see that album coming out only now—and I can’t argue with […]