Electronic music has long been equated with cold perfection, but in the last decade a number of artists have set their sights on fucking up its flawless systems. While British artists like Autechre, Aphex Twin, and Boards of Canada have pulled it off in the context of what can broadly be labeled dance music, a number of veteran German and Austrian techno artists have been removing their experiments to a separate realm, a world without beats. Perhaps the most potent work in this area is being done by artists on the Viennese label Mego, two of whom, Pita and Fennesz, make their Chicago debut this week–one of only two U.S. performances. While most folks open up a refrigerator in search of something to eat, Pita (aka Peter Rehberg) looks for sounds in there; with fellow Mego act General Magic he recorded the thoroughly absorbing Live and Final Fridge (Source), which uses samples of refrigerator hum as building blocks in compositions that are surprisingly musical. Pita’s Seven Tons for Free (Mego) is considerably more abstract, a mosaic of dissonant crackling, lulling hums, ringing tones, squealing overtones, and percolating beeps that renders most musical reference points moot. On his Hotel Paral.lel guitarist Christian Fennesz covers similar turf but also throws in a heap of Japanese noise and a few minimal, scuffed-up techno beats. David Grubbs of Gastr del Sol will perform an opening set, and his former band mate Jim O’Rourke, who last week collaborated with similarly inclined German electronicist Markus Popp of Oval, will perform a set with Pita and Fennesz under the name Horst und Snail mit Markus. Monday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Pita photo by Otmar Bauer/ uncredited Fennesz photo.