London-based Touch isn’t a record label in the traditional sense; it’s far more multifaceted. It might be more accurate to describe Touch as a collective that also extends into publishing, performance curation, and site-specific multimedia events driven by a loosely defined stable of international avant-garde electronic and sound artists, who include guitarist and producer Fennesz, […]
After a COVID gap year, the Frequency Festival returns on February 22. The six-day event is an outgrowth of the Frequency Series, which is programmed by former Chicago Reader staff music critic Peter Margasak and hosted by Constellation. Founded in 2013, shortly after drummer and promoter Mike Reed opened the north-side venue, the series presents […]
Since the start of the pandemic, Bandcamp has passed along its usual share of sales revenue to artists and labels 17 times, usually on the first Friday of the month. You probably already knew that, since you clicked on a story about the 18th such Bandcamp Friday—but you might not be aware that the site […]
Local sound artist Olivia Block has created most of her albums with years of painstaking work in her home studio, so you might not expect that lockdown life would bring about profound changes in her music. But Innocent Passage in the Territorial Sea, released this month by Room40, is unlike anything else in her discography. […]
Avant-garde jazz musicians have been uniting to better control their opportunities to perform, record, and engage with their communities at least since the 1960s, when the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) first convened in Chicago and the shorter-lived Jazz Composers Guild (which included Carla Bley, Sun Ra, Bill Dixon, and Archie Shepp) […]
Recording studios have reputations, and Chicago’s Electrical Audio is well-known as the place to go if you want to capture how your band really sounds. But when Michael Vallera and Steven Hess of local duo Cleared entered that establishment in spring 2019, they were in the early phase of a transformation. Their first four albums […]
A secondary rainbow is a faint visual echo that appears outside a rainbow when light bends twice while passing through raindrops. Composer, violist, and occasional vocalist Catherine Lamb uses careful calculation and subtle dynamics to evoke correspondingly liminal sonic experiences. Born in Olympia, Washington, and based in Berlin, she’s developed a musical approach that combines […]
Fohr’s three freewheeling Wednesday shows feature guests such as Hamid Drake, Tim Kinsella, and Olivia Block, plus an eight-piece version of her Circuit des Yeux band.
Passing sirens, squealing brakes, fireworks, the metal-on-metal grind of el trains, the incongruously chirpy commercials preceding your streaming videos, and every damn noise coming out of everyone else’s phone on the bus. For people everywhere—but especially for those of us living in the city—unwelcome sounds assail us like a thousand irritating cuts. Drone Activity Chicago, […]
Last year LA singer and composer Julia Holter underlined her stunning development as an art-pop auteur, matching her ethereal melodic sensibility with small-scale orchestrations on her live-in-the-studio album In the Same Room (Domino). The collection featured deft reinventions of songs from her previous two recordings, with new arrangements that completely refresh some of the material. […]
Andrew Bird at Fourth Presbyterian Church, and more goings-on about town the week of December 11-14.
On most of Olivia Block’s records, what she does to sounds matters much more than how they were originally made; using field recordings, instrumental passages, or electronics, she cuts, distorts, and layers the material until even the quietest passages feel packed with multiple meanings. But in concert, things can happen for a long time without […]
Olivia Block, Vintage Garage Chicago, and more happenings from April 21-23.
One of the recurring tricks in the tool kit of extraordinary Chicago sound artist Olivia Block is to toy with the listener’s perception by playing with the boundaries between natural and artificial sound. Back in 2003, as part of the long-running Florasonic series in the Fern Room at the Lincoln Park Conservatory, she created a […]
The concert series booked by the Reader‘s Peter Margasak throws its second annual six-day festival of boundary-erasing music.