Friday, July 15, 2011

Metalux return to Chicago

Posted By on 07.15.11 at 12:52 PM

Metalux (Jenny Gräf Sheppard and MV Carbon)
  • Metalux (Jenny Gräf Sheppard and MV Carbon)
So far much of the Reader's coverage of this weekend's Bitchpork festival (which positions itself as an antidote to that other festival happening at the same time) has focused on the reunions of the English Softhearts and Warhammer 48K. (I wonder if Mahjongg's headlining set on Saturday counts as a reunion, since they made a big fuss about playing their final show back in—what was it, April?) And while there are plenty of attractions, including Lazer Crystal, Chandeliers, Fat Worm of Error, and Bobby Conn, for me the clear highlight is Saturday's performance by former Chicagoans Metalux—their first local appearance since 2004.

The duo's members moved away years ago—M.V. Carbon to New York and Jenny Gräf Sheppard to the Baltimore area—and have since produced some of their best work, both in Metalux and in a slew of solo and collaborative projects. Their output as Metalux has always been hard to describe, with its heavily processed guitars and electronics, warped and hectoring vocals, and subterranean lo-fi production approach, which makes every sound seem like it's emerging from the bottom of a bucket of tar. On 2005's Exoteric (Load) the duo tangles with LA noise merchant John Wiese, but even his high-frequency squalls can't overpower Metalux's relentless, alien murk.

In recent years Carbon, who's also an accomplished painter, has worked with relatively academic experimenters and improvisers like Tony Conrad and Aki Onda, and she has a new solo album called Dislodged Perihelion due shortly on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! label. Sheppard, who played Chicago last summer in support of her terrific solo album Os (Wachsender Prozess), has also been working with other musicians, like guitarist Marcia Bassett, and last year she completed an experimental western called Proud Flesh. Metalux has just self-released a new album called Paw the Elated Ruin, which will be for sale at their performance. As Miles Raymer pointed out in this week's paper, if you need details about the location of Bitchpork, you'll have to get busy on Google.

Today's playlist:

Allison Miller, Boom Tic Boom (Foxhaven)
Nico Muhly, I Drink the Air Before Me (Decca/Bedroom Community)
Yannis Kyriakides & Andy Moor, Rebetika (Unsounds)
Jozef Van Wissem, Ex Patris (Important)
Randy Weston & His African Rhythms Sextet, The Storyteller (Motéma)

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