This is a past event.
When: Tue., May 8, 9:30 p.m. 2012
Price: $18
When a friend told me about Golden Retriever a few months ago, the band didn't sound promising. In this duo from Portland, Oregon, Matt Carlson plays modular synthesizer and Jonathan Sielaff plays bass clarinet, a setup that seemed fatally limiting—I imagined the two monophonic instruments squawking away like a couple of sick ducks. But Golden Retriever has a rich, detailed sound that's full of ingratiating melodies, rhythmic curlicues, and enveloping harmonies. I've seen a lot of writers refer to the band's work as drone music, and there is the occasional long tone—but the pieces are packed with movement, dynamic range, and shifting harmonic roots. Each musician manipulates his instrument and expands his palette by using delay, loops, and various other pedals. Sielaff (formerly of Au) somehow coaxes elegant, swooping electronic sounds out of his creaky reed instrument, weaving through Carlson's rubbery, squelchy synth tangles. (Carlson delivered a superb solo set two weeks ago at the Graham Foundation, where he explored relatively abstract territory.) On last year's excellent Light Cones (Root Strata) and their forthcoming Thrill Jockey debut, Occupied With the Unspoken (due July 24), Golden Retriever creates a rainbow of pulsing melodies that recalls Terry Riley's 1980 album Shri Camel, though it's more fluid. This is the group's Chicago debut. —Peter Margasak The Sea and Cake headlines.

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