BADAWI | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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Born in Jerusalem, multi--instrumentalist Raz Mesinai grew up there and in New York, absorbing the sounds of both cities. Dub has been an element in his work from the beginning (as in the wiggy 90s project Sub Dub), but the music of the Middle East has played an increasingly important role. Under his own name he's made three abstract albums for John Zorn's Tzadik label that highlight his interest in pure drifting texture, but when he records as Badawi, his music's more beat driven and stylistically rangy. The earliest Badawi records list heavily to the dubby electronic side, but on last year's Safe (Asphodel) Mesinai brings his competing interests into balance: he sets live Middle Eastern-flavored playing (by the likes of violist Eyvind Kang, violinist Mark Feldman, and tubaist Marcus Rojas) amid hypnotically rippling sound fields demarcated by solemn melodies and spooky harmonies. For Badawi's Chicago debut, Mesinai and bassist Shahzad Ismaily will perform new pieces that (according to an e-mail from the artist) "focus on delay and a lot of sub bass, as well as glassy tones, very atmospheric, and trance orientated." They appear as part of the Adventures in Modern Music festival (complete schedule, page TK); tonight's lineup, headliner first, is White Magic, Badawi, Holy Fuck, and Graveyards with Zac Davis. a 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $70 for a five-day pass. --Peter Margasak


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