Chicago experimental electronic producer K-Rad makes serenity now | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Chicago experimental electronic producer K-Rad makes serenity now 

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Courtesy the Artist

Since 1996, Chicago electronic producer Christopher Grabowski has experimented with IDM under the name K-Rad. The name initially represented a small, loose collective with Grabowski, Joe Hahn, and Mark Hardy at its center; all three producers worked on K-Rad’s debut for the Someoddpilot label, 2002’s Deli Mood Spot. Since then Grabowski has made K-Rad his solo project, and while he’s sometimes issued collaborations with other producers as K-Rad singles or full-lengths, in recent years he’s made all the material on his own. Grabowski began recording 127When on March 26, about a week after Illinois began sheltering in place, and he wrapped it up two days before its May 1 release. He intended the album to be an immersive experience, and he gave himself a running time of more than two hours to achieve that goal; he uses modular synthesizers to build serene moods, adding an ever-shifting matrix of fizzy, delicate percussion to provide a constant hum of energy. Grabowski also brought back original K-Rad collaborator Hardy to play sitar on “127_PouringOutDrumulation,” and its reverberating strings send gentle ripples through the track’s tight, rubbery bass loops and brittle percussive chatter. With any luck, the constantly evolving arrangements on 127When will occupy enough of your mind to shut out the hellscape that inspired Grabowski to make the album in the first place.   v

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