Chris Cutler | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chris Cutler 

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English percussionist Chris Cutler has covered a lot of ground during his 30-year career. He's played art rock with Henry Cow and Pere Ubu, improvised with guitar-slinging fellow Cow-boy Fred Frith, run the experimental record label ReR, and written about music for various publications. But the fluently conversational player had never performed alone until the late 90s, when Frith and Canadian guitarist Rene Lussier talked him into playing a solo concert in Japan. Over the past few years he's made up for lost time, playing unaccompanied throughout the U.S. and Europe. Cutler's excellent new album, Solo (ReR), reveals that he's a master of electroacoustic improvisation. He augments his moderate-size trap kit with kitchen implements, adds some electronic effects, and uses a 16-channel mixer to stretch and distort the clatter into a shimmering riot. Even when he's on his own, Cutler manages to find other voices to play off: he interacts with field recordings of birds on "A Walk Through Nancy," and for "Ark" he reins in his usually busy stickwork to showcase the marvelous resonance of the Clare College Mission Church. He'll perform solo for this concert; Skeleton Key opens. Wednesday, March 19, 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.

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