Cul De Sac | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Cul De Sac 

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CUL DE SAC

Cul de Sac sounds like surf music might if it had come from the Aegean Sea rather than the Pacific Ocean. The Boston-based instrumental quartet's guitarist and composer, Glenn Jones, tosses off reverb-drenched melody lines inspired by rembetika, a bluesy, semi-improvisational Greek folk style from the turn of the century. His playing also betrays the influence of two brilliant American guitarists: acoustic alchemist John Fahey, with whom Cul de Sac recorded an album that will be released this spring, and Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix's forays into electric pandemonium inform Jones's work on the Contraption, an instrument of his own design based on the lap steel guitar. The hums, whirs, whooshes, and squeals of Robin Amos's synthesizer prod the group further into noise territory, particularly on the recent China Gate. But a series of steadfast rhythm sections anchored by bassist Chris Fujiwara (the latest drummer, Michael Knoblach, hasn't played on an album yet) has ensured that even on the soloists' wildest excursions they never wipe out. Cul de Sac has been around for more than five years, but until now has performed its incendiary live shows only on the east coast; this is the group's Chicago debut. Rome opens. Tuesday, 9 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 773-525-6620. BILL MEYER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Cul de Sac photo.

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