DJ Clever, Paradox | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

DJ Clever, Paradox 

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Troubled Waters (Offshore/Single Cell), the recently released mix by New York's DJ Clever (ne Brett Cleaver) is the most enjoyable drum 'n' bass album I've heard in the last five years. That surprises me as much as anyone, since the genre has been mostly barren since the grunting, surly, funkless techstep sound took it hostage in the late 90s. "I Get a Kickback," a track by Clever's coheadliner on Sunday, Paradox, has the kind of scowling menace associated with techstep, but the way the track stretches and tenses is as playful as it is hard, and Paradox's beat programming, particularly with cymbals, is vivid and three-dimensional. What makes the mix CD most compelling, though, is the way it intersperses that grind with the ethereal artcore style that emerged just before techstep did. Deep Blue's "Soho Code" melds slow-drizzle synth strings with hazy kick drums and laser-sharp keyboards, while Seba's "In the Sun" gives loungey jazz-funk a hard edge by pairing it with a hyperactive snare-and-ride cymbal groove and blurting Hoover-noise synths. DJs Radiata and Stunna open. $12. Sunday, September 5, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499.

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