Hide, Gel Set, Hogg, Spa Moans | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Gel Set

Gel Set

Mateo Geiset

Hide, Gel Set, Hogg, Spa Moans Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., July 22, 9 p.m. 2015
Price: $8, free with RSVP
Chicago synth sorcerer Laura “Lulu” Callier has already put out a stack of splits and cassette EPs as Gel Set, but tonight she celebrates the release of her first full-length, Human Salad (Moniker). Her subterranean beats throb, chatter, bubble, and clank, while her breathy, affectless singing drifts and echoes in gelid slow-motion, often multitracked out of tune to lend it a creepy dissonance. Those two aspects of Gel Set’s music are locked in a tug-of-war: the taut, labyrinthine percussion exerts a nocturnal dance-floor magnetism, but the strange persona animating the songs couldn’t care less about standard-issue nightlife hedonism and frequently seems to regard the human species with detached bemusement. Human Salad’s seedy retrofuturism and atmosphere of insomniac delirium remind me of Liquid Sky, a 1982 cult movie about aliens that kill New York clubgoers by harvesting the endorphins their brains produce during orgasm. Callier’s lyrics often convey yearning or alienation: “I know why the moth beats against the glass,” she sings in “Phantom’s Ring.” In “The Abyss” she seems to second-guess an entire relationship (“I thought I saw a boy / I thought I felt a hand”), eventually turning the song’s icy, swooping melody on herself: “I made you up out of silicon and space debris / I thought you were the abyss / Turns out it’s me.” The feeling of being set apart from “normal” people arises again in “Double Vision,” where Callier casually claims, “You say you got six senses? / That’s cool / I got ten.” Fortunately one of them is a sense of humor—on “Predator or Prey” she sings, “I want you inside me / No, not like that / I mean in my stomach,” a silly joke that sounds straight-up sinister against the uneasy percolation and glassy, spidery synths of the backing track. —Philip Montoro

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