Inventive free-improv guitarist Bill Orcutt marches to the beat of his own drummer | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Inventive free-improv guitarist Bill Orcutt marches to the beat of his own drummer 

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click to enlarge Bill Orcutt

Bill Orcutt

sharyn morrow

When Bill Orcutt—the abstract guitarist of 90s experimental noise-rock technicians Harry Pussy, now a prolific solo artist and collaborator—pairs his gnarled acoustic blues technique and akimbo tuning style with an equally intrepid drummer, the results can sound like an overflowing toolbox that’s been chucked down a metal flight of stairs. And it’s all you can do to not listen and stare in wonderment. On his 2015 duo album with Jacob Felix Heule, called Colonial Donuts (released via Orcutt’s own Palilalia imprint), he leads the way with violent, stabbing lines backed by his faint primitive groans and chants, while Heule fills in the space through improvisation, often dragging behind Orcutt and branching out in peculiar ways. The moments when they find the groove together and move in step, like on “This Song Is Called Reify,” make those when they splinter apart all the more exciting and jarring. Orcutt’s work with Rangda drummer Chris Corsano, as heard on last year’s double LP Live at Various/Various Live (also on Palilalia), can be dizzying in how frantically the two flail and sprint through their wild improvisations, but damn if they’re not in the pocket throughout, working their instruments as though suspended in a trance. For his Frequency Series Festival performance tonight, Orcutt plays solo, which will present a wholly different kind of beat as his guitar wrings and stretches out a rudimentary rhythm as opposed to barely following one.   v

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