Kevin Drumm | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Kevin Drumm 

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Last year's Sheer Hellish Miasma (Mego) didn't sound much like anything sound manipulator Kevin Drumm had done before. His early recordings on tabletop guitar had been sparse and spacious in a three-dimensional way, and this was dense and gut-rumbling, a suffocating wash of twitchy low-end brutality. Yet it was marked by the same sort of attention to detail and gesture that had distinguished Drumm's previous work: listening to it was like being pinned beneath a boulder and noticing the beautifully varied lines and fissures on its surface. On Drumm's latest releases, a pair of collaborations, he eases off a bit, moving back toward his old sense of space--but he's still willing to unload that thick, bottom-heavy wallop when he needs to. On Dan Burke & Kevin Drumm, which he recorded with the Illusion of Safety founder in June 2001 for Staalplaat's "Mort aux vaches" series, the music rises and falls, in terms of both volume and density, occasionally erupting in an electronic whine or corrosive metallic scream. More captivating is Drumm's duet with Lasse Marhaug of the Norwegian experimental duo Jazzkammer; as Frozen by Blizzard Winds (Smalltown Supersound) opens, a dark, distant rumble, like a gale whipping across the tundra, disrupts a veneer of wavy squelches. Those sounds eventually dissolve, and the din becomes increasingly dense and abstract, but they've set the tone of the music, which is chilly and unrelenting and never sits still. Drumm is calling the piece he'll perform this Saturday "Land of Lurches," and for the occasion he's filling 6Odum with old couches, a smoke machine, and various lights; he says he's more interested in creating an "environment" than in giving a traditional performance. The presenter, Lampo, has rented a special PA that will dramatically enhance Drumm's low-end output. Saturday, February 15, 9 PM, 6Odum, 2116 W. Chicago; 312-666-0795 or 773-227-3617.

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