Kneedelus, Makaya McCraven | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Chris Clinton

Kneedelus, Makaya McCraven Recommended Soundboard

When: Sun., April 10, 7 p.m. 2016
Price: $20
Since forming 15 years ago, New York quintet Kneebody have been honing a supertight, postfusion sound and perfecting an electric blend of moody lyricism and deeply propulsive grooves. All five members are composers that bring in a wide range of ideas and influences. Rhythms from funk and IDM collide with atmospheric melodic schemes of film scores and the stately elegance of contemporary classical music (this group, after all, worked with singer Theo Bleckmann on a collection of Charles Ives music). Yet as tightly as each piece is arranged and as explosive as the beats get—melding the intensity of early-70s Miles Davis with the melancholy of Radiohead—improvisation is what gives Kneebody its sense of purpose. The elastic, high-energy grooves of drummer Nate Wood and bassist Kaveh Rastegar offer trumpeter Shane Endsley, reedist Ben Wendel, and keyboardist Adam Benjamin all the propulsion one could ever ask for, and each soloist chews up the scenery with muscular yet impressionistic lines. Wendel went to high school in LA with electronic-music producer Alfred Darlington (aka Deadelus) and had occasionally dropped solos into his pal’s music, while Deadelus eventually contributed some Kneebody remixes. In 2009 they collaborated for a performance in Vienna and last year memorialized that partnership with Kneedelus (Brainfeeder), a collaboration on which the quintet is the most recognizable party. Daedelus adds electronic grooves and some ambient washes, but the music remains Kneebody’s through and through—and that’s a good thing. I’d be interested to hear the producer exert a heavier touch, but for now I’m cool hearing him give the quintet space.
— Peter Margasak



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