Kwaidan, Death Blues, Mind Over Mirrors | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Kwaidan, Death Blues, Mind Over Mirrors 

When: Mon., July 1, 9 p.m. 2013
On the new Make All the Hell of Dark Metal Bright (Bathetic), local trio Kwaidan—guitarist and pianist Andre Foisy (Locrian), synthesizer player Neil Jendon, and percussionist Mike Weis (Zelienople)—approach their ominous, ambient improvisation less as one big slow-moving sound mass and more as a stratified, considered spontaneous composition. In contrast to the group’s self-titled 2012 cassette debut, which consisted of a single 37-minute track recorded live, Make All the Hell is broken down into six chunks, and Foisy wrote certain key repeated figures beforehand. But by and large Kwaidan operates in the same vein, sculpting luxuriant soundscapes with painterly detail and ascetic patience. Weis creates hydroplaning, shimmery platforms or damped, percolating patter, only occasionally interrupted by tom rumbles or snare accents; Foisy and Jendon spin delicate sound webs, interweaving atmospheric gurgling and the occasional roiling analog synthesizer tone with jagged arpeggios, knot-strewn guitar lines, and acid-spattered fuzz. When Foisy turns to piano the music takes on a more magisterial feel, woozily flirting with prog rock a la Pink Floyd—for a second I almost expected “Space as Support” to turn into the bombastic Alan Parsons Project hit “Sirius.” But Kwaidan is all about restraint—these guys hold back their power and make that denial seem more powerful than any other choice. —Peter Margasak Jon Mueller’s Death Blues and Mind Over Mirrors open.

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