Monolake, Dettinger, Tujiko Noriko | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Monolake, Dettinger, Tujiko Noriko 

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MONOLAKE, DETTINGER, TUJIKO NORIKO

Electronic dance music offers more shadings than a Pantone booklet, and few are more subtle than the German and Austrian variant often called minimal techno. Artists like Mike Ink, Thomas Brinkmann, Reinhard Voigt, and Jonas Bering rarely abandon the pulsebeat, but you'd never mistake their work for Chicago's anthemic house sounds; their rhythms tend to twitch rather than pound, and they're often bathed in a murky signal that ranges from dubby ether to ambient fluff. Two of Germany's leading lights, Monolake and Dettinger, will make their Chicago debuts this week as part of the Transmissions festival. Monolake (aka Robert Henke), who's released a steady stream of singles, gives minimalism a chilly spin; his recent album Gravity (Monolake) is sleek and icy, almost robotic, but tiny rhythmic details--sudden hi-hat accents, a gently shifting clatter of bubbly percussion--suggest a certain humanity. On Olaf Dettinger's latest album, Oasis (Kompakt), beautifully eerie melodic fragments contrast with more complex rhythms, their subdued, almost tribal stutter washed in lovely crackling-vinyl sounds and distended, broken organ swells. He's hardly the first to harness accidental sounds and digital errors (there's a whole electronic subgenre called glitchwerks), but his masterful deployment of them gives this stripped-down music an uncanny depth. Also on the bill are German experimentalist Hecker and San Francisco techno-minimalists Sutekh and Kit Clayton, but the odd woman out is Tokyo's Tujiko Nuriko, whose recent Shojo Toshi (Mego) offers fractured lullabies somewhere between the shy melodic prog of Japan's After Dinner and the wordless vocal acrobatics of Stereolab. Saturday, August 11, 9 PM, RedNoFive, 440 N. Halsted; 312-733-6699.

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