Drone artist Nicholas Szczepanik returns with a new surname and a new project | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

Drone artist Nicholas Szczepanik returns with a new surname and a new project 

Plus: Underground emo supergroup What Gives finally release an album, and Nobody (fka Willis Earl Beal) drops a microedition cassette.

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Nicholas Burrage (formerly Nicholas Szczepanik) has a new ‘appropriation project’ that reinterprets hits by Mariah Carey.

Nicholas Burrage (formerly Nicholas Szczepanik) has a new ‘appropriation project’ that reinterprets hits by Mariah Carey.

Courtesy the artist

It feels like ages since Gossip Wolf has heard from drone-tastic Chicago sound artist Nicholas Burrage (formerly Nicholas Szczepanik), whose long-form pieces are perfect zone-out material—Reader critic Peter Margasak has described them as "ethereal drift," and this wolf is inclined to agree! Last year dude got married and took his husband's name (maybe he got tired of spelling the old one for people), and he's also launched what he calls an "appropriation project" whose first series reinterprets Mariah Carey's hits. (He's named the project marbles., uncapitalized and with a period, presumably to bother editors.) Last week marbles. posted the 43-minute "Vision of Love.wav" on Bandcamp as a free download, and it makes zero overt references to the diva's multi-octave singing or breathtaking melisma—it's a lot like the delicate, moody drones Burrage's fans expect.

Ever since past and present members of Dowsing, Annabel, and Pet Symmetry formed What Gives in 2014, this wolf has been ready for the band to release something—by now you know how your favorite furry columnist feels about underground emo. Last week the five-piece finally released their debut full-length, Feels Good, via Champaign label Skeletal Lightning. Gossip Wolf recommends the video for "Slime Time Live," in which What Gives satirize the late-90s run of the MTV popularity contest TRL, dressing up as parodies of Britney Spears, Limp Bizkit, Eminem, and others. On Saturday, April 29, they play a release party for Feels Good downstairs at Subterranean.

Nobody, the artist formerly known as Willis Earl Beal, returned to Chicago in February to headline the Empty Bottle. Now he's back—on tape. Last week local music site and radio show the Minimal Beat released a cassette of Nobody's wondrous new lo-fi soul album, Turn, through its boutique label, TMB Limited. Tapes ship May 1, and the 100-copy edition will go fast.  v

Got a tip? Tweet @Gossip_Wolf or e-mail gossipwolf@chicagoreader.com.

Correction: This piece has been updated to properly characterize Nicholas Burrage's spouse and fix a typo in the title of his new piece.

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