Otomo Yoshihide & I.S.O. | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Otomo Yoshihide & I.S.O. 

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OTOMO YOSHIHIDE & I.S.O.

When Ground-Zero, the experimental rock band led by Japanese DJ and guitarist Otomo Yoshihide, broke up last year, it was roundly denounced by the cognoscenti as a crying shame. A recent deluge of Ground-Zero releases reinforces that sense of loss; among them are Revolutionary Pekinese Opera Ver. 1.28 (ReR), which uses sampling and rock instrumentation to deconstruct Heiner Goebbels and Alfred 23 Harth's interpretation of an old Chinese opera; Plays Standards (Nani), which takes similarly indirect routes to revise everything from "I Say a Little Prayer" to a Sousa march to the music of Skeleton Crew; and Consume Red (ReR), which builds increasingly dense and violent soundscapes on a looped sample of hojok, a Korean double-reed instrument, over the course of an hour. Ground-Zero had a distinct sound, created with samples, saxophone, abrasive guitar, frenetic drumming, and turntable squall, but could twist it all sorts of ways for all sorts of projects. On his own and in collaborative situations Yoshihide's turntable work is similar to (but more musical than) the anything-goes experimentation of Christian Marclay, who in the early 80s physically reconfigured records to rearrange their sounds. But Yoshihide's recent solo disc, Sound Factory (1997) (Gentle Giant), veers in yet another direction, suggesting affinities with the Japanese noise underground. He has also written fairly conventional film scores, including that for Tian Zhuangzhuang's critically acclaimed The Blue Kite. Which of his musical personalities will step forward with his new group, I.S.O., is anyone's educated guess--there's an album, but it's not out yet. It's promising, though, that I.S.O. features Ground-Zero member Matsubara Sachiko on sampler, as well as Yoshimitsu Ichiraku on percussion and electronics. Also on the bill are Jim O'Rourke, Robert Johnson & the Browns (a project involving US Maple guitarist Todd Rittman), and TV Pow, a local duo whose new Away Team: Tokyo 1997 (Boxmedia) uses DAT, CD, tape, laptop, turntable, and bass to conjure gentle but unsettling sonic hallucinations. Friday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 773-525-6620. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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