Pen Test, Matchess, Stacian, Gel Set | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Pen Test, Matchess, Stacian, Gel Set 

When: Fri., Aug. 22, 9 p.m. 2014
Price: $8
Milwaukee synth-pop producer Stacian, aka Dania Luck, buries her vocals in layers of minor-key machinery from a daisy chain of Korg and Roland analog keyboards—she sings through a tunnel of effects that makes her lyrics and her persona equally tough to parse. On her addictive 2012 LP Songs for Cadets, she hints at dance music in texture only, stretching her erratic beats and acidic keys an uncomfortable distance from the genre’s templates. She also has a new 12-inch split EP with Chicago synth witch Gel Set; called Vorhees, it’s out now digitally on Moniker Records, and the physical release ships in October. On her tracks, Stacian leans steeply toward Krautrock, but disassembles its robotic drones to cobble together new mutants from the pieces.

Gel Set (aka Laura Callier) occupies her half of Vorhees with three songs full of rusty, corroded pop hooks. On “Never Never Dance” she submerges her atonal, pleading vocals in a mesh of creepy MIDI patterns, and on “Hong Kong Long Con” she toys with attenuated echoes of Donna Summer-style disco lilt. All the while blunt, artificial beats throb in the background—this is deranged party music for someone who hasn’t slept in days. —Sasha Geffen

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