Suenolas, Moon Bros., Distractions | Hideout | Experimental | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Rob Frye of Suenolas

Rob Frye of Suenolas

Jonathan Phillips

Suenolas, Moon Bros., Distractions Recommended Soundboard Member Picks

When: Tue., July 19, 9 p.m. 2016
Price: $7
Rob Frye is best known for his woodwinds skills, which bring a serene melodicism to the trance grooves of Bitchin Bajas among a slew of other outfits. He also applies his imagination to a broader array of techniques and instruments with consistently dazzling, beguiling results. Earlier this year I wrote about his project Flux Bikes, in which he mutates a bicycle to emit hypnotic epics enhanced by a variety of instruments. The rhythms and timbres he generates on the recent split-cassette release on Lake Paradise is remarkable. And the other half of the double-tape project is even more rewarding. Sueñolas is a project built primarily around the guitarra de son, a plucked four- or five-stringed lute used in Mexican son jarocho music. Aided by the the primitive Casio SK60, Frye samples different progressions, arpeggios, and patterns he plays on the instrument, running them back in time-warping, pitch-shifting patterns—thus generating a harp-like quality—while ditching the instrument’s folkloric provenance. On the tape’s first side his episodic creations are complemented by guitarist Bill MacKay and violinist Whitney Johnson (Matchess), who both embroider Frye’s rapid flurries of notes with leisurely phrases and bittersweet counterpoint. On the flipside Frye goes it alone, expanding his arsenal of samples to include organs, flutes, guitars, pianos, synths, and drums, and camouflaging every sound with electronics to deliver a series of mesmerizing vignettes that flow from one to the other.
— Peter Margasak


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