TV Pow | Experimental | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Sat., Aug. 1, 6:30 p.m. 2009
Price: $5
A few years ago, after I’d referred to Chicago’s TV Pow as a laptop trio a few times, they got in touch to politely ask me to stop. I’d often seen the group use computers onstage, but there was also a lot I didn’t see. On their new download-only album, Neighborhood Watch: July 2009 (available at, Michael Hartman, Todd Carter, and Brent Gutzeit employ a dizzying variety of sound sources—synthesizers, drums, field recordings, guitars, tape collage—and nearly as many techniques, from live improv to digital manipulation. Dating back to 1997, its 39 short tracks (31 of which the band has given away online) cover a lot of stylistic ground, shifting so rapidly they’re hard to get a handle on. Many passages—some of which feature guests like saxophonist Boris Hauf and pianist Dudley Bayne—sound like the work of an outre jazz combo, but others combine blasts of harsh, squirrelly electronics with found sounds or bits of conversation. You can hear the voice of former Chicagoan Weasel Walter on the ambient vignette “Traveling Without Reservations,” and on “A Real Genius Can Affect an Entire Community” a traffic report describing what was soon discovered to be the self-immolation of activist and archivist Malachi Ritscher is buried by an avalanche of noise. Needless to say it’s hard to predict what TV Pow will sound like at any given show—they’re only making plans for part of their set here, and hadn’t finalized them at press time—but that’s one of the things that makes them so compelling. Bradley Parker-Sparrow & Joanie Pallatto open. —Peter Margasak

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