Xeno & Oaklander, Champagne Mirrors, Simulation | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Xeno & Oaklander

Xeno & Oaklander

Liz Wendelbo and Sean McBride

Xeno & Oaklander, Champagne Mirrors, Simulation 

When: Sat., Jan. 28, 9 p.m. 2017
Price: $10
In the age of histrionic EDM it may seem quaint for an electronic group to use only analog equipment, but Xeno & Oaklander are critically lauded for their minimally ultramodern sound. As devotees of coldwave they take a no-nonsense approach to dance music—just dystopian hooks and polished tom arpeggios from their TR-606. Topiary, their 2016 release on Ghostly International, is a study in purposeful effects. Echoing Serge, Xeno & Oaklander pair their synths with clean bass as a rule—they’re too obsessed with calculation to risk dizzying their audience. And while their music isn’t as experimentally sparse as Detroit’s Adult (who perform tonight as part of the Palace Film Festival at Thalia Hall), they certainly don’t bog down their melodies with meandering mids; singer Liz Wendelbo’s voice is so free of reverb that you can make out her French accent even during a live performance. Inscrutable as they may seem, Xeno & Oaklander are still approachable enough to enjoy live in a warm-blooded setting. This performance is being spun as a Palace Film Festival afterparty.
— Meagan Fredette

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