When: Sat., Feb. 18, 7 p.m. 2012
With his long-running project Whitehouse, formed in 1980, William Bennett set out to make painfully extreme electronic noise; he coined the term "power electronics" and hammered out a template that countless imitators and fellow innovators have used as a source of unrelentingly vicious inspiration. Where do you go after that? Well, Bennett went to Africa, both literally and metaphorically. His fascination with west and central African percussion has dramatically influenced later Whitehouse records, and way back in 1997 his Susan Lawly label released an amazing compilation called Extreme Music From Africa. (It's rumored to be entirely Bennett's work, but even if that were true, it would only reinforce the point.) In recent years he's stepped up from cultural tourism to something deeper and more engaged, appearing in Vice magazine's Liberia documentary and writing a magazine article on Sierra Leone. His Cut Hands project released its debut, Afro Noise, last year, and it's just received a two-volume deluxe vinyl release. Don't expect the head-slamming violence of Whitehouse—Afro Noise is meditative and evocative, closely related to minimalism and ambient music despite the often dense percussion, and its integration of electronics and traditional acoustic instruments gives it a lush and generous landscape feel. Like much of the spiritual and religious music Bennett pinches from, Cut Hands aims to produce a trance state. In live performance, he adds film and video footage; this is Cut Hands' Chicago debut. —Monica Kendrick Bongripper and DJs Jeffrey Jinx and Tesco Jane open.