18th Dye | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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18th Dye

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Combining a variety of Amerindie traits--hushed melodicism, controlled guitar noise, severe dynamic shifts--with a fanatically disciplined minimalism, Berlin-based 18th Dye seem to take the British approach to appropriating Yankee culture. The difference is that they aren't capriciously chasing the latest fashions; as their new album Tribute to a Bus (Matador) proves, 18th Dye wear their sonic uniform like a second skin. Yo La Tengo, the trio responsible for bringing 18th Dye to American shores, provides the closest stylistic point of reference. Both bands are masters of developing gentle, endearing melodies within a whirlwind of noise and movement. Sebastian BŸttrich's tremulous guitar textures range from whispers to bludgeons, providing tension, atmosphere, and color rather than sketching out chord progressions. In fact, "Whole Wide World," from the band's debut album, Done, built a sweet melody from a single chord. BŸttrich's restrained singing and the defined bass lines of Heike RŠdeker--whose occasional vocals widen their melodic horizons--cast odd-shaped shadows over 18th Dye's evocative tunefulness. More austere than Yo La Tengo, they revel in what you don't hear as much as what you do. This is their Chicago debut. Thursday, June 8, 9 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

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