Acid Birds, Apiary | Hungry Brain | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Acid Birds, Apiary Recommended Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Sun., Jan. 30, 10 p.m. 2011

ACID BIRDS On their Facebook page, Acid Birds call themselves "psychedelic free jazz," a category almost broad enough to contain their improvisations' wild swings between meditative and chaotic. The free-jazz elements are mainly the work of drummer Andrew Barker and reedist Charles Waters, New York-based cofounders of the long-running but now mostly dormant Gold Sparkle Band, and the psychedelic flavors come from Jaime Fennelly of weirdo-improv trio Peeesseye, who recently moved to Chicago from the Pacific Northwest and adds harmonium drones, warped tape manipulations, and inscrutable electronics. On the group's brand-new second album, Acid Birds II (Sagittarius A-Star), they might begin a piece with quiet long tones or rip straight into screeching flurries of clarinet—you can be sure they'll travel from peak to valley and back again, but it's never obvious what route they'll take. Fennelly's moody mix of somnolence and freneticism provides a foundation throughout, a sonic constant that makes it easier for Waters and Barker to transition from high-intensity workouts to bright, fractured coloristic splashes. Opening the show is Apiary, a quartet consisting of bass clarinetist Jason Stein, guitarist David Daniell, percussionist Steve Hess, and electronicist Joseph Mills.

Peter Margasak

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