Alarm Will Sound, Taught Abroad | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Alarm Will Sound, Taught Abroad Recommended Free All Ages Soundboard Image

When: Thu., July 3, 6:30 p.m. 2014

Since forming in 2001, this New York new-music juggernaut hasn’t just blurred the lines between neoclassical polyphony and contemporary pop; it’s obliterated them. The group’s 2005 debut album, Acoustica (Cantaloupe), took on the music of Aphex Twin, translating its twitchy, spastic rhythms and itchy counterpoint for a large acoustic ensemble while retaining the sinister playfulness of the original electronic versions. This evening’s concert, Alarm Will Sound’s long-overdue Chicago debut, will include several pieces from that record, among them “Cock/Ver10,” where furious kit drumming batters Baroque melodic fragments, and “Blue Calx,” which generates a serene calm over an unrelenting 4/4 pulse. The program will also feature another modified IDM fave, Boards of Canada’s “Roygbiv,” but the ensemble’s aesthetic extends beyond such adaptations. Other likely highlights of this show include Steve Reich’s “Radio Rewrite,” a reworking of material from two Radiohead songs, and the local premiere of “Fly by Wire,” an infectious tour de force by Tyondai Braxton (son of polymath composer Anthony and a former member of art-rock band Battles) that moves quickly through nervous strings, garrulous trombone smears, and wildly corkscrewing reeds, its coherence as surprising and satisfying as its what’s-next suspensefulness. The group even ventures into early-music sophistication in “Dowland Remix,” for which Alarm Will Sound pianist John Orfe has convincingly remade the lute song “Flow My Tears” by 16th-century British composerJohn Dowland. —Peter Margasak

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