Alog | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Alog

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These two Norwegians, Dag-Are Haugan and Espen Sommer Eide, make music that on the surface seems like just more glitchy electronica--their latest album, Miniatures (Rune Grammofon, 2005), has its fair share of soothing, skittering synthesizer melodies. But a careful listen reveals a lot more going on underneath; the album's second half in particular is dominated by field recordings and conventional instruments played in unconventional ways. "St. Paul Sessions II" employs a kind of homemade Steve Reich-style minimalism, with a staccato guitar chord pulsing beneath jagged, chiming patterns on xylophone and vibraphone. And the long-form "Building Instruments" sounds like a document of the processes that created it: we seem to hear Haugan and Eide waking, clearing their throats, and tuning up before slowly beginning work on the piece proper; inarticulate phrases on guitar, harmonium, and percussion stumble along at first but, joined by distant old-timey voices, gradually coalesce into a beautiful, rough-hewn hymn. This is experimental in the best sense--you can never be sure where things are headed. This show is Alog's Chicago debut; Psiconautas and the Armor Class open. Thu 8/17, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10.

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