Anti-Pop Consortium | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Anti-Pop Consortium

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In the last few years more and more artists--from California's Anticon crew to New York weirdo Dose One--have deliberately pushed hip-hop toward the creative fringe in a quest to revitalize it. Good old beats and rhymes have been so disfigured they're only recognizable as beeps and whines; some of the juxtapositions and new turns of phrase have been compellingly strange or exciting, but they don't sound a thing like hip-hop. New York's Anti-Pop Consortium push the envelope pretty aggressively, but there's no question what kind of music they're making. On the Japanese-only LP Shopping Carts Crashing (Antipop/Ozone) and the brand-new EP The Ends Against the Middle (Warp), the trio of Beans, Priest, and M. Sayyid turns rhymes into riddles without forsaking flow. Their dense delivery is dominated by intense internal rhyming and relentless alliteration; both Beans and Priest are products of New York's early-90s spoken-word scene, and they put as much emphasis on the way words sound as on what they mean. ("It's basics / Don't trace it / Draw your own conclusion / Reusing confusion as a counterbalance / To walk through this illusion," they rap on "Basix.") The trio's tracks are built from hard, stuttering programmed beats, disconnected electronic riffs and melodic synth patterns, and the occasional ambient snippet--passing sirens, trickling water, children playing, dogs barking--and during the group's performances all three members play, tweak, and reinvent the components in real time. Sometimes they don't even bother putting words to them--rappers who can sometimes keep their traps shut, wow! Daily Plannet and the Molemen's PNS open. Monday, December 3, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

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