Aquanote | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Judging by his stage name you'd probably guess that house producer Gabriel Rene makes gauzy, opulent music, full of shimmering liquid keyboards. So give yourself a cigar; you're right. And have a martini too--it'll go nicely with Aquanote's decadent, soft-focus art-deco ambience. His beats and bass lines evoke a ritzy hotel lounge more than an electrically charged nightclub floor; he uses live vocals (provided by Zoe Ellis) and jazzy guitar runs that are as ostentatiously smooth as a red velvet suit, and woodwinds that might as well be sampled from the sound track to an Italian porn flick. A member of the Naked Music roster, which includes fellow jazzy-house upstarts Petalpusher and Blue Six, he's released a handful of 12-inch singles ("Only," "True Love"), and a couple years back mixed a comp for the label, Carte Blanche Volume One, recently reissued by Astralwerks (along with the rest of Naked Music's CD catalog). Though nearly all the music on Carte Blanche is licensed from other labels (Soma, Global Communication, Classic), everything about the disc fits the Naked aesthetic perfectly, from its cover image--a line drawing of a nude woman on a background of green-and-blue pastel flowers--to the cushiony grooves, indolent textures, and cinematic strings of tracks like Sidewinder's "Stanway's Revenge" and Freeform Five's "Freeform Reform" mix of Isolee's classic "Beau Mot Plage." Friday, February 1, 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-4140.

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