Arto Lindsay | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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ARTO LINDSAY

In the late 70s, as a member of the New York no-wave band DNA, Arto Lindsay sang mostly in grunts and had a guitar sound like gears stripping. But he'd grown up in Brazil with missionary parents during the tropicalia movement of the late 60s, and that music never left him: Lindsay's late-80s art-pop group the Ambitious Lovers indulged in the occasional Brazilian flourish, and since the early 90s he's been producing albums for Brazilian stars like Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Marisa Monte, and Carlinhos Brown--in fact, his hip-hop derived production techniques, genre blending, and firm grip on native traditions have influenced much of the international pop world. In 1996 Lindsay got into the act himself, releasing O Corpo Sutil ("The Subtle Body"), a surprisingly quiet record of spare, lilting bossa novas and sambas. His next disc, Mundo Civilizado (both are on Bar/None), is more compelling; it juxtaposes aggressive club beats with gently sashaying grooves and his frail wisp of a voice, giving the gauzy melodies and liquid phrases a kind of frenetic weight. Lindsay's two subsequent efforts have continued more or less in the same direction--though on his latest, last year's Prize (on Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe label), he ups the delicious tension further, adding strings and soft, shadowy horns but also reaching back to his unnerving DNA guitar sound. Though the title track's groove never falters, swinging around Melvin Gibbs's hefty bass, on Lindsay's guitar outro he seems oblivious to the beat, spattering notes like Pollock slinging paint. Lindsay's learned the lessons of the tropicalistas well: though his arrangements are busy, they never sound excessive, and even the most fragile element always comes through. Music this sensual is rarely so smart. In his first Chicago gigs since the early 80s Lindsay brings along a terrific group: bassist Gibbs, guitarist Vinicius Cantuaria, percussionist Skoota Warner, and keyboardist Takuya Nakamura. Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt, both better known as members of the Sea and Cake, open both shows. Friday, 7:30 and 10 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln; 773-728-6000. At 2 PM the same day Lindsay and Cantuaria give a free in-store performance at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan; 312-573-0564.

Peter Margasak

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chris Wright.

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