Beijing-based duo bring minimalist rock to the Hideout | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Beijing-based duo bring minimalist rock to the Hideout

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Take a choppy rhythm, sustain it past the point of comfort, and, if you must put something on top, keep it simple. If the Velvet Underground, the Monks, Neu!, and the Fall haven’t already proved the merits of this strategy to you, Gong Gong Gong are ready to give you one more chance to grasp the facts. The Beijing-based duo have further reduced this method to the bare essentials: guitarist Tom Ng strums on each rhythm chord so persistently that you wonder if he thinks he has to pay a toll each time he adds a new one. Bassist Joshua Frank either matches Ng hack for hack or punches through his barrage with simple, stuttering melodies. Ng’s sparse vocals on the EPs, mixes, and live recordings available from the duo’s Bandcamp page function mainly as an additional chanted counter-rhythm. But on “Siren,” Gong Gong Gong’s debut single for Wharf Cat, Ng spits out details of a car chase in Cantonese. If the locations where they’ve recorded some of this material are anything to go by—one album was recorded in a rehearsal studio on borrowed gear, another set was captured beneath an underpass—Gong Gong Gong are pretty underground in their hometown, but with "Siren" out and a new album reportedly in the works, they’ve managed to mount a tour that will take them through the U.S., the UK, and Europe.   v

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