Bill Orcutt | Museum of Contemporary Art | Experimental | Chicago Reader

Bill Orcutt Recommended Soundboard

When: Tue., Nov. 27, 6 p.m. 2012

Harry Pussy main man Bill Orcutt continues to release ancient, often obscure material from the long-defunct noise-rock group through Palilalia Records, but a little more than three years ago he rejuvenated his musical career by going solo, armed with little more than a four-string acoustic guitar tuned to a scale that belongs in an outsider-art museum. His output since has consisted of small-run seven-inches and cassettes as well as a pair of LPs (A New Way to Pay Old Debts and How the Things Sing), all of which demonstrate a Beautiful Mind-like approach to the guitar's fretboard. Twangy, bluesy, and chaotic, but with a fierce drive that can trick you into thinking he's playing in a regular tempo, Orcutt's often improvised songs sprint and halt and twitch in such a way that YouTube clips of his performances attract sarcastic comments ("So that's the song my 4-year old cousin was playing when I gave him my guitar!") right next to the worshipful ones ("Sketches of the most beautiful music in the world!"). Personally, I think it's some of the most innovative guitar exploration I've ever heard, and his unreal rendition of the "The Star Spangled Banner" is poetically tattered without sounding ironic. Tonight's performance is part of the Face the Strange series, curated by White/Light bandmates Matthew Hale Clark and Jeremy Lemos. —Kevin Warwick

Price: free for Illinois residents or with museum admission

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