Blink. | Hungry Brain | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Blink. Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Sun., Nov. 2, 10 p.m. 2008

As the local improvised-music scene has grown, one thing that’s defined it is its openness to fresh ideas—rather than maintaining an aesthetic orthodoxy, it’s expanded and evolved to accommodate the contributions of new players, both from inside and outside Chicago. On its impressive debut, The Epidemic of Ideas (Thirsty Ear), local quartet Blink. combines jazz, rock, noise, funk, and electronica into an exuberant and impressively coherent whole, the disparate ideas connected by a restless improvisatory spirit. The band hasn’t yet totally digested its influences—which seem to include the futuristic fusion of Isotope 217 and the heave-and-lurch grooves of drummer Jim Black—but it’s already learning to remake familiar idioms in its own image, as the post-New Orleans strut of “Displacement” suggests. Bassist Jeff Greene wrote all the tunes, but each member smartly rearranges the music’s counterpoint, polyrhythms, and textures on the fly. Greene and drummer Quin Kirchner usually stick to big, fat rhythms that retain a steady pulse even as they splinter the groove; alto saxophonist Greg Ward bobs, slides, and slaloms through the thickets and caresses laid down by electric guitarist Dave Miller. —Peter Margasak

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