Breakbeat Era | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe



The name of Roni Size and DJ Die's new project had me excited: frankly, I was hoping they'd stood up the double bass of their previous project, Reprazent, like a bad date and made a messy, exciting album of old-style rolling jungle breaks, riffing pianos, synth blats, screaming divas, absurd low-frequency oscillations, the works. Instead they've made--who'd have guessed?--an album of female-vocal-led, state-of-the-art drum 'n' bass with the same splinters of acoustic guitar and vibraphone that made Reprazent's 1997 smash, New Forms, a favorite of coffeehouse employees around the globe. Drum 'n' bass lifers liked New Forms too, but for Size and Die's lean, mean beats and textures--and fortunately those also carry over to Breakbeat Era's debut, Ultra-Obscene (XL/1500/A&M), which will be released this week. Vocalist Leonie Laws isn't the most inventive front woman in the world--there are stretches where ev'rything is phrased the same, in three descending notes that match the double-bass lines--but mostly her melodies enhance the proceedings, and "Rancid," "Ultra Obscene," and "Bullitproof" are as flat-out catchy as vocal drum 'n' bass gets. For this performance, Size and Die will provide turntable and programming accompaniment to a four-piece band fronted by Laws; they'll also perform DJ sets, joined by fellow Reprazenter Dynamite MC. Sunday, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

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

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →