Brise-Glace | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Brise-Glace

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Jim O'Rourke has recorded several albums of improvised guitar music, and his compositions have been performed by the Kronos Quartet and ROVA Saxophone Quartet, but he doesn't like to be called a musician. He's interested in manipulating and sculpting sound, and in doing so he's as likely to employ static, feedback, or an imperfectly tuned radio as his guitars. O'Rourke works frequently with experimental and avant-garde figures such as Tony Conrad, Henry Kaiser, and the group Faust, but Brise-Glace is his rock group. Despite the band's traditional guitar-bass-drums lineup, its debut CD, When in Vanitas...(Skin Graft Records), is hardly a typical rock record. O'Rourke splices heavily treated fragments of the musicians' jams into a field of slow-moving sound masses. When drummer Thymme Jones and bassist Darin Gray finally appear three minutes into the track "Neither Yield nor Reap," the effect is like hearing a randomly reedited rhythm track from Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" through an electronic blizzard. Live, O'Rourke can't use tape editing to construct his sonic edifices, so he relies instead on unconventional instrumental techniques--part of the fun is seeing what household items he uses on his guitar. If you want to rock out you'll probably find Brise-Glace pretty frustrating, but if you're ready to go somewhere unexpected you'll find their work richly rewarding. Also performing are Duotron, U.S. Maple, and Mount Shasta. Saturday, 10 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

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

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