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Over the past 11 years the MO for Charalambides' eerie music has swung from less to more to a whole lot less--the boomerang they threw at the outset has sailed past them on its return trip. But whether core members Tom and Christina Carter play laboriously constructed compositions or free improvisations, the sounds they make--detailed, introspective, and driven by a drumless ebb and flow--live up to the name of their record label, Wholly Other. Charalambides' first album, Our Bed Is Green (issued on cassette in 1992 and on CD three years later), interspersed droning organ instrumentals and withering psych-guitar freak-outs with brooding, blues-tinged folk songs that showcased Christina's gorgeous voice. On two subsequent LPs for Siltbreeze, Union and Market Square, the band piled up overdubbed instruments (and disparate styles) into dense, sprawling pieces that couldn't possibly be reproduced in concert; in fact, after third member Jason Bill left in 1996, Charalambides swore off live performances for several years. Their final Siltbreeze recording, the superb 1998 CD Houston (a city the Carters had left the year before to settle in Austin, Texas), still featured plenty of multitrack manipulation, but Charalambides had begun the pruning process they've pursued to this day. They stripped away layers of instruments, exposing their sound-for-sound's-sake keyboard work and increasingly accomplished fingerpicking. A series of recent CD-Rs on Wholly Other documents an abandonment of compositions in favor of lengthy, textured improvisations; Christina, who's always been willing to let loose a wail when words fail her, has discarded lyrics altogether. On Charalambides' side of a split LP with Six Organs of Admittance, Songs From the Entoptic Garden Volume Two (Time-Lag), they prove they can conjure as haunting an atmosphere with three slide guitars as Popol Vuh--to whom the record is dedicated--could with a full choir. Vocalist and pedal steel guitarist Heather Murray, who guests on Entoptic Garden and plays with Christina in an occasional duo called Scorces, will join the Carters for this show. Local psychedelic alchemists Plastic Crimewave & the Fake open. Monday, May 13, 9:30 PM, the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia; 773-227-4433.

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