Chicago club-music provocateurs Mutant Beat Dance go big with their debut album | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Chicago club-music provocateurs Mutant Beat Dance go big with their debut album


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Local synth wizard Beau Wanzer formed outre club-music group Mutant Beat Dance a decade ago with house producer Melvin Oliphant III (aka Traxx), and in a recent interview with music site Strange Sounds From Beyond, he likens their work to the films of twisted, cheeky B-movie horror director Frank Henenlotter. "I show up with my deformed Siamese twin brother attached to my waist and Melvin tries to pry it off me," Wanzer says. "He can’t . . . so we use him to our advantage." In a similar act of brazen depravity—you might even call it sadistic—Mutant Beat Dance released their self-titled debut "album" this past November in the form of a six-disc box (on Dutch label Rush Hour) containing more than two hours of music. Wanzer and Traxx started collaborating in the mid-2000s and releasing music as Mutant Beat Dance a few years later. The group’s members—who now include Steve Summers, a prolific producer from the east coast who joined after moving to Chicago a few years ago—all have individual reputations in the international underground dance scene, which meant that their debut together would leave an impression regardless of its absurd length (and painful price). On Mutant Beat Dance the three producers create a smoldering, burbling, constantly shifting concoction that occasionally sounds like a Frankensteined synthesizer’s last hurrah before the Dumpster—yet they usually inject a pulse that could get even the most stoic clubgoer moving. Wanzer, Oliphant, and Summers are all experimental-minded weirdos, but the MBD box set is so massive that they were almost guaranteed to hit less-subversive sweet spots on a few songs—such as “Feed the Enemy,” which rides a sinister, straightforward rhythm beefed up by LCD Soundsystem multi-instrumentalist Tyler Pope and drummer Patrick Mahoney.   v

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