Dalek | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Hip-hop isn't a genre many people associate with austere beauty and ominous tranquility, but Dalek's brand-new fourth album, Abandoned Language (Ipecac), positively glistens with both. On Absence and From the Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots the group seemed driven by a sort of restless and ravenous need to absorb as many compelling sounds as possible--most notably distorted guitars, massed into gritty clouds or luminous choruses--and then spit them back out in a dizzying array of recombined shapes. Sometimes things went by entirely too fast, leaving you dazzled and slightly benumbed. But Abandoned Language doesn't rely on that sort of overload: Dalek cut way back on the guitars and commit to a single set of tactics all the way through. Slinky, sinister, and thick as a python's coils, their tracks create a sound world that's just dense and claustrophobic enough to make each wicked sonic flourish or calmly declaimed line of paranoid poetry pulse outward like ripples in a frigid pool--the new restraint in the music leaves your senses heightened, not battered. Destructo Swarmbots and the Timeout Drawer open. a 9 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10, $8 in advance, 18+.

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