Damon & Naomi with Kurihara | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Damon & Naomi with Kurihara


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As cultural values, rapturous beauty and the minute examination of dream states don't enjoy much currency these days--well, it's an ugly world, and an impatient one. That only makes Damon & Naomi's music feel more like a remote oasis, peopled with what Kerouac called "the unspeakable visions of the individual." Ever since Galaxie 500--the trio of Damon Krukowski, Naomi Yang, and Dean Wareham--broke up in 1991, Wareham has pursued pretty standard careerist indie rock in Luna, but Krukowski and Yang have followed a more idiosyncratic and demanding muse. In addition to their home studio, they operate a small press, Exact Change, that specializes in little-known avant-garde literature by the likes of Ubu Roi playwright Alfred Jarry and surrealist painter Leonora Carrington; Krukowski is also editor of the classical section of Tower Records' Pulse! magazine, strangely enough, and has managed to broaden the range of discussion there beyond any reasonable expectation. Meanwhile, the duo's music has sharpened its focus, and is now unmistakably a product of the "think locally, play globally" neopsychedelic subculture: their latest, Damon & Naomi With Ghost (Sub Pop), commits to record their long-running collaboration with that Tokyo-based deep-psych collective. For a year the two groups exchanged ideas by mail, and then, in the last days of 1999, the core of Ghost--keyboardist Kazuo Ogino and guitarists Masaki Batoh and Michio Kurihara--traveled to Krukowski and Yang's Massachusetts studio, where they finished the final recording sessions and celebrated the New Year. The result is a gorgeous piece of deep trip-folk: searing psychedelic guitar lines from Batoh and Kurihara weave across Damon & Naomi's organic, entrancing music, like glistening snakes over a carpet of moss. Kurihara, who's restrained on the record but often joyously noisy onstage, will be the only member of Ghost present for this show. Detroit's celestial Windy & Carl and the local Sur la Mer open. Friday, 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.


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