DJ SHADOW, LATYRX, ANDREA PARKER
Latyrx, the Bay Area rap duo of Lateef the Truth Speaker and Lyrics Born, help run Quannum, the indie rap label formerly known as Solesides, and they're all over its light-footed mission statement, Quannum Spectrum. As on their 1996 debut, Latyrx: The Album, they trade lines midflow and words midsyllable, and Lateef's monotone perfectly offsets Lyrics Born's playful, highly expressive rasp. Lyrics Born also contributes a pair of solos to the compilation: "Hott People," a positivity rap over a track that sounds like vintage Shalamar, and "I Changed My Mind," in which he sings--sings--a convincing breakup song over live backing from the funk combo Poets of Rhythm. About half of Quannum Spectrum, including "Hott People," was produced by Quannum partner DJ Shadow, who headlines this bill--not that you'd guess it, given that the production is mostly a means to an end, not the end itself. In his own work, however, Shadow is all about obsessive attention to detail and structure: on singles like "Lost and Found" and "High Noon" and especially on Endtroducing... (Mo' Wax/London), his 1996 full-length debut, he treats instrumental hip-hop with the aural equivalent of CinemaScope. Most astonishing, he can pull the same thing off live. In a recent performance he was beat juggling and crab scratching and just generally manhandling his already heavily produced output, adding big doses of reverb and creating a set as meticulously structured as his studio work. And if you're in the mood to shake your booty, stick around: he may well follow that with an hour or so of good old-fashioned classic-breakbeat cutup. Opener Andrea Parker, a labelmate of Shadow on Mo' Wax, will release her spare, spooky Kiss My ARP in the U.S. through Beggars Banquet early next month. The album, which has been available across the pond all summer, is a thorough exploration of the possibilities of blatantly computerized funk that, unlike so much neoelectro, isn't off-puttingly abstract or a self-conscious attempt to relive the early 80s. At times Parker adds extra percussion, live bass and cello, and/or her own vocals to the dark, spare mix, and though her breathy, trip-hop singing style is fairly generic, Kiss My ARP is still one of the smartest down-tempo records I've heard since Endtroducing.... Saturday, 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-4140. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/B+/Glenn Elher.