Electric Skin | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Electric Skin

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Back in the early 80s, everyone from Thurston Moore to Afrika Bambaataa wanted to be in Liquid Liquid, and Grandmaster Flash wanted it bad enough to jack the band's song "Cavern" for "White Lines." If anything, the desire to be in Liquid Liquid has only gotten more powerful with time--a new generation of dance punks has discovered that ripping them off makes for a satisfying side hustle to ripping off Gang of Four. Unlike Gang of Four, though, Liquid Liquid haven't stepped up to the underground cred cash-in counter: they don't tour, and even the 1997 Grand Royal reissue of their early out-of-print material is almost impossible to find. They're still working in the same gnomish, secretive way they always have--last fall the DFA label, foremost among Liquid Liquid's pillagers/worshippers, included the band's rerecording of "Bellhead" on their second comp. But now core member Sal Principato is taking a break from the band to go out and play in front of actual people: he's in the new duo Electric Skin, alongside producer BMG from the second-generation Detroit electro group Ectomorph. None of their tracks so far--all live recordings available at star67.com/electricskin--match the whaling-on-a-cowbell euphoria of Liquid Liquid's best stuff, but they've got their own brand of funk. BMG's aggressively regressive electro beats provide the bedrock for Principato's airy constructions of ghostly melodica and looped vocals, which forsake the soul-diva decadence of four-on-the-floor house in favor of hypnotizing simplicity. And their commitment to in-person performance is a welcome development that harks back to Liquid Liquid's early days. To quote the guy who introduces Electric Skin in the recordings they made in Oslo, this is "some pioneering shit." DJ Jordan Zawideh opens. Fri 12/2, 9 PM, Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago, 312-226-7600, $10 until 11 PM, $15 afterward.

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