Ellen Allien | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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In a scene where an outsize personality has become just as important as technical ability, it's surprising what a low profile Ellen Allien keeps--especially since she's earned the right to toot her own horn. A DJ and recording artist, in 1999 she founded BPitch Control, a Berlin-based label known for frosty, dark, and rhythmically complicated techno and electro releases from artists like Tok Tok and Soffy O (who collaborated on last year's dance floor hit "Missy Queen's Gonna Die"). Allien's own original recordings are cold and tragically beautiful: stark kicks and high-pitched clicks cut through layers of lullaby melodies, and her romantic fairy vocals get run through a metallic chopper. Last year's mix CD, Flieg Mit, makes clear that as a DJ she understands the importance of a beat but prefers not to hit you over the head with it. Technically she's subtler than most, taking her sweet time building to climaxes but employing little tricks to tip you that gratification is on its way. She'll detune a record ever so slightly or stop a track for a split second--and there's none of that rocket blastoff bullshit that too many techno DJs are so fond of. Also performing live on the bill is Marseille-based David Carretta, whose single "Innerwood" inspired DJ Hell to start his label, the of-the-moment International Deejay Gigolos. Though Carretta has releases on several other labels, his best work is on Gigolo; it includes last year's Domination EP, a hyper three-song release with madcap synths, boot stompin' beats, disaffected playboy vocals, and psychotic Dracula laughter. Miss Kittin and the Hacker headline; both will DJ and perform live. Friday, March 29, 11 PM, Zentra, 923 W. Weed; 312-787-0400.

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