Ellen Allien | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Like a lot of artists in the German dance-music scene, DJ and producer Ellen Allien synthesizes techno, house, electro, and funk. But her particular talent is straddling the two sounds that have dominated German techno in the past few years: the heavy, cavernous stomp identified with the Berlin rave scene and the quirkier, more intimate microhouse associated with Cologne. Allien, a native Berliner, can stomp as hard as any of her techno peers, and there's plenty of sonic snarl on the new Berlinette (Bpitch Control). But her beats are more frisky than bludgeoning, and she slips unexpected bits of melody between them. The heavy electronic treatment of the flamenco guitar on "Wish" turns it into static without losing the instrument's warmth, and the flat, dour electric guitar of "Augenblick" evokes goth rock (minus the drama-queen cheese). Allien shows even more range on last year's Weiss.Mix (Bpitch Control), a brilliant DJ set that includes everything from the dirty neoelectro of Something J/DJ Maxximus to the sparkling glitch of Electric Company to the chiming microhouse of Superpitcher to her own cold, stark techno. T. Raumschmiere headlines; Apparat and Meiotic Soundsystem with DJs Marc Martin and Shift open. Saturday, November 15, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

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