For curious Chicagoans interested in making acquaintance with contemporary art music in the European concert tradition but who don't know where to start listening, "Face the Music," a monthly series at HotHouse, offers a chance to sit quietly and hit a beer while letting a diverse assortment of provocative sounds wash over you. The musicians--members of Chicago's new-music community performing their own chamber works and those of various composers from the U.S. and abroad--generally have in common an interest in the exploration and development of new musical languages. The lack of exposure for this kind of music in the U.S. means that at times it can feel a bit unfamiliar, but the relaxed cabaret atmosphere goes a long way toward making the whole affair quite neophyte-friendly. Curator Gene Coleman puts these shows together in a sampler format, which ensures that if you don't care for one piece, you've only to wait a short time to hear something completely different. This month's program includes the Vision saxophone quartet playing Rudolph Bubalo's tensely fascinating Conicality (1977); a rendering by bass clarinetist Coleman and flutist Lisa Goethe of Etienne Rolin's duet Air-borne; two pieces by French composer Vinko Globokar (a founding member of Pierre Boulez's IRCAM experimental computer music institute in Paris); Charles Wuorinen's 1968 Flute Variations II, performed by Goethe; and a new trio composition by local keyboardist Jeffrey Kowalkowski. Sunday, 2:30 PM, HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee; 235-2334.