Rap duo Free Snacks celebrate their funky, sample-heavy debut | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

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Rap duo Free Snacks celebrate their funky, sample-heavy debut

Plus: CabinFever’s site-specific Merce Cunningham tribute becomes an album, and experimental rock duo Comfort Food play a farewell show.

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The duo Free Snacks, aka Joshua Virtue (left) and Ruby Watson - COURTESY THE ARTIST
  • Courtesy the artist
  • The duo Free Snacks, aka Joshua Virtue (left) and Ruby Watson

Most folks use December to wind down the year's final projects and prepare for some old-fashioned holiday hibernation, but this past December 7 local rappers Joshua Virtue and Ruby Watson dropped their debut EP as Free Snacks. Virtue and Watson display the casual chemistry of consistent collaborators on Eat Good Tape, and their punchy delivery enlivens the EP's relaxed, funky, sample-heavy production. On Tuesday, January 15, Free Snacks perform at the Empty Bottle—their first headlining gig since Eat Good Tape came out, and thus a de facto release party. Malci and Sex No Babies open; the $5 show starts at 8:30 PM.

In April 2017, during the Merce Cunningham retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago sound artist Stephan Moore (a former music coordinator for Cunningham's company) and dance-and-music ensemble CabinFever collaborated on the site-specific performance Respire. On Friday, January 18, Philadelphia label Dead Definition will release an album of the performance's musical component, which includes droning strings, acoustic guitars, and the dancers' dialogue, all processed and used as raw material for Moore's electronic improvisations. CabinFever are selling the album (including a limited run on lovely pink vinyl) via their Bandcamp page.

Last month local experimental rock duo Comfort Food announced they were putting the project on ice after nearly eight years. Drummer Jake Marshall and bassist, vocalist, and trumpeter Daniel Wolff have released three full-lengths of bizarre, unsettling funk- and jazz-inflected skronk via partly Chicagoan label Already Dead Tapes & Records, most recently Falling Up a Down Escalator in September. On Friday, January 11, Comfort Food will say farewell with a headlining set at Elastic. Big Syn, A.M. Stations, Imelda Marcos, and A Light Sleeper open; the all-ages show starts at 8:30 PM and costs $10.  v

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