Green Velvet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Dance artists and DJs tend to have personae aplenty--one for each mild stylistic variation--but they don't often have much personality. Chicago techno auteur Green Velvet (aka Curtis A. Jones, who uses the name Cajmere for his house-related projects) is a giant, glaring exception. Pairing hilarious, borderline insane monologues with lean, hard, propulsive beats, he brings techno into the tradition of interplanetary lunacy that extends from Sun Ra to George Clinton to Lee Perry to Kool Keith. On Green Velvet, a collection of older tracks on the Warners-distributed dance imprint F-111, highlights include "Answering Machine," a tidal wave of bad news--the baby's not yours, you're being evicted from your apartment, I've been messing around with your girlfriend--that sounds, natch, like a series of messages left on an answering machine; "The Stalker," in which an unrequited lover leaves the object of his obsession a bouquet of daisies dyed with his own blood because he can't find any roses; "Water Molecule," a daydream about liquid reincarnation; and "Abduction," a nervous recounting of a vaguely erotic encounter with aliens. The robotic and relentless beats are broken up here and there with ear-piercing squelches, throbbing bass tones, gelatinous squiggles, and ultrasimplistic synth melodies. Onstage Green Velvet further distances himself from his peers: flanked by keyboardists and programmers, with rubbery green nubs pasted to his shaved pate, he puts on an honest-to-goodness show. Friday, 11 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Melenie Nissen.

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