Growing | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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This Brooklyn slow-noise duo, recently decamped from Olympia, makes bedfellows of New Agey crystal-monger music and crushing doom metal by ratcheting them both up to the same irresponsible volume. (Growing rarely plays rooms much bigger than the Empty Bottle, but in a video on their label's Web site, guitarist Joe Denardo and guitarist-bassist Kevin Doria say they use six 300-watt amps.) The band's new album for the local Kranky label is called The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light, and it's as blissed-out as you'd expect given a title like that--at least at first. The lead track, "Onement," opens with airy, reverberant electric guitar that melts into a swelling electronic drone, which is in turn overtaken by a sound like rushing surf. But after 12 minutes tension starts to creep in: a cymbal crescendo that seems to signal an imminent climax instead tops out and holds steady for 6 more minutes, and then the song simply cuts off unceremoniously. The next track, "Anaheim II," crashes in with a blitz of distortion, but then sustains its combination of aural whiteout and inexorable pulse for so long that it's ultimately just as hypnotic. Even that isn't the record's peak, though. "Epochal Reminiscence" begins by emulating Phill Niblock, patiently adding and subtracting layers of feedback in a thick, bottom-heavy multiphonic drone--but then a graceful melodic line on electric bass rises out of the sea of tones, a heroic rock gesture that feels giddily ecstatic in such a meditative setting. Orthrelm opens this early show. Tuesday 11/30, 7 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $8.

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

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