Guitarist and author Alan Licht plugs back in | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Guitarist and author Alan Licht plugs back in

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Alan Licht’s recording career stretches back to 1990, when he appeared on two seven-inch EPs by the group Love Child. One was a collection of cute, bouncy songs cleaved by Licht’s volcanic guitar solos; the other was a set of lo-fi but respectful covers of pieces by the sui generis composer Moondog. In the years since, he’s been stepping over boundaries like they shouldn’t be there in the first place, collaborating with equally adventurous musicians including cosmic jazz man (and former Chicagoan) Rob Mazurek, cassette-reliant sound artist Aki Onda, outsider guitarist Loren Connors, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase. And as an author whose published work includes art-catalog essays, profiles of underappreciated minimalists, and a book about tidal changes in pop culture titled Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories, he has also explained how he does it; while he’s keenly aware of the methods and mores of whatever genre he’s operating in, he hears everything as rock music and approaches it from that direction. In 2015 Licht put aside the electric guitar, his main instrument throughout his career, to make an acoustic LP. The pieces on Currents (VDSQ/Thin Wrist) are brisk, songlike solos with a pithiness that’s at odds with the side-long excursions on his other albums under his own name. Licht will return to the electric guitar and long-form composition for a new, unnamed piece that will form the bulk of his concert at Bond Chapel, but it will build on the strumming techniques and repetitive structures of his acoustic music as well as incorporate some extrapolations from the Stooges’ “1970,” which he played on the Currents tour.   v

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