Hide, Alex Barnett, Magas, Viki Viktoria, DJ Mike Broers | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Hide, Alex Barnett, Magas, Viki Viktoria, DJ Mike Broers Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., April 2, 9 p.m. 2016

I’ve known Seth Sher since the early 2000s, when he still played in Coughs, and I liked his drumming in Ga’an enough that I tried to start a double-trap-kit band with him several years back. So when I learned two summers ago that he and artist Heather Gabel had started a gothic electronic duo called Hide, I thought I’d miss the live drums—until I saw the band onstage. Sinister synths throb urgently or twist in drifting sheets, and the frequent use of four-on-the-floor kick makes the muscular, minimalist tracks feel like something you’d hear at a gas-powered vampire disco in a Mad Max movie. The creepy textures in Sher’s percussion—tapping, chuffing, scraping, chattering—sound like being trapped in a pitch-black cave, surrounded by terrifyingly agile creatures you can’t see. Hide heighten this effect live by performing without stage lighting—just a smoke machine and a battery of seizure-inducing strobes synced to the kick drums. Almost everything is saturated in reverb and delay, especially Gabel’s foggy vocals—she favors haunted incantations over sung melodies, and sometimes climbs from a numb monotone to a ragged holler. Hide have put out three cassette EPs, most recently in March 2015, and they make their vinyl debut on April 1 with the Midwich 12-inch Flesh for the Living (this show is a double Midwich release party for Hide and opener Alex Barnett, who’s in Oakeater with Sher). The new record’s primitive riffs and melodies stay drawn-out and deliberate, no matter how frantic the rhythms get: the 16th-note pulse of “Flesh for the Living,” which sounds like the score of an eight-bit racing game, changes pitch only once briefly each bar, and the plodding, pitch-bent bass-synth lick in “Limb From Limb” blows out a sawtooth waveform so insanely you can practically hear the speaker cones flapping.

Philip Montoro

Price: $5

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