Hive Mind | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Hive Mind's "songs" are like chopped 'n' screwed remixes for beardy intellectuals who don't dance. Instead of going the shock-schlock route and trying to scare you by screaming through a digital processor, Detroit native Greh Holger (who also runs the noise label Chondritic Sound) keeps faith with the school of drone punishers. On first listen most of his sounds could pass for cranked-up field recordings--a busy runway, a furnace kicking on, an electric shaver buzzing in a sink, the squealing and chattering of a conked-out power-steering belt, somebody stomping down a concrete sewer tunnel--but they're all electronic, and more sinister than anything you could get by sticking a mike out a window. If you heard any of these noises in real life you'd know instantly that something truly terrible was about to happen. Holger puts out tons and tons of music as Hive Mind, on Chondritic Sound and other equally obscure labels--his Web site lists 25 releases for last year alone, with almost half in editions of fewer than 100 copies. (In 2004 he "released" a three-inch CD-R in an edition of one.) Fortunately this aversion to self-editing doesn't lead to interminable, mind-numbing live performances--he has a remarkable talent for throwing lighter fluid on the coals just as your hands are starting to get cold. And unlike most noise artists, he has a public persona: sometimes he all but disappears under his hoodie onstage, but I've also heard a story about him accidentally bonking his head and knocking himself unconscious at a club. I'd say it's not too risky to hope for some showmanship with your skull massage. Opening are Mark Solotroff of Bloodyminded, NC, Roxanne Jean Polise, and Silvum. Wed 3/29, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8.

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