Keiji Haino, Tussle, These Are Powers, Paul Metzger | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Keiji Haino, Tussle, These Are Powers, Paul Metzger Recommended Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Wed., Sept. 10, 9 p.m. 2008

Keiji Haino has canceled due to what the Empty Bottle calls "travel related issues." The ticket price has been reduced to $10 and advance sales have been credited accordingly.

Whenever I see Keiji Haino in person I’m always startled by how small he really is. The Japanese multi-instrumentalist and singer projects a titanic presence, like Darth Vader or a nine-story statue of the Buddha. I’ll never forget the first time I saw him, before his deconstructionist metal unit Fushitsusha took the stage at the Bottle in ’96, gesturing to the soundman, over and over: louder. My friends and I were scared, and we had good reason to be—Haino’s music, whether on lacerating electric guitar or haunting flute, is like whatever must get spit out the other side of a black hole that devours souls. With an operatic voice that’s alternately shamanistic, impressionistic, and animalistic and an impressive arsenal of instruments—not just guitar and flute but hand drums, harmonica, hurdy-gurdy, and more—he’s instantly recognizable no matter who his collaborators are. Keeping up with his discography is all but impossible—his Web site demurely says he’s put out “well in excess of 100” albums—but his most recent stateside release is Uhrfasudhasdd (Tzadik), a duo with Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida. This is Haino’s first Chicago appearance in more than a decade; he’ll play solo, and according to the Bottle he’ll use four amps. —Monica Kendrick

On its third album, Cream Cuts (Smalltown Supersound), Bay Area instrumental quartet Tussle tries a few new tricks—“Meh-Teh,” for instance, nails the motorik rhythms of Neu!—but by and large the band is still mining gold from the minimalist funk of early-80s New York bands like ESG and Liquid Liquid. For this disc Tussle worked with producer Thom Monahan, and though the music isn’t any slicker, the sparse keyboard riffs and dubby washes and echoes give it a greater sense of dynamic development, adding a little flesh to the lean, imperturbable grooves. The numbly throbbing bass lines and hard-hitting postdisco drums are so deep in the pocket they never see daylight, and when they drop out to make room for a bit of churning electronics or woozy, droning organ, all it does is set the stage for the euphoric return of that monster bounce. —Peter Margasak

I hope the popularity of drone metal is an indication that people are remembering that “experimental music” and “ass kicking” don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Brooklyn trio These Are Powers love noise and drone, but their music is hardly meditative sound art—their avant-garde leanings are cut with nervy, assaultive punk. On their best jams, guitarist and singer Anna Barie launches waves of deconstructed post-Sonic Youth riffage that squeal, crunch, and buzz like steam-powered robots. Last summer former Chicagoan Bill Salas, aka beat maker Brenmar, took over as the band’s drummer (he augments his kit onstage with electronic triggers and rack effects), and his manic, tribal no-wave style is a pretty perfect fit. —Miles Raymer

Until recently, Paul Metzger’s music enjoyed a bit of extra appeal simply because it was so hard to hear; his old electric band TVBC could go years between gigs, and for much of that time he didn’t even tell people about his solo acoustic work. But this is his third Chicago appearance in less than a year, and the new Canticle of Ignat/All Glass (Archive) is his third full-length release in that time. Familiarity makes it easier to get past the novelty—the Saint Paul native attaches sitar-style drone strings, music-box parts, and other objects to his guitars and banjos—and simply steep in the power of the sounds. The hard-tugged, solitary notes with which Metzger opens each piece might curl like lazily rising smoke or accelerate into a near pileup of breakneck runs; either way, if the flawless control he has over the music’s ragalike shape-shifting doesn’t get you, the knife-between-the-teeth intensity of his playing will. —Bill Meyer

This show is part of Adventures in Modern Music.

Price: $15

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