Les Batteries | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The drum trio formed in 1985 by three of experimental rock's most idiosyncratic percussionists--New Yorker Rick Brown (Fish & Roses, Timber, Run On), Frenchman Guigou Chenevier (Etron Fou), and Brit Charles Hayward (This Heat, Camberwell Now)--made only one recording, 1987's fascinating Noisy Champs, a brusque combination of tightly controlled polyrhythmic romps, weird texture scapes 'n' scrapes, and gently coaxed melodies--some sung by Hayward, some emanating from percussive resonance. A frenzied treatment of Harry Partch's classic "The Letter" expressed the unit's sympathies with Partch. Eschewing both hippie drum breakdowns and the potential sterility of the academy, Les Batteries chose to reside, like Partch, as outsiders, though they did accept a commission from the Museum of the French Revolution to perform a concert based on texts from and inspired by the revolution. After their 1991 performance of Demesure revolutionnaire--a satisfying curiosity but definitely outside the group's scope--Hayward left the group. Since then Brown and Chenevier have performed regularly in Europe and composed plenty of new material--while in town they'll be recording a new album with John McEntire at Idful--but it's hard to say where they've gone since Hayward split. Based on their past work, however, it ought to be a thrilling unveiling. Friday (with NRG Ensemble) and Saturday (with sound sculptor Hal Rammel), 10 PM, Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln; 327-6666.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Yael Routtenberg.

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