Luke Slater | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Back when Afrika Bambaataa inaugurated electro with "Planet Rock," nobody could've guessed that such a narrowly defined genre would be undergoing such a broad revival more than 15 years later. In the present crowded field, Luke Slater stands out: like Aphex Twin, he's as interested in emotional depth as in cool noises and effects. On the new Wireless (Novamute) he offers plenty of bumptious "freek funk" (to borrow the name of his first album) offset with starkly beautiful trance like the serene "Weave Your Web." He isn't as goofy as Les Rythmes Digitales or as weird as I-F, but his music, like theirs, teems with dinky computer noises and abounds with references: Kraftwerk (the synthesized voices of "Body Freefall, Electronic Inform"), early 90s breakbeat hardcore (the filtered snare of "Sheer Five Five"), even dank dub-hop (the molasses throb of "You Butterfly"). But you don't need to get every subtle nod for a tune to work. Slater has been playing real drums on and off since he was a kid, and the variegated rhythms and messed-up structures of Wireless feel loose and casual, not self-consciously heady: it's experimental music you don't need a lot of patience to appreciate. This will be a DJ set. Friday, 10 PM, Crobar the Nightclub, 1543 N. Kingsbury; 312-413-7000. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Steve Gullick.

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