Matt De Gennaro, Scott Tuma | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Matt De Gennaro, Scott Tuma


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It isn't easy to make music that sounds ancient without seeming like you're trying to deny you were born in the 20th century. Among the few who've pulled it off are Glaswegian Richard Youngs and New Zealander Alastair Galbraith; Matt De Gennaro earned the right to be counted in their number when he released his first solo CD, Under the Sun, last winter. He's previously collaborated with Galbraith; their explorations of the acoustic properties of various spaces (mostly museums) via rosined piano wires strung between the walls have yielded three CDs of droning "wire music" that would make any Tony Conrad fan happy. But the Detroit-based multi-instrumentalist does fine on his own, blending the rich acoustic resonance of the viola da gamba and the nasal, sustained tones of the clavioline (a primitive electronic keyboard used by Sun Ra and the Beatles) with archtop guitar and tapes of traffic noise to make haunted instrumentals that feel like they're coming from half a millennium away. Newer material on an unreleased tape shows that he's learning how to sing without breaking the spell. Since leaving Souled American, Scott Tuma has done some drifting of his own. He pushes his penchant for torpid tempos and rustic textures to the limit on The River 1 2 3 4, his second solo record for the local Truckstop imprint. Tuma's plucked guitar and banjo figures stumble across fields of organ and harmonium chords that unfurl at the breakneck pace continental plates reserve for their days off. If you're in a hurry, this music will drive you crazy, but any time you spend with it will be rewarded, however subtly. De Gennaro and Tuma will each play a solo set; they also promise a duet. Saturday, August 9, 9 PM, Candlestick Maker, 4432 N. Kedzie; 773-463-0158.

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