Meat Beat Manifesto | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Meat Beat Manifesto

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Since the release of the mind-blowing masterpiece Subliminal Sandwich in 1996, techno-industrial-dub pioneer Jack Dangers has put up with plenty of guff about having fallen into a rut where he's merely recycling himself. That seems an odd criticism to make within any of the cannibalistic subgenres of turntablia, let alone to direct at such a preeminent practitioner of Burroughs-style viral recombination. As the mutterings of "former genius" gathered momentum, Dangers refocused his energies on Tino Corp., a low-profile label he cofounded in 1998 that's best known for the superb mixing-vinyl series "Tino's Breaks." But his flagship operation is finally back under steam, and in a knockout new model that should confound the naysayers: the new At the Center (Thirsty Ear) is stamped unmistakably with the loping, humming Dangers groove, but its obsidian coilings have taken a striking turn toward actual jazz. Like the cacophonous horns in Radiohead's "National Anthem," the album's glossy swirl of flute, bass clarinet, and Fender Rhodes sounds ladled from the cauldron of famous bitches. But hypnotic textures recalling Funky Porcini and Amon Tobin, as well as deft and graceful improvisations from top-tier avant-jazz instrumentalists--Bad Plus drummer Dave King, flutist and Thirsty Ear founder Peter Gordon, keyboardist Craig Taborn--make this much more than a mere rockist homage to Miles Davis. And the bone-dry hilarity of cut-up lines like "Will pay good price for instrument imitating snores--call after 10 AM only" makes it clear that many of Thom Yorke's melodramatic musings could've been great black jokes if only he'd pushed past "sad and estranged" all the way to "absolutely alien." Dangers never fails to deliver live, and he'll be joined here by Tino Corp. partner (and H-Gun cofounder) Ben Stokes, whose brain-bending video work--starring the company's allegedly Cuban action-figure mascot--is a show in itself. Dub Trio and DJ Madrid open. Wed 6/22, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $22.50, 18+. Stokes spins at Smart Bar following the show.

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