Michael Gordon | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Michael Gordon


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A few years ago New York new-music composer Michael Gordon hit the London discos with Damian leGassick, a computer musician who's worked with the likes of Madonna, K.D. Lang, and Blur. LeGassick had suggested that Gordon experiment with dance music, and the ensuing collaboration produced two songs on Gordon's new Light Is Calling (Nonesuch) that fuse minimalist explorations of jazz and modern art music with electronica. The almost danceable "My Frig" plants Gordon's synthesizer and Kermit Driscoll's double bass over a drum loop that accelerates until Gordon and a violin trio are soaring around each other at breakneck speed; "Imreadywhenyouare" is a hypnotic exchange between Alex Sweeton's ethereal vocals, Mark Stewart's understated guitar, and the same violins. DJ and producer R. Luke DuBois of New York's Freight Elevator Quartet oversaw the rest of the album, including the title number, dominated by a melancholy violin solo by Todd Reynolds of the string quartet Ethel. The seven-minute song is a sound track to Bill Morrison's short film of the same name, a reworking of the 1926 silent horror film The Bells; Morrison reprinted and sepia-tinted a damaged copy to make Light Is Calling (the film is included on the CD), which uses the barely discernible interactions between a pigtailed woman and a soldier in the woods to explore themes of decomposition and memory. For this concert Gordon and his four-piece band (which includes Reynolds) will play each of the album's tracks, four of which will be accompanied by Morrison's films. Mon 12/6, 7 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630. All ages. Free.

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