Monolake | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Although Polygon Cities (Monolake/Imbalance Computer Music) was made with the assistance of a fellow calling himself T++ (aka Torsten Profrock), it still sounds very much like the solo work of Berliner Robert Henke, who's been releasing chilly techno records as Monolake for nearly a decade. His sleek, twitching electronic grooves have flashes of the digital glitchery that was all the rage in the late 90s, but Henke often looks farther back for inspiration. On the opener, "Pipeline," he layers cold synth washes over a steely robotic groove, and despite the dense rhythm track the song wouldn't feel out of place on an early-90s Warp Records comp. Henke's MO still consists of layering ghostly ambient textures over repetitive, crystalline beats and stuttery electronic bass tones, and though the songs subtly morph, what ultimately distinguishes Monolake's music is its stubborn minimalism. Polygon Cities is the aural equivalent of a glass-and-steel skyscraper, and I'm repeatedly sucked in by its grandeur. DJs Kate Simko, Chris Widman, and Dave Siska open. Fri 9/2, 9 PM, Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago, 312-226-7600, $10.

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