Pan Sonic | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Pan Sonic has spent more than a decade reducing techno to its barest form, an austere landscape erupting with gut-rumbling beats and lacerating tones. On most of their early records Mika Vainio and Ilpo Vaisanen hijacked the bass-heavy thuds of old-school electro and the low-rent electronic squall of Suicide (even collaborating with Alan Vega on a pair of albums under the name VVV) and drove them deep into the red. But on their last release, 2004's sprawling four-CD Kesto (Blast First/Mute), the duo largely strayed from dance structures and focused instead on creating a harrowing, amorphous sound world. The first two discs are more visceral and abrasive, while the final half has a starker, more drifting ambience, with brutal industrial overtones. The music is precise but never sterile--no one zeros in on the elusive grime and ghostly humanity in digitalia like Vainio and Vaisanen. This is Pan Sonic's first Chicago gig since 1999. White/Light and Personal Trainer open. Wed 9/13, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $12.

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