PETER WALKER, JACK ROSE | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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PETER WALKER, JACK ROSE

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Though he stopped recording for nearly four decades, PETER WALKER picks up exactly where he left off with four new pieces on this year's A Raga for Peter Walker (Tompkins Square). Following the release of his 1968 record, Second Poem to Karmela or Gypsies Are Important, Walker decided to raise a family and work straight jobs, but during the preceding decade he'd played in Greenwich Village's folk scene, studied Indian classical music with Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan, and provided accompaniment for Timothy Leary's group acid experiments. He borrowed liberally from all those traditions on the two albums he recorded for Vanguard (1966's Rainy Day Raga was the first) but forged his own sound, playing gorgeous, meditative lines that wove together flamenco, blues, and American folk over raga structures. The new album is something of an homage--it includes pieces by artists who claim him as an inspiration, like Jack Rose, Thurston Moore, and Greg Davis--but the most gripping tracks are Walker's own. He studied flamenco music in Spain during his recording hiatus, and he has a full album of flamenco-inspired originals in the can; here's hoping it won't be another 30-plus years before his next burst of activity. --Peter Margasak

I've always loved the Virginia collective Pelt, partly because they're the avant-garde presence nearest to my hometown. But I mostly love the way their meditative long-form rambles meld the gritty textures of old-timey string music with Tony Conrad-style drone--Pelt does it better than anyone since, well, Tony Conrad. Guitarist JACK ROSE once quipped that as a solo artist he rides John Fahey's ass all the way to the bank, and I like to think he means the bank of a river, where lots of people in old songs die. His discography is mostly limited-edition releases, and for my money the best of the bunch is 2004's Apocalyps X: Raag Manifestos (reissued this year by VHF), which folds together the many dimensions of his echoing, sonorous acoustic guitar style: spare and lush, aggressive and ghostly, ancient and avant, derivative and distinctive. --Monica Kendrick

Peter Walker headlines, Jack Rose plays second, and Goldblood opens. a 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10, $8 in advance.

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