Radian | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Many electronic musicians decorate their compositions with digital splutters or create tension between glitches and fixed rhythmic elements. But Radian finds music within the harsh clicks and stutters that Stefan Nemeth generates from his synthesizers and computers, developing an idea advanced several decades ago by the remarkably prescient British outfit This Heat. John Norman doesn't play traditional bass lines, instead creating swells of sound, using a volume pedal to control his attack; and drummer Martin Brandlmayr's off-kilter rhythms aren't particularly danceable. But together their instrumental patterns penetrate Nemeth's electronic sizzles to form a dry, angular funk. The trio recorded their newest and best album, Rec.Extern (Thrill Jockey), in Chicago with John McEntire, who captured their sound in high-resolution detail. Rec.Extern is far more coherent than their earlier recordings, for which the group patched together prerecorded sounds in the studio; here they performed live. A January gig at the Hideout proved that the band members could play off one another in a public setting as well, rather than just coldly re-creating their studio work. Pan*American headlines. Saturday, October 26, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jim Newberry.

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