Zoviet France emerged from England's industrial scene in the mid-80s and immediately set themselves apart from power electronics geeks and the now-laughable pre-Wax Trax industrial-disco pack. Mixing abrasive, texture-heavy noise with a hypnotic, almost soothing repetition suggestive of Middle Eastern and North African trance music, the mysterious group--its members aggressively maintained anonymity--packaged its distinctive sounds in gorgeous, often handmade artwork. With his postbreakup solo project Rapoon, original member Robin Storey has come clean, delivering three albums furthering some of Zoviet France's artistic concerns while altering others. Storey constructs rhythmic loops--albeit percussion-based patterns or merely cyclical textures--and treats them heavily with electronic effects. Whereas Zoviet France's sensually murky sounds occasionally became dense, chaotic, and clattery, Rapoon operates with a calm simplicity. Though the latest album, a double CD called The Kirghiz Light (Staalplaat), contains a few chunks of percussion-centered experiments--fueled by primitive loops of Middle Eastern hand drums--for the most part it oozes with airy soundscapes too eerie and unsettling to be considered New Agey. Not a lot happens in Rapoon's music, but its churning minimalism offers a true chill-out alternative utterly devoid of fluffy synth washes. Rapoon's Chicago debut is opened by Illusion of Safety. Sunday, 9 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo.