When: Sat., Sept. 17, 10 p.m. 2011
You'd need a hermetic magician's obsessive eye to keep track of everything that goes on in the sonic temple of Secret Chiefs 3, where guitarist and composer Trey Spruance (best known for his role in Mr. Bungle) creates a kaleidoscopic collage that encodes his futuristic vision of an ancient Middle Eastern music that never existed. No fewer than seven "satellite bands" (all of which play in distinctly different styles) operate under the aegis of SC3, sometimes called by their own names—Ishraqiyun, UR, Electromagnetic Azoth—and sometimes identified only as Secret Chiefs 3. The number of musicians who have come and gone within Spruance's orbit must run into the hundreds by now, and many share his fondness for pseudonyms; in fact, in a world where good band names are running out, Spruance is hogging more than his share. Albums from Secret Chiefs 3 seem like high-speed photographs of something that's moving constantly at an incomprehensible speed. Last year's Satellite Supersonic Vol. 1 (Web of Mimicry), the closest to a compilation the collective will probably ever get, includes material from vinyl singles released in 2007 by three satellite bands, remixed and in some cases rearranged and rerecorded—the most lavish such treatments embed the songs in mesmerizing arabesques of lush instrumentation that's both playful and imbued with a mysterious sense of ritual purpose. —Monica Kendrick Fat32 and Anatomy of Habit open.