Solex | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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Solex

Anyone with decent command of a mouse and keyboard these days can create seamless sample-based music, so when Elisabeth Esselink, aka Solex, lets her stitches hang out, it's clearly intentional. The 15 tunes on her new Low Kick and Hard Bop (Matador), composed of samples culled primarily from unsellable CDs and old vinyl at her Amsterdam record store, sound stubbornly homemade. Shifts in rhythm aren't simply abrupt, they're downright jarring, as beats collide more than they meld. And Esselink juggles disparate styles--Latin lounge grooves, cool-jazz trumpet, spy-movie guitar riffs, Buddy Rich-style drum fills, hokey bossa nova organ, and bluesy slide guitar, among others--so as to underline their differences rather than their similarities. She sings her quirky, abstract English lyrics--which sometimes seem to be written the same way the music is assembled--in a thin, conversational voice, which she frequently multitracks, and her phrasing recalls the coy arrhythmia of Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori. But as clunky and chaotic as they are, the songs are actually songs, not just tracks, and some of them are catchy as hell. For this show Esselink will be joined by a drummer and guitarist. Friday, November 9, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

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

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