Superpitcher | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Even in this era of greatly reduced vocal expectations, it's usually not a good idea for dance producers to sing. Most of them simply don't have much in the way of chops, and Aksel Schaufler, the German producer-DJ who records as Superpitcher, is no exception. But on Here Comes Love (Kompakt), his debut full-length, his reedy little voice, an unholy cross between David Sylvian and Chris Rea, perfectly suits the music's forlorn longing. When he repeats the title phrase of "Lovers Rock," he's less paying tribute to the soul-reggae subgenre of the same name than cheerleading for the idea of romance--"Lovers rock!" And when he ends "The Long Way" by moaning "I was looking for you / In bar after bar," you want to buy him a hot toddy and muss up his hair. His singing occasionally grates, especially when he sings the plodding "Love Me Forever" and the Peggy Lee hit "Fever." But for dedicated fans it may be worth it to sift through the annoying stuff. Schaufler has made some of the most gorgeous dance music of the past half-decade--particularly 2001's Heroin EP, which featured the ghostly "Tomorrow," and his remixes of Dntel's "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan" and Phantom/Ghost's "Perfect Lovers"--and parts of Here Comes Love soar, especially the delicate interplay between the piano and strings on "Even Angels" and "People." The latter pairs Schaufler's almost sneering delivery with what sounds like a recapitulation of the best parts of his earlier work--tuned-bottle percussion, sustained, hollow-sounding strings, and a fierce four-four stomp. Michael Mayer headlines; Shift opens. Friday, March 12, 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-4140.

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