Tarwater | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Tarwater's Bernd Jestram and Ronald Lippok are both associated with To Rococo Rot, the German instrumental trio whose music levitated the Empty Bottle last weekend, but don't call their duo a spin-off. The two have worked together on and off since the late 70s, when they were both members of East Berlin's punk scene. Like To Rococo Rot, Tarwater blends samples with real-time instrumentation, but where the trio restricts itself to looped, pulsing rhythms, Tarwater favors a broader array of sound sources and less linear arrangements. Samples of swing-era jazz, melancholy string music, buzzing insects, and overdriven electronic noise interact with Lippock's spare drumming and Jestram's melodic bass and guitar like images in a film montage. And unlike To Rococo Rot, which plays only instrumentals, Tarwater embraces the human voice--fragments of movie dialogue and poetry pepper its tracks, and Lippock half speaks, half sings cryptic narratives in a deliberately understated monotone. Triplum, a German electronic-improv outfit, and Utopia Carcrash (see Spot Check) open. Friday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. BILL MEYER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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