Tony Trimm, Chants | Whistler | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Tony Trimm, Chants Free Soundboard

When: Thu., March 24, 9:30 p.m. 2011

Jordan Cohen of Madison, Wisconsin, aka Chants, makes experimental electronic music for people who might head straight from a musique concrete concert at Enemy to a dance party at Smart Bar. On the first Chants album, last year's Onlooker (Layered), the 29-year-old's beatscapes incorporate gnarly jazz, snippets of field recordings, and skittering vocal samples. Cohen enlisted nine other musicians to help record it, and at times it sounds like there are too many cooks in the kitchen: hand claps, blasts of skronky horn, and bits of sampled noise collide with abandon, as though they were all tossed into the air at once, and the fragile threads of melody holding the songs together often seem about to break. But again and again Cohen somehow pulls everything together, and his spazzy, syncopated tunes are downright danceable. Live, he's the sole performer in this sonic circus, playing a sampler, a drum kit, and a percussion setup that usually includes actual pots and pans. His stage show sounds a little overwhelming, but if it's anything like Onlooker, it'll be thrilling and altogether fascinating. —Leor Galil

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