Radian at the Hideout; Richard Pinhas at Abbey Pub
Rare appearances from French and Austrian acts offer an electroacoustic primer.
By Areif Sless-Kitain
Photo: Patrick Jelin
The term Musique concrète was coined more than half a century ago, and the genre’s spawned exponential mutations since. In Chicago, those devoted to the sound flock to hubs like Elastic and Enemy to get their fix. The latter would be a fitting home for electroacoustic pioneer Richard Pinhas, were he not such a rare breed—capable of commanding a large hall with an audio- (and, often, audience-) fragmenting sound.
Nearly four decades into a career spent shattering boundaries, the Parisian experimentalist, who once took cues from Robert Fripp, now pals around with noise-loving contemporaries like Merzbow and Wolf Eyes. Both pop up on the philosophy buff’s latest, last year’s massive Metal/Crystal, which pairs moods and minerals in titles like “Paranoia (Iridium)” and “Schizophrenia (Silver)” that live up to their names with fractured, distortion-soaked soundtracks. Chaotic swatches of feedback and fuzz collide and gnash their teeth. To the Frenchman’s ear, the white noise that makes others flip the channel is the main attraction.
Radian’s ambient racket takes root in Austria. The trio relies more on acoustic instruments and improvisation, breaking out electronic tools to slice and dice the results. On its latest for Thrill Jockey, Chimeric, abstract and industrial tones trade off, occupying the same supple atmosphere. Stateside appearances from both of these acts are as unpredictable as their music, making this pair of shows a rare primer for the uninitiated.
Radian, Hideout; Sat 28
Richard Pinhas, Abbey Pub; Mon 30