Monday, June 17, 2013

Chicago Reader on Wrekmeister Harmonies at Bohemian National Cemetery

Wrekmeister Harmonies, Acteurs, DJ Rob Sevier 

When: Sat., June 22, 8 p.m.
Price: $15

Last year Noisey released a three-part documentary series called One Man Metal, which followed Chicago sound artist J.R. Robinson as he tracked down and interviewed three reclusive and misanthropic black-metal musicians: Jef Whitehead (aka Wrest or Leviathan), Russell Menzies (aka Sin Nanna or Striborg), and Scott Conner (aka Malefic or Xasthur). Robinson got these guarded men to open up—Conner had never showed his face on-camera before—in part because he understands the core drive behind their dark, depressing music and can engage with it lucidly. Robinson’s own work as Wrekmeister Harmonies can be pretty bleak too: the new You’ve Always Meant So Much to Me (Thrill Jockey), a recording of the 38-minute composition he presented at the MCA in 2011 as part of White/Light’s Face the Strange series, doesn’t fill much of its cavernous sonic space for long stretches of its run time. It begins with an eerie, slightly dissonant hum that casts into sharp relief its snippets of shrill strings, squeals of brass, and plucked acoustic guitar—all of which eventually builds into a piercing and claustrophobic rattle, as things get so pressurized you’ll be dying for the thunderingly cathartic doom-metal climax minutes before it hits. Robinson is pulling out all the stops tonight, performing with the heavy hitters from the LP (including Sanford Parker, Bruce Lamont, Mark Solotroff, and the aforementioned Whitehead) in an appropriately creepy and beautiful space: the Bohemian National Cemetery near Pulaski and Foster. The only thing that could make this better would be if a fog were to slowly descend halfway through the show. —Leor Galil Acteurs open and the Numero Group’s Rob Sevier spins between sets.