The Wire, a fine British magazine about experimental music, sponsors a truly diverse and frequently odd festival each year at the Empty Bottle in Chicago called Adventures in Modern Music. The festival ran five days; I caught one set on Wednesday, Oct. 3 (R. Stevie Moore) and most of the show on Thursday, Oct. 4.
R. Stevie Moore has reportedly recorded something like 400 homemade albums of lo-fi rock music, finally touring extensively for the first time last year at the age of 59. I can’t say I’m familiar with his oeuvre, if that’s the right word for it, but he put on an interesting enough performance that I’m curious to delve into his recordings … if I can figure out a starting point. His beard was blue. His stage banter included an odd chant about Neil Armstrong and Lance Armstrong.
Thursday’s show was a great example of the odd juxtapositions that are typical of the AIMM schedule. The evening started with an outstanding jazz set by Joshua Abrams and his band, Natural Information Society — well, jazz is about as close a genre label as seems appropriate, but it hardly seems adequate. Next up was the Manchester, England, techno artist Andy Stott, who generated some mesmerizing layered beats with his laptop.
Then came the New Hampshire black metal band Vattnet Viskar, which conjured up the natural fury of a thunderstorm with precise and powerful riffs. Finally, the English experimental duo Demdike Stare sounded downright sinister with pulsing drones.