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jason on 08/24/2010 at 05:45PM

Chicago via Columbia: CAVE & Lazer Crystal (mp3's)

The August 17th episode of Talk's Cheap featured live music from two bands who are part of the "Columbia Diaspora". This term's been used to describe a mass musical migration from Columbia Missouri to Chicago in the early/mid oughts, led by scene progenitors Mahjongg and Warhammer 48k, resulting in groups like Michael Columbia and Chandeliers. The Columbia expats brought a new sound infusion to Chicago -- ranging from brute sludge to new wave dance -- which has continued to develop and branch off into new forms. The expats found a home in Griffin Rodriguez/Blue Hawaii's Shape Shoppe recording studio, and may have drawn some inspiration from the city's musical history (I'm especially thinking of 80s electronic/house and late 90s rhythmic post-rock), but these sounds are not textbook 'chicago' music by any means. It's more like diaspora music from some delocalized point in the future, where electronic elements like drum triggers, computer sequencers, and vocoders have become extensions of the human body.

PureMoods  CAVE inhabit the more organic side of this spectrum; its trance-inducing kraut-rock grooves flow like lava. The four piece consist of three Columbia expats -- Cooper Crain (guitars/organ), Dan Browning (bass) and Rex McMurry (drums) -- plus Chicago native Rotten Milk (also of Stress Ape and the Terry Plumbing label) on synthesizer. Have a listen to Cave's live set below, check out their discography for releases on Permanent Records, Drag City (who released the Pure Moods 12'' pictured), and Important Records, and check here for tourdates as Cave explore Europe this fall,

LazerCrystal-LP  In case the title of LAZER CRYSTAL's debut LP (MCMLXXX, Thrill Jockey 2010) didn't tip you off, they dig the '80s. Probably more for the psychedelic visions of our digital future than anything else; check out the Max Headroom-style video for Love Rhombus after the jump. The LP compiles their two previous 12'' EP's released by Chicago's HBSP-2X (aka Captcha Records). For this recording, Lazer Crystal were the trio of Nicholas Read (electronics & vocals), Josh Johannpeter (percussion), & Mikale De Graff (vocals & electronics).

There is a lot of overlap between these "Columbia Diaspora" bands -- Cooper of CAVE once played in Lazer Crystal, Josh and Mikale of Lazer Crystal are also in Mahjongg, etc. Check the Chicago tag on the FMA for more, or dig back into a time before the Free Music Archive launched with our Chicagoland FMA preview back in July '08.

Lazer Crystal - Love Rhombus from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

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