GET MICRO AND COSMIC WITH M. GEDDES GENGRAS
No disrespect to Austin's Pure X and Portland's Pure Bathing Culture, who are decent, tuneful, subdued electro-pop bands, but the main reason to hit Barboza tonight is M. Geddes Gengras. The LA-based composer has production credits on Sun Araw's irie collaboration with the Congos, FRKWYS Vol. 9: Icon Give Thank, but his solo works are even more riveting. On 2012's Test Leads, Gengras evokes klassik kosmik synth kommandos like Klaus Schulze, Conrad Schnitzler, and Wolfgang Riechmann. Using an array of modular synths, MGG conjures grandiloquent propulsion and sweeping melodic drama that make you think of utopian places far from this flawed planet. It's escapist yet involving. Just as you're slipping into a nice drifting trance, he'll drop a low-slung, queasy disco track like "Night Work"—or the caustically buzzing and percolating "Cairo," which is possibly the best Schnitzler homage ever. On his new album, Ishi, Gengras brandishes radiant drones of extraordinary depth, and in the process makes a case for new age as a vital genre in 2014. Barboza, 8 pm, $10 adv, 21+.
CLIPPING., BRING THE NOISE, VERY WEIRDLY
If nothing else, clipping. can lay claim to being the only hiphop group to cover a John Cage piece; they do the surreal, disjunctive "Williams Mix" on their brilliant new Sub Pop album, CLPPNG. That sort of avant-huh? move hips you to clipping.'s modus operandi. My first encounter with the LA trio was 2013's Midcity, which fuses the scathing noise blasts and jagged glitches of Merzbow and Pomassl to the sort of prickly verbal aggression that Dälek and Antipop Consortium used to thrust upon backpackers. Pretty stunning, overall. But while clipping. MC Daveed Diggs can loose mercurial, percussive flows, he's still dropping plenty of "bitches" and "hos" and elaborating the sort of eye-rolling sexual and materialistic scenarios on which mainstream simpletons rely for lyrical content. I get it: Young guys are horny and like shiny stuff. But it seems like a disconnect to Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson's progressive production style. If clipping. want to ascend to the level of the aforementioned underground greats and artists like Shabazz Palaces, Diggs would do well to extend his verses beyond the usual gonad-centric musings. (Just sayin'—surely he doesn't give a fuck what I think.) CLPPNG mostly succeeds through sheer sonic inventiveness. "Work Work" contrasts pinball ricochet gongs seemingly sampled from a gamelan LP with trunk-shattering bass groans that evoke a wounded moose. "Summertime"'s electronic palette sounds like Raymond Scott's futuristic ad music laced with extreme theremin squiggles, all buttressed by Rohypnol'd beats. Except for the annoying, radio-rap-aspiring "Tonight," CLPPNG abounds with strange dynamics, crazy-metered beats, and a cornucopia of tones you can't transcribe on a staff. Radical. With SneakGuapo and OCnotes. Columbia City Theater, 8 pm, $12 adv/$15 DOS, 21+.