LAND OF DECAY ARTIST NEIL JENDON IN THE CHICAGO READER.
Winters in Osaka & Plastic Crimewave, Piss Piss Piss Moan Moan Moan, Toupee, Neil Jendon, Personal Injury Lawyer
When: Sat., June 30, 9 p.m. 2012
Neil Jendon has been a fixture in Chicago experimental-music circles for years, playing countless solo shows, appearing sporadically with drone merchants Zelienople, and more recently joining the noisier Kwaidan (with Zelienople drummer Mike Weis and Locrian guitarist Andre Foisy). For most of that time he's just hawked his music himself on CD-R, but now he's finally released an album with better distribution. On Corporate Laughter (C.I.P.) you can hear traces of Jendon's distant musical past as a guitarist in 90s alt-rock also-rans Catherine—"Static After Static" has an old-school industrial flavor, with a dark, pulsing synth line that harks back to the glory days of Throbbing Gristle, and "Always and Only" is essentially a rickety pop song buried under ambient murk—but by and large he's moved on to other interests. The epic opener, "The Morbid Age," juxtaposes calm and violence, colliding sweet, slow-moving synthetic string washes with slashing, seething electronic tones that could've come from Merzbow. The relatively subdued and minimal "Staggers and Folds" balances crawling low-end undulation and what sounds like whale song. Jendon uses hand-tweaked modular synthesizers and outmoded 80s keyboards—all of them heavily processed—and he believes the unpredictability of his gear is a key factor in his sound. "I don't play it so much as manage it," he says. For tonight's show he'll play material similar to what's on Corporate Laughter. —Peter Margasak