Adventures in Modern Music at Empty Bottle, Museum of Contemporary Art and Heaven Gallery | Concert preview

The Wire’s annual ode to “outsider sounds” brings Grouper, Oval, Sun Araw and Pelican.
By Areif Sless-Kitain |

A joint effort between U.K. underground bible The Wire and the Empty Bottle, the Adventures in Modern Music fest presents a feast of “outsider sounds,” and this year’s endeavor extends to a few outsider venues as well. The ninth annual edition continues Thursday at the Bottle with Grouper, the ambient alias of Liz Harris, whose heavenly folk soundscapes are always a few layers removed from the surface. She’s the electro-acoustic world’s closest thing to a siren, underscored when sandwiched between the noise abstractions of Carlos Giffoni and the free-swinging exploits of Rob Mazurek’s Starlicker trio, a welcome blast of improv offering a tangible link to the jazz tradition.

Berlin electronic icon Oval visits the Museum of Contemporary Art for Friday’s portion, filling the MCA Stage with spliced tones in support of its latest for Thrill Jockey, last year’s expansive O. A more under-the-radar destination, Wicker Park’s Heaven Gallery, hosts Saturday’s installment featuring the murky musings of Sun Araw and Oneohtrix Point Never’s mesmerizing synth patchworks.

Sunday brings a crushing close to this experimental summit with local heavyweight Pelican, whose metallic churn follows the relatively meeker bedroom electro of Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross. Before that is the low-rent psych-pop of Matthew Mondanile’s Ducktails, toeing the line between cult obscurity and blog darling. Dynamic indie flights like this remain the benchmark of AIMM and, for a select group of listeners, make it one of the most eagerly anticipated fall harvests.