Some things cannot be imitated

Like many folks, I've been thinking about Steve Albini a bit lately. He was acerbic, but I think his producing style was even more unsparing than the stuff he said. Also, in many ways he was the conductor of the Chicago sound. His need to refine the guitar sound. His disdain for vocals. A preference for needle-pinning levels. Sweet Home Chicago. The notes on this declare that this is a Chicago record. It is, in so many ways.

Deep Tunnel Project
Deep Tunnel Project
(Comedy Minus One)

A thousand years ago (really just twenty-something) Jon Solomon started My Pal God records in Chicago. If I remember correctly, he once billed it as the eighth-biggest record label in Chicago. And he might have been exaggerating. He moved to New Jersey and eventually dropped the MPG moniker and now releases records on his Comedy Minus One label (the home of this album). But that's merely the most tenuous Chicago connection for this set.

My first reaction to listening was, "Did someone unearth some old Tar tapes that had been sitting too close to the microwave?" Kinda, as John Mohr and Mike Greenlees of Tar are half of Deep Tunnel Project. The other half is Jeff Dean (he of many Chicago bands that burbled under the radar) and Tim Midyett (Silkworm, et al.). And, yeah, this sounds just like that: Angular, atonal and occasionally propulsive. Kinda like the 90s never ended (and we're all still in our 20s).

There is a bit of East Coast bias: J. Robbins did the mixing. And no, not a single part of this was recorded at Electrical Audio. Nonetheless, if you're looking for new music that celebrates the rambling angst and throbbing insistence of the classic Chicago sound, there is nothing better than going to the source. This album is far more time machine than crystal ball; the future has no place here. But for those who love to lather their ears with noise, it just doesn't get much better. My happy place is fulfilled for now.

Jon Worley

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