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Documentary On Chicago Post-Rock Pioneers Now Underway

By Steven Pate in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 12, 2011 7:00PM

2011_07_grubbs.jpg The heyday of Chicago's post-rock scene of the 1990s found a lot of talented and ambitious musicians lumped under its rather non-specific banner. If it wasn't always easy to express just what fit Dianogah, Tortoise and U.S. Maple into the same classification, it was at least easy to notice that a handful of individuals kept cropping up over and over. Perhaps it was their complementary dispositions towards what made music worthwhile which held the whole thing together. The only inarguable point is that their influence has lasted longer and traveled farther than most localized "scenes."

We should not be surprised, then, that after securing financing from partners in across Europe, an Italian director and his Brazilian assistant director have been in Chicago since February talking to the standard bearers of the Post-rock ethos as they look back on it decades later, for a Paris-based production company. Or that filmmaker Augusto Contento's film, which bears the title of Parallax Sounds, will eschew footage from the period itself in favor of new interviews with the old gang, nestling conversations with Steve Albini, David Grubbs, Ken Vandermark, Damon Locks, Ian Williams and others in evocative Chicago backdrops. Vandermark has composed the score, with performances by Albini, John Herndon (Tortoise), Wayne Montana (The Eternals), Jason Adasiewicz (The Exploding Star Orchestra), Terrie Ex (The Ex) and others, as well as two new songs from Grubbs.

Contento's films meditate on the relationship between a place and its culture, and Parallax Sound promises to portray the city and the region as particularly important to the music made here, very often by individuals born elsewhere. Vandermark provided the soundtrack for 2009's hypnotic Strade d'Acqua (Roads of Water), an exploration of the Amazon basin. Grubbs supplied music for 2008's Strade Trasparenti (Transparent Roads), another Brazilian journey from his tetralogy on the subject.

Along with an ongoing kickstarter campaign, the filmmakers hope to raise more funds to offset Chicago production costs with a benefit at The Hideout on July 27, featuring the debut of a twenty minute preview of the film so far, a DJ set from Damon Locks, and free food and drink. Given the beautiful shots we've seen so far, we're looking forward to seeing more.