Body/Head, MCA Chicago

The co-founder and bassist of Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon, returns to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) to perform as Body/Head, a project with free-noise guitarist Bill Nace. The duo began after Sonic Youth broke up in 2011 as an instrumental side project and now features scripted improvisation and songs with vocals by Gordon. Using a slow-motion film projection as their backdrop, the pair creates a dream-like narrative of guitar instrumentations, feedback, and vocals. The MCA Stage concert marks the Chicago debut of Body/Head and is part of a national tour to support the release of the band’s double album, Coming Apart, which came out 10 September.

Gordon has tried her hand at nearly every creative activity, she is a musician, vocalist, visual artist, curator, record producer, video director, fashion designer, and actress. In 1981, she co-founded the alternative rock band Sonic Youth with musicians Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore, whom she married in 1984. Releasing fifteen albums, Sonic Youth was an integral part of the first wave of American noise rock groups, helping to establish a sound that reinterpreted the DIY ethics of hardcore punk. Gordon also helped produce Hole’s Pretty on the Inside in 1991, and in 1992, with Pussy Galore’s Julia Cafritz, formed the supergroup Free Kitten. She also contributed to Artforum and worked for several SoHo art galleries in the early part of her career. Along with Spike Jonze, Gordon co-directed music videos for the songs Divine Hammer and Cannonball by The Breeders. She appeared in Gus Van Sant’s fictionalized biopic of Kurt Cobain, Last Days.

Bill Nace lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, and plays guitar with a focus on experimental and improvisational music, ranging from rock to jazz. He is known for his energizing presence in the Boston area, performing with Chris Corsano in Vampire Belt (and together with Jessica Rylan as Vampire Can’t), and in Northampton Wool, his duo with Thurston Moore. Nace is also part of the drone/scrape trio x.0.4 that includes Jake Meginsky and John Truscinski. His collaborations extend to Brighton noiseniks Dylan Nyoukis and Karen Constance (Blood Stereo) under the moniker, Ceylon Mange. Nace founded and runs the experimental record label Open Mouth.

Body/Head, 24 September, MCA’s Edlis Neeson Theater, 220 East Chicago Avenue.

1. Kim Gordon and Bill Nace of Body/Head. Photo: Annabel Mehran.