The big band returns. Tobin Summerfield's Never Enough Hope is a 20-piece plus assemblage that communicates as "a kind of supermagnified orchestration of the terse vocabulary of no-wave" (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader).

Their 2008 release The Gift Economy featured scores of saxophones, vibraphones, and violins mingling with guitar, bass, trumpets, and dual drum kits utilizing both rock and free music idioms.

Never Enough Hope is returning with The Gravity of Our Commitment. Recorded commences in Chicago next week and a rare show to mark the event will be held at the Empty Bottle on Sunday, June 24th at 7pm. You can never have enough Never Enough Hope. Do it. [posted TUES. 06/19/12]


oRSo is back.

Bandleader Phil Spirito leads an orchestrated band of nylon guitars, tin pan alley drums, swooping clarinets and a toy chest of other sounds into a fantastical record steeped in Americana.

The period between 2008 and today has been hard on everyone. For oRSo, this was one of the longest hibernations ever. Spirito, like so many others in 2009, was laid off from his decade long music supporting career in IT. Fortunately for him he was able to transition into his dream career of being a Librarian at a public library. The tapes for this record sat in the vault while oRSo took a forced retirement. After the career-changing dust settled, Spirito was ready to get back to the work of making oRSo music.

In 2010, after playing music at the library for senior citizens and kids under five, Spirito went back to writing oRSo songs and started thinking about finishing the instrumental record he had started. The idea for an instrumental record was a fantasy of Spirito's for almost ten years. While the music is familiar to other oRSo records the missing vocals make this a very different sounding oRSo record.

oRSo is now back playing gigs with yet another new group and looking forward to recording a new record of vocal songs. 9 is quietly oRSo's finest hour. Get your copy of this digital release today at the ContraStore. [posted TUES. 04/24/12]


Celebrate our (semi-) annual "Winter of Love" show, as it takes new shape this year under the banner of "4 More Years of Winter," with Coffin Ships, Chris Salmon (Crush Kill Destroy) & Ante/Contra DJs.

January 29, 2012
The Whistler
2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.,
Chicago, IL 60647

[posted TUES. 01/09/12]


The Contraphonic Sound Series is expanding its catalog to produce its first-ever DVD release with Little Hell Vol VI: The Indian Boundary Line, from Chicago-based filmmaker and musician Thomas Comerford. This special edition of the DVD will feature the dvd, and in the tradition of other Little Hell releases, a digital audio release and accompanying .pdf booklet. The audio release comes from Never Enough Hope leader and Chicago composer Tobin Summerfield, as performed by him, drummer Frank Rosaly and Pillars & Tongues' frontman Mark Trecka. The booklet will feature essays from Tom McCormack, Christy LeMaster and Michael Phillips, Jr.

The Indian Boundary Line follows a road in Chicago, Rogers Avenue, that traces the 1816 Treaty of St. Louis boundary between the United States and "Indian Territory." In doing so, it examines the collision between the vernacular landscape, with its storefronts, short-cut footpaths and picnic tables, and the symbolic one, replete with historical markers, statues, and fences. Through its observations and audio-visual juxtapositions, The Indian Boundary Line meditates on a span of land in Chicago about 12 miles long, but suggests how this land and its history are an index for the shifting inhabitants, relationships, boundaries and ideas of landscape -- as well as the consequences -- which have accompanied the transformation of the "New World."

Little Hell Vol VI: The Indian Boundary Line is available now. For those in Chicago, make sure to join us for a special screening of the film and live music provided by Tobin Summerfield and guests in Chicago on Friday, September 16th at Roxaboxen Exhibitions, 8:30pm. [posted TUES. 09/13/11]


Assembled in the summer of 2010, Fringe was initially an experiment in using the systemic composition techniques that Brian Eno developed after hearing Steve Reich's landmark tape piece, "It's Gonna Rain". Composed of short, interlocking phrases on piano and double bass, each of Fringe's four sections is a long-form ambience constructed of few simple parts.

From Chicago, Evan Hydzik also plays bass in the band Pillars and Tongues. Previously, he was a member of the group Static Films.

Evan will be joining the party this Friday, September 16th at Roxaboxen Exhibitions, 8:30pm, for a solo set. [posted TUES. 09/13/11]


Joshua Marcus, Contraphonic's resident banjo-neer has picked up a ukulele for his latest release, Uke Yr Illusion. Uke is a collection of six arrangements built around simple ukulele tunes, and a refreshing return to simpler songs for Marcus, after the complexities of previous banjo-heavy releases Reverse the Charges and the seriousness of This Land. As always, expect a peppering of crafty lyrics and syllabic phrasings, as well as a handful of Joshua's friends to flesh out these tunes. Check out the track "Blood/Under/Over" in the Contraradio and then click on over to the ContraStore to get your copy today! [posted TUES. 08/02/11]


The Contraphonic Sound Series expands into the City of Pittsburgh with the launch of FOURTH RIVER. Complimenting The Sound Series' Chicago-centric Little Hell, and its aim to aurally document cities through the medium of sound, Fourth River is the companion series that will set to examine Pittsburgh's past.

Fourth River: Welcome to Pittsburgh, courtesy of Host Skull, is the first entry into the series. Fourth River is a reference to the little-known aquifer underneath Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle district that serves as the de facto fourth river to the city's more famous three. Host Skull's musical reflection echoes the Fourth River's place in the city's history, and with its subdued drones, trickling vibes, and consistently steady rhythms, it both echoes a river's gurgling motion and reflects on Pittsburgh's heavy, meteoric history.

This release will be available on Tuesday, April 26th with a gallery display of photos and live music from Host Skull scheduled for April 29th at The Frame, 5200 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh. [posted TUES. 04/26/11]


The latest release in the Contraphonic Chicago Sound Series, Little Hell Vol V: Shadows from South Deering, is available now in the ContraStore. Little Hell Vol V: Shadows from South Deering is a collaborative effort between independent record label Contraphonic, Inc. and sound artist Elk Magic.

Elk Magic is the musical pseudonym of Raffaele Stuparitz, a Brooklyn-based-via-Chicago artist who explores the various textures, landscapes, and rhythms found throughout the South Deering neighborhood through electronic manipulations. The subdued dance-ready beats, offset by ominous keyboard melodies, paints South Deering in a contemporary lens as a neighborhood still brimming with life and opportunity. An industrial powerhouse of a place, whose heavy manufacturing not only made steel, but also synthesized immigrants into citizens, South Deering's story mirrors myriad other tales of rise and decline across neighborhoods of the Far Southeast Side, and of cities all over the greater Midwest.The field recordings within the piece coupled with a series of mechanical and percussive gurgles that underscore the track, serve as reflections upon South Deering's past. The changes in tone, pitch and feel all echo the ups and downs of the larger community. [posted TUES. 03/15/11]


Wishgift is a Chicago trio. Reared in the basements and DIY spaces of the city, the band packs a frenetic energy in one concise package - a mix of Fitz of Depression and King Crimson compressed into a tiny room and then let free. The band is a presence. Perhaps a menace. They nearly never stop playing, consistently spreading their loud and distorted gospel all over Chicago and the greater MidWest. Look for them coming your way soon. And look for their very limited Contraphonic 7" "Pretty Jenny/Cream Acres". AVAILABLE NOW in the ContraStore. [posted TUES. 09/21/10]

Contraphonic launches new sister label ANTEPHONIC, INC

Contraphonic, Inc. is proud to announce the launch of new boutique label ANTEPHONIC. As our sister label, Antephonic seeks to document the best and most exceptional songwriters working in the pop canon. Our first release on ANTEPHONIC will be courtesy of classically trained viola player Dina Maccabee.

Maccabee, a veteran of the San Francisco Bay Area scene and frequent contributor to the likes of Vetiver, Carla Bozulich, Vienna Teng and lo-fi favorites Ramon & Jessica, will be unleashing her solo debut entitled Who Do You Suppose You Are in the late summer/early fall of this year. For the full scoop on Antephonic and Maccabee, check out the brand new Antephonic page now. [posted MON. 07/12/10]


Today marks the official release date of singer-songwriter Adam Green's soundtrack LP Musik for a Play. Green, previously of Moldy Peaches/"Juno" soundtrack fame, was commissioned to score the instrumental tracks that make up Musik for a Play for the production of the theatrical adaptation of Paul Auster's novel "Timbuktu." Filled with swirling arrangements -- where clarinets rub elbows with rock drums, oboes with synths, and classical guitars are picked against vaudeville rhythms -- Musik for a Play is a steadfast testament to the ever-evolving talents of Green as a composer and arranger. Available digitally everywhere, only 500 vinyl copies exist of these records so hurry and secure yours today -- either via the ContraStore or your favorite neighborhood music retailer. Get in the spirit by watching the Todd Smolar-directed video for the track "Sailor Shirts" off of Musik now. [posted TUES. 05/11/10]

Frank Rosaly's Milkwork OFFICIALLY OUT TODAY

Today marks the official release date of the Milkwork LP from Chicago-based drummer and composer Frank Rosaly. Rosaly, a frequent contributor and player alongside the likes of Matana Roberts, Rob Mazurek's Mandarin Movie, The Rempis Percussion Quartet, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten, Jeff Parker/Nels Cline Quartet, Josh Abrams' Remindring, Fred Lonberg-Holm's Valentine Trio, and many more, has been navigating a fine line between the improvised music, indie-rock, experimental and jazz communities for the past decade.

Milkwork is the resulting work of one of Rosaly's solo drum ventures. Milkwork explores the process of free-improvisation with both acoustic and electronically manipulated percussion instruments to produce a wild and gorgeous panoply of sound. Released in a limited edition version on milky white vinyl only, Milkwork navigates a wide sonic palette: Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Jazz and non-idiomatic grooves using unconventional techniques, dense Free-Jazz vocabulary, heavy drones and feedback. Again, only 500 LPs on milky white vinyl exist! Hurry and secure one up at the ContraStore now. [posted TUES. 01/12/10]