An hour before Ill Prospekt’s first official notes, Gig has achieved maximum capacity, and guitarist-microKorg-anist Jacob Stultz is sitting on a bench outside the venue waiting for his set to start. The crowd thins a little before Prospekt takes the stage (aka the corner of the floor) and almost everyone’s found a place to sit. Since the band’s not elevated, sitting’s almost mandatory, and the bright, velvety fabrics hanging from the wall and the mismatched tables and chairs make Gig seem like a basement happening where ’60s-era psychedelic band would’ve gone to sweat out the brown acid — or at least a cleaned up approximation faithful enough to the idea to satisfy those of us born a generation or so too late.
And Ill Prospekt is in tune with this laid-back hippie-hipster vibe. They move only as much as necessary to play the notes, but simply listening to their ADD-prone multi-keyboard psych-out requires full attention. Closed eyes and bobbing heads make more sense than pumping fists or shuffling feet; every song is received with an appreciative round of applause.
And all of this to beg the obvious question — what does this band actually sound like?
Ill Prospekt makes space rock for NASA Kray computers, trippy music that seems to be produced under the influence of nothing stronger than Red Bull. Dr. Grey twiddles knobs and plays color commentary on his Moog while guest drummer Landis Chisenhall (from punk band Loser Phace) plays rapid rolling fills, an implied rhythm from which to hang more insanity. Stultz’s guitar makes a few brief appearances, but Dareon Gray’s Yamaha and Casio keyboard lines drive the sound in a way equally reminiscent of Barrett-era Pink Floyd and Trent Reznor’s instrumental work.
At Limelight, a similar set plays as noisy, hyperactive glitch-pop, but at Gig it’s all low-tech sci-fi. Colored party lights pinwheel, and synth-master Grey distorts his voice beyond any recognizable humanity. He blips laser effects while Ill Prospekt’s low-end rumbles the ground, the swirling, stuttering soundtrack for a low-budget UFO blast off.
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