House Of Tudor

Adult.'s dispassionate synth-pop, and Si*Se's diaphanous trip-hop

Unraveling the secretive world of Detroit electro is no easy task, given that most of its agents insist upon identity concealment. The history of Adult. is no different. The duo's first release on Ersatz Audio, the microlabel striving to surpass the "human touch" with the "machine feel," was 1998's fantastic 12-inch Dispassionate Furniture. A robotic rumination on the difficulty of obtaining comfort from modern furnishings, the song integrated human-ish vocals with the analog synth and drum-machine sound of electro icons Kraftwerk and Cybotron.

For those folks pondering the true identities behind Adult., it was necessary to decipher their secret-agent names, Vulpine and Kuperus, and follow clues found on the label's roster. Vulpine proved to be Le Car's Adam Lee Miller, founder of Ersatz Audio, while Kuperus was Nicola Kuperus, the woman responsible for Ersatz Audio's distinctive visual lexicon. Having been unmasked, Adult. released its first full-length, 2001's Resuscitation, a collection of the band's five 12-inches plus a few new numbers that perfectly captured the duo's glistening sterility, futuristic absurdity, and hygienic pathos. This is how the soundtrack to Logan's Runshould've sounded -- tripping drum machines chased by ominous synth lines, with Kuperus' tinfoil vibrato droning, "We halted the discovery/ Of our suicide/ We killed the purity/ Of our skin design."

Adult. supports I Am Spoonbender and the Faint as part of Noise Pop on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at Bimbo's 365 Club with Ghost Orchid opening at 8 p.m. Ticket price is $14; call 474-0365.

Underground drum 'n' bass DJ turned Brooklyn chanteuse Carol C. lounges in a diaphanous world between the Dominican Republic and East Harlem -- where music, like love and food, takes time. As if savoring a Oaxacan mole, Carol C. allows syllables to roll slowly off her tongue, emphasizing their texture and complexity as they simmer within the crackling beats of programmer DJ U.F. Low and the rest of her Brooklyn-based group Si*Se.

On the septet's self-titled debut, Jamaican steel drum, Middle Eastern accents, and Latin ritmos mingle with über-urban beats, cooking up a languid potion of tropical trip hop. Viola and keyboards whisper as Carol C.'s voice sidles between satin and smoke, ruminating over lyrics that are sparse and nearly inconsequential. Her emotive gift is not entirely unique but, while other vocal seductresses like Sade must provide late-night bubble-bath music for middle-aged ladies, Carol C. gently basks in the glow of sultry candles and strobe lights. Having garnered the attention of Digable Planets' Michael Mangini, who co-produced Si*Se, and David Byrne, who released the record on Luaka Bop, the band offers a club groove with room to breathe. Si*Se performs on Friday, March 1, at the Elbo Room with DJ Sep opening at 10 p.m. Ticket price is $8; call 552-7788.

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