The impressive composer and vocalist Kitty Brazelton has chosen a cute but misleading name for the genre-crunching "rockestra" she formed in 1990: Dadadah is neither nihilistic nor incomprehensible, both of which would describe the Dada movement of the 191Os.
In fact, her synthesis of fine rock songwriting, personalized folk imagery, acid-rock guitar, soul-brand horns, free-jazz echoes, and classical-music instrumentation (the nine-piece Dadadah features french horn, cello, and harp), Brazelton proves herself a master builder - vigorously postmodern, but never merely eclectic. The resultant music has landed her in performances at both the Whitney Museum and CBGB's, and you can't spread things out much further than that.
("Resolving the conflicts of modernism vs. early music vs. free jazz vs. acid rock vs. folk was really my motivation for further study," she told an interviewer to explain how she became a composition student by day while remaining a rocker by night.)
On Love Not Love Lust Not Lust (Buzz), released a few months ago, and a prime source of material for the live show she brings to Chicago for Halloween, Brazelton spins a beguiling web constructed of lean melodies, spacious harmonies, and sometimes silky lyrics: in "Sex Wind Dream" she writes "there is no island continent safe from the weather of my soul," while "Beauty Wild and Curious" offers the observation that "cocaine is wasabi but wine is the thought of love."
Brazelton has written songs performed by Terence Trent D'Arby, Joan Jett, and Madonna, but for all their variety, her compositions share an unusually strong structural base, a product of those nighttime music classes; meanwhile, her versatility extends to her own performance style, with vocals that range from banshee flutters to Grace Slick flash to Annie Lenox's peculiar mix of power and cool.
This marks the first road performance of Dadadah's "stage show," which frames the music with lighting cues, movement, and spoken-word interludes, and which debuted at the Public Theatre in New York earlier this month. Sunday, 8 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo; 312-362-9707.