WITH SOME MUSICIANS you know exactly what you're getting into when you pick up a CD or head down to a concert. Then there are folks like Nudge, who thrive in the limbo between classifications. Is it a solo project or a group effort? Is it electronic music or an organic jam band? When you get down to the nuts and bolts, Nudge is essentially the brainwave of songwriter/software shaman Brian Foote—though he is regularly bolstered by top-notch collaborators Honey Owens (also of Valet and Dark Yoga) and Paul Dickow (AKA Strategy).

The trio has always committed to being noncommittal, as they cruise the outlying boundaries of dub, ambient, and shoegazer music, never settling in one spot for too long. It's doubtful that anyone, including the band members themselves, would deny that Nudge's sensory dreamscapes might be understandably tagged as "drug music," but not of the stereotypical burnouts-and-bongs variety. Nudge would fit right at home as the house band in a Philip K. Dick novel, where pills, machines, and consciousness all coalesce into a syrupy goo. Foote hints that his newer material won't be exiting off the pharmaceutical highway anytime soon: "To me, the theme seems to be downers pop. Real bum trip kind of stuff where you get little flashes of everything."

Foote departed for the Windy City about a year ago to help take the reins at Kranky Records, but he still appears undecided on the virtues of Chicago's eclectic music community, saying, "I don't know that I've explored it enough yet to not be a blind man describing an elephant. It seems like there's less bleed between scenes here." In spirit, he's in many ways still straddling between the two cities—flying regularly out to P-Town for shows and DJ gigs, and releasing a new one-sided Nudge 7-inch through the local boys at Anthem Records. One thing's for sure: Our loss is Chicago's gain, and we're not about to give Nudge up for good without a fight!