Minimalist music is a style that is particularly prone to qualification. It is music stripped of unnecessary frills, revealing a raw inner power -- ideally, that is. It is unbridled, unadorned artistic expression -- theoretically, that is. It is emotion laid bare, reduced to a basic humanity -- at face value, that is.

That is, that is, that is . . .

Suicide is a New York-based minimalist duo that appeared last night (and tonight) at the 9:30 Club. Their music was predictably harsh, bare and otherwise lacking in such accoutrements as harmony, melody and rhythmic nuance. o

Singer Alan Vega stomped about the stage uttering a series of grunts and screams, among which were interspersed dary lyric images. Martin Rev accompanied him on synthesizer, pounding out drab bass figures and occasional beeps and gurgles. A third, mechanical member (an electronic rhythm unit) kept up a steady, unvarying beat.

The result was a sound that was at times expressive and dramatic but which constantly stumbled over its own qualifications. It was stark, to be sure, but also monotonous and ultimately devoid of inspiration.

Suicide has the potential for delivering sharp stabs to the heart and mind. For the moment, however, the effect is more similar to an overdose of sleeping tablets.