Ballrogg | Constellation | Experimental | Chicago Reader

Ballrogg 18+ Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Sat., Dec. 6, 9:30 p.m. 2014

Norwegian group Ballrogg has made major leaps between each of its albums since forming in the mid-aughts—the sole constant in its style has been a measured, austere, and contemplative cool, combined with warm textures and melodies. It began as the duo of bassist Roger Arntzen (In the Country) and reedist Klaus Ellerhusen Holm, and its first two albums progressed from quiet, stripped-down postbop (with originals inspired by Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy) to a loose adaptation of the minimalist classical music of composer Morton Feldman. On its third album, 2012’s Cabin Music (Hubro), Ballrogg expanded to a trio with the addition of guitarist Ivar Gyrdeland (Dans les Arbres, Huntsville), who injected its sleek, stark aesthetic with a rustic lyricism, sometimes playing acidic textures (the opening moments of “Breakfast Music”) and sometimes slaloming through mesmerizing melodies (“Swedish Country”). Arntzen maintains a crisp rhythmic foundation as he sketches the music’s harmonic framework, and Holm and Gyrdeland sync up and veer apart on their gorgeous, soothing excursions. Sometimes they all collude to build pointillistic constellations that feel a bit like Arnold Dreyblatt lite, but I have no problem with that at all. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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