Paper Mice, Spektral Quartet Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., Jan. 9, 10 p.m. 2015

If anyone can prove how slippery the lines between music disciplines are these days, it’s Dave Reminick: he’s a serious composer finishing up a graduate degree at Northwestern, a witty and skilled practitioner of arty math-rock as the front man of Paper Mice, and a deft saxophonist who’s frequently worked as an improviser with trumpeter Peter Evans. Tonight’s enticing concert displays two of those sides, the first and most prominent in the premiere of his work The Ancestral Mousetrap. Built around a poem by Russell Edson, the multipart suite features the members of Chicago’s superb string ensemble Spektral Quartet not just playing but occasionally singing (or more accurately intoning) the lines in pitched deliveries. The quartet has performed a few parts of the work over the last few months, and based on what I’ve heard, it’s a characteristically bracing, jagged piece marked by deadpan humor and technical rigor—it demands a great deal from the musicians taking it on. Spektral’s program is rounded out by music from Dvořák, Haydn, and Beethoven, as well as a new arrangement of a tango by Julien Labro and fresh short pieces by Stephen Gorbos and Chris Fisher-Lochhead. The Reminick debut opens an evening that also features a Paper Mice set, which is only the group’s second performance since bassist Adam McCormack left in December 2013. He was recently replaced by Taylor Hales, but the band’s twitchy, snaking, and wonderfully jagged postpunk is as sharp as ever. —Peter Margasak

Price: $15

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