Spektral Quartet’s new season takes deep dives in diverse directions | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

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Spektral Quartet’s new season takes deep dives in diverse directions

Plus: “Posi-djent” act Harm Less celebrates a new album, and No Trend Records hosts a showcase “in the round” at Thalia Hall.

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Spektral Quartet: from left to right, violinist Clara Lyon, violist Doyle Armbrust, cellist Russel Rolen, and violinist Maeve Feinberg - DANIEL KULLMAN
  • Daniel Kullman
  • Spektral Quartet: from left to right, violinist Clara Lyon, violist Doyle Armbrust, cellist Russel Rolen, and violinist Maeve Feinberg

Gossip Wolf is routinely bowled over by Chicago's Spektral Quartet—not only do these supreme string shredders totally rip it up, but they also chuck stereotypes about classical music right out the conservatory window! This month, Spektral fire up their 2019-2020 season, entitled "Totally Obsessed," which showcases a ludicrously wide range of creativity. On Wednesday, August 14, at Constellation, they perform a totally far-out piece from longtime collaborator LJ White that's based on the Shaggs' 1969 outre-rock classic "My Pal Foot Foot." On Friday, August 30, New Amsterdam Records drops the album Fanm d'Ayiti, where Spektral accompany Haitian American composer, flutist, and singer Nathalie Joachim in her suite of the same name; they play a release concert with Joachim (a member of Eighth Blackbird) at Black Ensemble Theater on Friday, September 13. On Thursday, November 14, they perform works by Shulamit Ran and Kotoka Suzuki as well as Enigma, a new commission from Anna Thorvaldsdottir, as part of their ongoing residency at the University of Chicago—and that's not even mentioning anything in 2020!

Chicago multi-instrumentalist Bryan Kingsley describes the instrumental music he makes under the name Harm Less as "posi-djent." On Friday, August 9, he drops the second Harm Less album, Safe's Pace, via Chicago's Flesh & Bone Records. The three singles he's released so far are heavy, triumphant postrock—and pretty positive! On Sunday, August 11, Harm Less headlines a release party at the Beat Kitchen; it's $10 and kicks off at 8 PM.

Chicago label No Trend Records has been working with some of Gossip Wolf's favorite local acts lately—including hilariously dystopian punks Absolutely Not, postpunk collage artists Avantist, and multifaceted rapper and poet Mykele Deville, all of whom play "in the round" on the floor of Thalia Hall on Saturday, August 10. The show costs $10 and starts at 9 PM.  v

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