When: Thu., Sept. 24, 8:30 p.m. 2015
Young Chicago duo Sun Speak, aka guitarist Matt Gold and drummer Nate Friedman, call the concise, freewheeling instrumentals on their new second record, Sacred Rubble (Ears & Eyes), “electric chamber music.” They built these loose but through-composed pieces by refining extended improvisations for two weeks in the New Hampshire woods, and they combine the restrained virtuosity and microscopically intimate precision of a string quartet with the gentle playfulness and wide-open feel you sometimes hear in small-group jazz. “Egg” even includes a pocket of free improv, surrounded by a meditative melody and a slow, deliberate crescendo of buzzing snare and sparse but increasingly dirty guitar dissonance. On “Fog” spindly, crystalline single-string figures cascade thoughtfully through the gaps in a sparse, slow, shuffling beat, while on the almost frisky “Juna” an acoustic guitar bobs and weaves like a hummingbird in the sun as the drums chatter, click, and leap. The opening track, “Solar Beast,” probably shows off Sun Speak’s range best: it begins and ends in a placid and elegantly lyrical mode, but in its midsection, pitter-pattering drums and nimbly riffing guitar build into a distorted, high-velocity vamp that boils vigorously behind a stately, sentimental melody by Gold and guest tenor saxophonist Ben Schmidt-Swartz. This is a CD-release party.