Tri-Dim | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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TRI-DIM

In September, eight of Sweden's hottest young improvisers were hustled around town to play in various combinations with the Chicago improv mob under the auspices of John Corbett and Mats Gustafsson's Pipeline 2000 project--and though they were a mind-bogglingly talented bunch, the one who made the deepest impression was acoustic guitarist David Stackenas. From the originality of his post-Derek Bailey vocabulary to the split-second reflexes he demonstrated while working with others, he turned out to be that rare player who transcends the default gestures of free improvisation. Though he's formally trained, he's only been at the free-improv game for a few years, which may explain the freshness of his approach. On his recent solo debut, The Guitar (Hapna), the sheer beauty of his sound, with its splintery, spindly harmonics, sometimes obfuscates his skill at avoiding predictable patterns: a zigzagging line will accelerate and decelerate drunkenly; a downward flurry will suddenly pile up in a knotty jumble of notes; his articulation will go from clean to damped over the course of a fluidly cascading line. For this appearance--on a bill with the Eternals as part of the kitchen-sink-themed Polyester Festival--Stackenas will perform with Tri-Dim, his trio with Norwegian improvisers Ingar Zach (percussion) and Hakon Kornstad (tenor sax). On the group's recent EP, Tri-Dimprovisations (BP), Zach tends to play jagged stop-start rhythms when he's got sticks in both hands, but he adds a liquid element to his sound by dragging beads or chains across the skins; Kornstad's puckered blurts alternately fill the rare spaces in the others' playing and pave the way for Stackenas's explosions. Wednesday, November 29, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/John Corbett.

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