Secret Keeper | Constellation | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Sat., April 4, 7 p.m. 2015
Price: $10
As Secret Keeper the duo of guitarist Mary Halvorson and bassist Stephan Crump (who just rolled through town as a member of the Vijay Iyer Trio) decided to let in environmental sounds on their new album Emerge (Intakt). The patter of rain is the first thing we hear on the gorgeous opening ballad, “What’ll I Do,” making drizzle a third partner. Though both of their records were tracked in Crump’s home studio, for 2013’s Super 8 the duo stuck exclusively to improvisations played in a series of low-key sessions that operated like intimate conversations as much as performances, while for Emerge they each brought in compositions. The lovely tenderness of the opener offers a compelling starting point for the telltale, pitch-shifting effect of Halverson’s Line 6 delay pedal as the duo pushes and pulls the tune’s framework with as much spontaneity as anything on the first album. The partnership has come a long way over the last few years, as the pair took their time developing the album’s nine tracks, fine-tuning them in performance and allowing plenty of space for ongoing improvisation. Their rapport and shared intuition seemed present from the outset of their partnership, but the new record, which features them moving effortlessly from structured passages to wide-open excursions, is even richer and more satisfying. The tunes burrow deeper into my memory with each pass, but it’s the way Halvorson and Crump dance together in those melodies that really knocks me out. That sort of connection can’t be faked. —Peter Margasak



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