Spektral Quartet bring a mind-expanding program (and Julia Holter) to the Music Box | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

Spektral Quartet bring a mind-expanding program (and Julia Holter) to the Music Box 

Plus: Air Credits celebrate yet another new EP at the Empty Bottle, and the Synthesizer-Chili Cookoff signs off with its tenth installment.

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click to enlarge Spektral Quartet: from left to right, violinist Maeve Feinberg, violinist Clara Lyon, violist Doyle Armbrust, and cellist Russel Rolen - JOCELYN CHAUNG
  • Spektral Quartet: from left to right, violinist Maeve Feinberg, violinist Clara Lyon, violist Doyle Armbrust, and cellist Russel Rolen
  • Jocelyn Chaung

Gossip Wolf would never accuse Spektral Quartet of, uh, stringing fans along—the ambitious classical combo are well-known for debuting new projects at a dizzying rate! On Sunday, February 9, in conjunction with the Chicago Film Society, they bring a mind-blowing program to the Music Box that's anchored by the suburban fantasia Behind the Wallpaper. The 35-minute piece, by Arizona-based composer Alex Temple, combines a string quartet, live electronics, and the ethereal voice of Los Angeles singer-songwriter Julia Holter; its aesthetic is a beguiling and uncanny mix of Schubert's Winterreise and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Also on the bill are the Lyra Hill short film Uzi's Party and the premiere of a piece by synth whiz Gene Knific (of local band Iverson) based on Sufjan Stevens's "Arnika."

Ever since Air Credits debuted with the album Broadcasted in 2016, the duo of Hood Internet producer Steve Reidell and rapper ShowYouSuck have been cranking out pressurized sci-fi boom-bap that straddles the line between Cannibal Ox-style audio corrosion and winningly depressive anti-party jams. On Friday, February 7, they drop Gold/605, the fourth of six EPs in their Wasteland Radio New Archives series. That Saturday they celebrate at the Empty Bottle with Lasers and Fast and Shit and Rich Robbins.

  • Air Credits weren't streaming Gold/605 at press time. This is the previous entry in the Wasteland Radio New Archives series.

It's hard to believe that the Chili-Synthesizer Cookoff has lasted ten years—this bizarre annual competition requires contestants to cook a pot of chili and then play an original synth-based set that serves as a "sonic interpretation" of their recipe. At the Empty Bottle on Sunday, February 9, the 2019 champion, Whitney Johnson (aka Matchess), defends her title against Cooper Crain (Bitchin Bajas), Alex Inglizian (Experimental Sound Studio), and Tom Owens (Potions). Cook-off cofounders Beau Wanzer and Brett Naucke say this will be the competition's swan song, so this wolf's chili will be seasoned with tears.  v

  • A Reader preview video for the 2014 Chili-Synthesizer Cook-Off

Got a tip? Tweet @Gossip_Wolf or e-mail gossipwolf@chicagoreader.com.

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