Stirrup | Hungry Brain | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Stirrup

Lorena Velazquez

When: Sun., Aug. 14, 9 p.m. 2016
Price: $10 suggested donation
On one hand Stirrup’s latest album, Cut (Clean Feed), carries on an aesthetic that the Chicago trio began mining in 2009, when its members splintered off from their work with psych-folk group the Horse’s Ha (led by Janet Bean and Jim Elkington). Drummer Charles Rumback and bassist Nick Macri play elegant, elastic grooves that seem to go on forever—albeit with steady, unobtrusive displacements and shifting accents—as they provide a foundation for the extended improvisations of cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. Throughout his career Lonberg-Holm has led a variety of groups that showcase his richly lyric side (In Zenith, Terminal 4, et cetera), and Stirrup continues that tradition. His bowed lines offer generous melodic elaboration of the trio’s folk-rock themes. What differentiates Cut from previous efforts is the way Lonberg-Holm brings in his penchant for noise and abrasive textures. While a track like Macri’s “Six Minutes to Montrose” features the rhythm section sharing some of the cellist’s agitation, it mostly maintains a veneer of calm while Lonberg-Holm’s pretty, melancholy melodies fluidly dissolve within waves of acidic splatters, feedback, and harmony-rich dissonance. He frequently uses effects pedals to give his instrument a guitarlike feel, and on Cut he follows that tendency to its logical conclusion, playing an actual guitar on a bunch of pieces. On either instrument Lonberg-Holm casts lovely spells, embroidering every folksy melody with endless variations.
— Peter Margasak

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