Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ballister Trauma

Ballister @ The Hideout, Chicago, IL
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dave Rempis: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello, electronics
Paal Nilssen-Love: drums, percussion

From the first attack from Paal Nilssen-Love's stick landing on membrane Ballister lurched forward with a willingness to plunge over any improvisational cliff. With a music that is far from subtle - but full of subtlety - this trio mines a sonic territory built upon three slabs of noise emanating from equal partners. The jagged beauty of their sound pouring down like a firestorm during an active eruption.

Behind the thrill of sonic fortissimo lurks the contours of the independent parts. The surprising moments of quiet introspection that creep into the foreground or the delicious moments when one layer drops out, allowing for a duo to pool around the edges of the aggressive energy. The confidence these performers have in one another as collaborators and partners in angry dialogue offering ample evidence that their responsive listening habits have fused together as a band and over years of playing together within larger formations.

Dave Rempis played with a lot of heat. Often concluding pieces with a searing tone from a surprising register on the baritone. Or tracing soft contours that sounded nearly as processed as Fred Lonberg-Holm's pedal heavy cello setup. While Nilssen-Love displayed how the percussive vocabulary on display in last week's solo set plays out within a trio format. The end result was a satisfying blast of noise therapy.

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