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Sun Speak, Space Junk

  • Arts + Literature Laboratory 2021 Winnebago Street Madison, WI, 53704 United States (map)

Chicago guitar-and-drums duo Sun Speak explore a chaotic range of moods. Info/tix

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Chicago-based guitar-and-drums duo Sun Speak explore a wide landscape of jazz through their finely honed instrumental craft. Guitarist Matt Gold and drummer Nate Friedman are longtime improvisational collaborators, so any given show will be a little different from the last. The duo describes themselves as "electric chamber music," as they are modernizing sounds and styles of small ensembles working in classical traditions, like string quartets, but also drawing on jazz methods, all filtered through modern production technologies like looping pedals.

Sun Speak's recordings juggle the feeling that their instruments are discovering themes on a sonic journey together, even as the melodic groundwork remains solid. This approach lends itself to absorbing a wide range of genres, giving the instrumental album they released in 2015, Sacred Rubble, a chaotic range of moods. The band's latest release is a collaboration with the Portuguese singer Sara Serpa, and texturally is more refined. Serpa's voice adds elegant melodies over  instrumentals that make smooth jumps from quiet rumination to intense builds. On "Basin," Serpa eschews lyrics for a kind of airy hum, using her voice like a trumpet, which eventually digs into a beautiful groove as her voices lifts and falls with Gold's strumming chords and arpeggios. Space Junk, a trio comprised of Madison jazz heavies Paul Dietrich (trumpet), John Christensen (bass), and Louka Patenaude (guitar), opens this show. —Reid Kurkerewicz

Later Event: May 26
Wurst Times VIII