On Feb. 20, celebrated art rockers Deerhoof joined the Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente for a collaborative evening of music that included new compositions by Brazilian-born composer Marcos Balter and Deerhoof's own Greg Saunier as part of the 2013 Ecstatic Music Festival.
Members of Ensemble Dal Niente opened the evening with two Balter compositions: Wicker Park, an extended technique piece for solo saxophone and Ear, Skin, and Bone Riddles, a sparse and chilling work for soprano, violin and cello. The first half concluded with Saunier's expansive Deerhoof Chamber Variations, an alternately intimate and cinematic work for the entire ensemble which uses Deerhoof's music as source material.
Deerhoof then delivered a suitably eclectic and cerebral set of their own music, an apt illustration that the band's versatility, intricacy and intensity puts them on par with any of their counterparts in either the contemporary rock or contemporary classical worlds.
The evening concluded with the world premiere of Balter's Meltdown Upshot, a shimmering fusion of Deerhoof and Ensemble Dal Niente that ranged from pensive post-minimalism to tangled math rock and bursts of free jazz.
Over the course of their eleven self-produced albums, Deerhoof have become one of the most celebrated underground bands of the 1990s and 2000s. Their latest album, "Breakup Song" was released in 2012. Composer Marcos Balter's growing roster of collaborators includes the International Contemporary Ensemble and the Orquestra Experimental da Amazonas Filarmonica. In addition to an ongoing commitment to new works by emerging composers, Ensemble Dal Niente has collaborated with Kaija Saariaho, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Alvan Lucier.
Marcos Balter - Wicker Park (2009) for solo soprano saxophone
Marcos Balter - Ear, Skin, and Bone Riddles (2010)
Lyrics by Michael Walsh; for soprano, violin and cello
Greg Saunier - Deerhoof Chamber Variations (2013)
The Perfect Me
Buck and Judy
We Do Parties
Marcos Balter - Meltdown Upshot (World Premiere)
Written for Deerhoof and Ensemble Dal Niente
Recorded and engineered by Damon Whittemore
Q2 Music is the digital venue for the Ecstatic Music Festival 2013 and will be the center for live webcasts and on-demand show audio.