I don’t know anyone who isn’t looking forward to the end of this grueling, demoralizing election campaign. I’m certain that its ugliness will leave a toxic residue for a long time no matter who wins, but assuming the race is called tonight, it’ll be cathartic for at least half the people who bothered to vote. I’ll probably be cowering on my couch from 8 PM onward, but I also feel a yearning to be out in the world, among like-minded, generous souls. I’ve been thinking it might be restorative to see a concert, especially by musicians who aren’t from the U.S.—it might not be possible to find a neutral setting tonight, but I’m guessing foreigners would be less likely to politicize their performances. If you can make it out for Schnellertollermeier, a Swiss instrumental trio making their local debut tonight at the Whistler, I recommend you give it a shot. (They’ll end their tour back in Chicago on Sunday, November 20, at the Hungry Brain.) If nothing else, these guys’ music ought to clear out your head.
On last year’s X (Cuneiform), Schnellertollermeier collide jazz impulses, hard-rock aggression, and proggy complexity—the group’s record label has called them a “brutal-jazz power trio.” Guitarist Manuel Troller, bassist Andi Schnellman, and drummer David Meier play in tight lockstep, ripping through shifting time signatures, extreme dynamic swings, and breathless compositional patterns with a weightlifter’s power and a gymnast’s finesse. Sometimes the music can feel like a mere exercise—a frothy display of mad chops—but even at those moments it provides an energizing kick. Today’s 12 O’Clock Track is one of the album’s most extroverted, punishing pieces, “Riot.” It might be exactly what this evening calls for, though I’m hoping that all we’ll need is a good night’s sleep.
Lars Gullin, First Walk: 1951/1952 Vol. 5 (Dragon)
Barbara Benary, Sun on Snow (New World)
Bobby Womack, Facts of Life/I Don’t Know What the World Is Coming To (Stateside)
Lark Quartet, Jennifer Higdon: An Exaltation of Larks (Bridge)
Battle Trance, Blade of Love (New Amsterdam)