Ensemble Vulpine Lupin have been road tripping through New York City and Costa Rica all summer long. Tonight will be their first performance after having returned to Chicago. And they’ve brought Souvenirs! You can read about their tour and tonight’s concert here.
Above is EVL doing a performance of co-founder Pablo Chin’s “Sólo es real la niebla.” The group won’t be playing this work tonight, but the piece is fairly indicative of their style: mysterious in atmosphere, biting at times, extremely exposed but fearless in execution. The group also has a knack for pieces that explore the physicality of playing, which lends itself nicely to their two oft-featured vocalists. The last time I saw this ensemble, the venue was a tiny art gallery where just about everyone was within a few feet from the performers. The vocalists sharp breaths, deep sighs, and high-pitched bellows felt nearly tangible in the cramped underground space. It was the kind of concert where you’re as hyper-aware of the audience as you are of the players; every chair squeak provoked, every flimsy program threatened to slip. It made the music that much more on-edge.
In retrospect, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would certainly hate to see this ensemble play in a space large enough to deem microphones a necessity. After all, this is the kind of music—laden with unusual and subtle gestures—that you want to hear up close, as if examining it anatomically. Proper acoustics aside, it’s music you might want to hear in your own home rather than a theatre.