Unpacking the Trailer (New Amsterdam)
QQQ "unspools folk music from a place where bluegrass, Norwegian wedding marches, progressive rock, and post-minimalism have merged into a funky, engaging hybrid." Dan Trueman plays the Hardanger fiddle, Monica Mugan is on classical guitar, Beth Meyers on viola and Jason Treuting does the drums and percussion.It is a wild and decidedly non-traditional mix, yet the music still sounds ancient and rooted.
Listen to "(t)His Land"
Listen to "Al or Nothing"
Listen to "Ghostwalk"
QQQ comprises two married couples. Dan Trueman plays the Hardanger fiddle, a folk instrument with a set of five sympathetic steel strings that lend it a bright, ringing timbre. He is joined by his wife Monica Mugan on classical guitar, driving the tunes forward with fingerpicked patterns. The viola of Beth Meyers (who is also a member of janus) merges with Trueman’s fiddle to add dark, lustrous counterpoint to the bowed string textures. Her husband, Jason Treuting of So Percussion, rounds out the quartet with imaginative, propulsive work at the drumkit. About its name, the group will say only that the last ‘Q’ stands for ‘quartet,’ and the others “don’t stand for words that start with ‘q.’
The thirteen tracks on Unpacking the Trailer are based on tunes written by Trueman or Treuting and refined by the group collectively, without notation. It was a cassette recording of traditional Norwegian dances and wedding marches that inspired Trueman to take up the Hardanger fiddle, and QQQ’s sound is infused with the energy and jubilant spirit of folk dance music. The songs are by turns joyful, wistful, playful, and melancholy; tuneful, but filled with offbeat details that repay repeated hearings with increasing pleasure. One might call the group’s music Americana, if Oslo and Brooklyn were located in the Appalachians.
Time Out New York’s Hank Shteamer caught QQQ at New Amsterdam’s CMJ showcase, and described the quartet’s music as "literally brimming with fresh ideas… At times, QQQ's music resembled nimble, knotty prog rock; at other moments, it took on the trancey exuberance of klezmer and similar earthy folk genres... Overall the set was a delight: there's no shorthand term for what QQQ is up to, and may it long be so."
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