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'Once More, With Feeling!' featuring LJ White and music of The Shaggs

  • Constellation 3111 North Western Avenue Chicago, IL, 60618 United States (map)
Shaggs 02.jpg


The Experience: Discover composer LJ White’s take on The Shaggs’ cult-classic ‘My Pal Foot Foot’ through two performances and on-stage interviews.

Not only will you encounter us playing a disassembled drum kit, you will uncover the elements, inspirations, and mechanics of how a composer transforms a 60’s basement-rock combo into a string quartet.

One reason we are enamored with composer LJ White is that his Zin Zin Zin was one of our breakout new-music pieces, with this feverish, Mos Def-inspired number eventually included on our debut album, Chambers. Because of his borderless approach to music, LJ was our first choice when we got it in our collective head to commission a cover of perhaps the most notorious of all cult classics: The Shaggs’ 1969 head-spinner, My Pal Foot Foot. It’s music so seemingly disorganized that it reaches a new dimension entirely.

One of the most recognizable traits of LJ’s music is the rhythm. On a micro level, it’s exacting and complex, but when listeners zoom out, they are rewarded with an indisputably satisfying groove. Those familiar with The Shaggs’ decoupled guitar, bass, and drum lines will see the parallel here, and newcomers are in for a pleasurable crash course in the musical version of chaos theory – given enough distance and time, patterns will eventually emerge from pandemonium.

Not only will concertgoers encounter us playing a disassembled drum kit while simultaneously performing on our customary instruments, they will uncover the elements, inspirations, and mechanics of how a composer transforms a 60’s basement-rock combo into a string quartet – not only preserving the original’s idiosyncrasies, but carving his initials into its scaffolding.

Once More, With Feeling! offers a rare second listen – on the same night – to an unfamiliar work, giving concertgoers the chance to deepen their appreciation and enjoyment of the music. On-stage conversation with the composer illuminates the subtleties of and inspirations for the music, and audience members are able to ask questions in the moment – making any worries or preconceptions about “not getting it” disappear.


Foot Foot (2019) – LJ White

Spektral Quartet’s 2019-20 Season is generously supported by the following organizations. We are so very grateful for the support.

Earlier Event: July 25
'Fanm d'Ayiti' at Delaware Art Museum
Later Event: September 8
Norton Building Concert Series