Slipstream to perform on campus

Michael Semmerl

UW Oshkosh Department of Music will present a guest recital of the quartet Slipstream, a new music group consisting of guitar, piano, saxophone and percussion March 17. Dan Reifsteck, who plays percussion for Slipstream, said the group formed back in 2014 at Lawrence University after being inspired by a song written by Louis Andriessen. “I was recommended by one of my teachers to play a piece called Hout, this really crazy challenging piece where we’re all playing the same thing, except we’re a sixteenth-note off of each other,” Reifsteck said. According to Ilan Blanck, the guitarist for Slipstream, Reifsteck and him played in a big band together, and the pianist and I played in a smaller, classically oriented group. They met under a varity of musical circumstances. According to Reifsteck, shortly after forming, they had the idea of doing a commissioning project where they ask composers to write pieces for them to perform. “We’ve been lucky enough to have encountered a bunch people who write really great music,and a lot of them are our friends that we’ve known through school around here,” Blanck said. According to Joe Connor, the saxophonist for Slipstream, being able to work on a piece with friends creates a much more personal feeling. “There’s much more back and forth, and not just something that is delivered to us,” Connor said. Reifsteck said John Mayrose, one of the professors at UWO, wrote a piece for them, and he wrote the piece called “Slipstream.” According to Blanck, Slipstream combines a multitude of different musical elements into their sound, as well as displays a wide array of influences. “I feel like this group in particular is definitely fun when you put funk guitar, and bluegrass guitar, and jazz, and rock, and then all the classical training that we’ve had through the conservatory here and putting all that together into something,” Reifsteck said. “I feel like it creates a really compelling sound.” According to Blanck, they are trying to find out what their genre is. It draws a lot of rhythms from modern jazz and contemporary classical music. “We aren’t quite classical, and we aren’t quite rock, and we aren’t a free jazz ensemble,” Reifsteck said. “I really think that this music is sort of just trying to dance around all these different genres and avoid trying to set ourselves down into one set label.” According to Reifsteck, Slipstream has been getting into a lot more improvisation, and one of the tracks on their new EP, is one-hundred percent improvised. “For Northland, we really didn’t have any sort of parameters set up,” Reifsteck said. “We just said ‘Lets do something that feels like Wisconsin, Winter, Northland, sort of themed,’ and this is just what we came up with.” According to Blanck, improvising can be influenced in many ways, including someone’s overall mood or emotions. He said some of his favorite moments are when a bunch of people stop and take their own moment. “We’ll be playing, and then suddenly, we’re in this entirely different place,” Connor said while discussing Slipstream’s improvisation. Slipstream recently recorded a four track EP, titled “Northland.” According to Blanck, physical copies of the EP will be available at their show on Thursday. Slipstream’s performance in Oshkosh will feature songs off of their EP, some improvisation, as well as their original inspiration, Hout. “We’ve been trying to branch ourselves outside of the conservatory here,” said Reifsteck. “I feel like the UW Oshkosh crowd really enjoys thoughtful music that’s performed at a high level.” Connor said the group has a lot of fun on stage, and he said audiences are always receptive to the music they perform. Slipstream has recently played at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Chicago. According to Reifsteck, Eighth Blackbird invited them. They are a chamber ensemble based in Chicago. “We’re trying to continue this tradition of chamber music of having composers write for you and really being master interpreters as much as we can be,” Reifsteck said. “But [the band is] also trying to expand our repertoire in our own way with our own voices, whether that’s through composing as an ensemble, composing individually, or just improvising and trying to create music in the moment.”