posted August 20th, 2019

Fresh off his acclaimed solo album Fountain Fire (out earlier this year), Bill MacKay is back to harmonic atom-splitting with all six of his guitar strings in this new collaboration with cellist Katinka Kleijn---entitled STIR.

Both accomplished musicians in their own right (Bill is a guitarist-composer-songwriter, whom any Drag City fan will surely recognize and Katinka is a cellist and veteran of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, among others), STIR marks their first collaboration that's been put to wax! Over the past seven years, MacKay and Kleijn have used live performance to build their chemistry into a surprising, organic density, with sharply-etched colors drawn from avant-rock, folk, jazz classical and experimental music. It is at once an unlikely and perfect pairing as both musicians are known not only for their chops, but for their creativity, curiosity and range. Together they form a fluid, intuitive, and improvisational pair.   

STIR is centered on a series of MacKay's compositions, partially inspired by Hermann Hesse's novel Steppenwolf. You can try following along with the book, but don't expect any Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz-type moments! The repetition and expansion of themes within borrows from the chamber music world, while the distortions, free play, and edge of much of the work clearly draws from the duo's avant leanings.
Watch the video for the first single "Hermine" above and reserve your LP/CD copy for October 11th. 

9/28/19 Hyde Park Jazz Festival Chicago IL
11/8/19 Elastic Arts Chicago IL Record Release Celebration
11/9/19 Trumpet Blossom Cafe Iowa City IA

Artists in this story: Bill MacKay, Bill MacKay and Katinka Kleijn