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Attacca Quartet, 'Real Life'

While steeped in the tradition of Haydn and Beethoven, the musicians of the versatile, Grammy-winning Attacca Quartet have transformed themselves into an electronica-dance-ambient string quartet for their new album, Real Life. The title track, with its pulsating, manic energy, blurs electronic and acoustic sounds, forces your body to move and, in effect, asks the question: What can and should a classical string quartet be doing in the 21st century? This curveball of an album, the band's first on a big label (Sony Classical), may be polarizing for both purists and poptimists. Still, it demands attention.

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Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.