Review by Jason Guest
Founded by Between The Buried And Me bassist, Dan Briggs, and completed by saxophonist/flutist Walter Fancourt and drummer Matt Lynch, Trioscapes was put together for a one-off show, but such was the strength of the material that they decided to make an album. As decisions go, this was definitely a wise one, to say the least.
‘Blast Off’ opens with a rapid riff that runs up and down an impossible scale that hops, skips and leaps across time signatures before settling into a groove that provides the foundation from upon which Trioscapes can define themselves as something more than just another fusion band. The roles of the instruments blur not just in the ever-shape shifting sonic aspect but in the funky groove too. When Briggs seamlessly moves from his groove into a solo and begins to weave many an intricate melodic web, Fancourt’s sax switches from primarily a lead instrument to become part of the rhythm section, providing a canvas of tones and timbres against which the bass and drums can move, groove and grind. Take the title track, a track that blends eastern sensibilities with an improvisational aspect and stretches it across eleven and a half minutes. This track could easily fall foul of self-indulgence and run aground very quickly, but between them, Trioscapes have managed to marry musical knowledge with technique and, most importantly, a knowing when the instruments should be allowed to sing, when to support, and when to get back to the almighty groove.
‘Curse of the Ninth’ is coloured by Fancourt’s flute and Lynch’s electronics, both refreshing touches that add an intriguing dimension to the experimental/improvised nature of the album. ‘Wazzlejazzlebof’ trips, stumbles, and collapses its way through odd time signatures and juddering melodies before opening up the floor for Briggs’ and Lynch’s rhythm section to blend with Fancourt and the band to again bring in all kinds of disparate, discordant, and discerning sounds. The Mahavishnu Orchestra cover, ‘Celestial Terrestrial Commuters’ – the track that brought the band together – stays faithful to the original, the band adding their own signature to the track in their lead work and subtle flourishes. And closer ‘Gemini’s Descent’ is just breath-taking and worth the asking price alone.
Forget about what a bass is supposed to do, and saxophone for that matter. And while you’re at it, you might as well give up on whatever notion you had about drums too. On Separate Realities, Trioscapes do all of the stuff that a fusion band are supposed to: Briggs’s bass grooves and wails like Jaco Pastorius; Lynch’s drum’s drive the songs, his flourishes adding a wave of colour to each track; and Fancourt’s sax parps its way through many an eccentric melody and wraps itself around many an esoteric scale. Trioscapes can do what any experimental/jazz/fusion band can do and they can do it very well. But when Trioscapes allow their own voice to come to the fore, that’s when they get interesting. Fortunately for us, that makes up about 95% of this album.
9 out of 10
Want to find out more about Trioscapes? Click here for Jason’s interview with bassist Dan Briggs
- Blast Off
- Separate Realities
- Curse Of The Ninth
- Celestial Terrestrial Commuters
- Gemini’s Descent