Review by Gary Cordwell
Release date: 19 August 2014
Right, let’s get the formalities out of the way and focus on what’s important here. Trioscapes are Dan Briggs (bass), Walter Fancourt (tenor sax/flute) and Matt Lynch (drums) and ‘Digital Dream Sequence’ is their second album. Done. There also won’t be much talk of genres or styles or influences cos none of that matters either. What matters is this music.
The first thing that hits you is the sound – huge, deep and warm – very live sounding. And then the complexity. The band has had 2 years together to play and jam together since their hastily created debut album (reviewed here) and it shows. This is the sound of a band that is supremely confident of their abilities. Their sense of telepathy has matured and their playing is utterly fearless, they can go anywhere together and they know it.
There are keyboards and hints of electronica but there are also snippets of what sound like other instruments – guitars, xylophones, whalesong effects – but it seems to be all just three guys who can make their respective instruments sound like almost anything! Although you soon stop trying to figure out who’s doing what and just wallow in it.
The shorter, heavier songs are immense exercises in groove and intensity. ‘Stab Wounds’ is just a fuzzy, funky mofo! It would be more jazz funk than rock if it weren’t for the dirt on those bass strings! It’s sleazy jazz flute almost makes it sound like a metal Lalo Schifrin theme… a soundtrack to a long forgotten Blaxploitation nasty, if such things exist. Heaviness again abounds in ‘Hysteria’ whose urgency borders on the chaotic, although it never crosses the line, these guys are too good for that. The song ends on a ludicrously heavy high – the sound of every amplified instrument in the world trying to squeeze through a small hole!
The longer tracks both seem to have a slight African/desert foundation and are slightly more relaxed. The music flows freely, the band sliding in and out of the limelight like a tag team. A short flute interlude reminds you of Tubular Bells while another minimal pulse sounds like an early John Carpenter soundtrack. The musicianship has a mercurial fluidity, they’re out there on their own, playing by their own rules. It’s restless – motifs morph into slightly different things, different configurations, lighter, heavier, quirkier.
It would be too easy to offer up a soundbite (“Mingus meets Meshuggah”) but this deserves much more than that! This is a BAND – a band who listen, play, talk and fucking groove! A band that make real, organic, living MUSIC – song titles are virtually irrelevant, just listen to it in one sitting. The production, as already mentioned, is stunning. Wherever they go, whatever they do (and there isn’t much they can’t do) that rich, deep, dirty organic sound is there. This is music that breathes. It occupies – it has weight, depth, soul. You can chill out or rock out to it, depending upon how you want to listen to it.
This has to be one of my albums of the year. Yes, I have a review copy on my phone but I will be first in line on release day shelling out for a physical copy that I can put in my car and listen to very loudly while driving. Fast. In the dark. Feeding my soul, and I suggest you do the same.
9 out of 10
- Digital Dream Sequence
- Stab Wounds
- From The Earth To The Moon
- The Jungle