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VARIATIONS

Artist: Trichotomy

Date of Release: 25/01/2010

Catalogue no: 1441

Label: NAIM

Price: £12

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

 

Island of the Sun

6.25

2

 

At the right moment

10.13

3

listen

Branching out

5.21

4

 

start

7.08

5

listen

Ascent

8.56

6

listen

Variations on a bad day

7.38

7

listen

Chunk

3.09

8

 

Please

5.16

9

 

The Unknown

6.30

10

 

labyrinth

4.14

 

 

 

 

Recorded in two sessions at the ABC studios in Melbourne with master engineer Mal Stanley, VARIATIONS is a collection of high energy works with varied melodic and rhythmic landscapes. The relaxed of structure Foran and Parker’s intimate songwriting decorated by the group’s spontaneous musicality creates some very special moments on this captivating record. Vastly dynamic the trio stretches from subtle ballads ‘please’ and ‘ascent’ to dense ferocious tracks ‘chunk’, ‘the unknown’ and ‘Variations on a bad day’.Highlighting the trio are guest artists Peter Knight – trumpet and Laurence English – electronics, in Foran’s “Ascent”. Strings and sax from the Brisbane avant-garde group “topology” add glorious sounds to Parker’s “Start”, making this more than just a trio record.“A fine example of contemporary music in various tempos, incorporating a range of moods and drawing extensively on diverse classical references fused with 21st century jazz ideas” – THE AUSTRALIAN.
"Sometimes the band offers 21st-century updates on a bright, dancing, Chick Corea-like lyricism: sometimes a fierce improv edge deploying Patrick Marchisella's electronically distorted acoustic bass; sometimes a tumbling hard-bop piano approach but over a castanet-like chatter; sometimes plucked-strings musings. These three make the resources of the conventional piano trio go a long way." - 4 STARS - THE GUARDIAN

 

Reviews

 

25/01/2010 BBC Music

Yet another jazz piano trio enters the fray. As Trichotomy are arriving from Australia, they can immediately be compared to The Necks, fellow countrymen of a slightly different bent. There are stretches of abstraction or repetition in Variations that might call to mind the completely improvised approach of The Necks, but Trichotomy also possess an old-school interest in lyrical expression, in the manner of pianists John Taylor or Bobo Stenson.
It also happens that Trichotomy have been playing together since 1999, when they were studying at the Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane. This rules out any accusations of marketplace opportunism. Pianist Sean Foran, bassist Patrick Marchisella and drummer John Parker had been steadily performing and releasing albums in Australia as Misinterprotato, but have now been reincarnated as Trichotomy for their fresh UK existence on the Naim label.
The media, and perhaps the jazz audience itself, feels the need to fill the void created by Esbjörn Svensson's tragically premature passing in 2008. Indeed, there are several pieces on this album that directly evoke the sound of E.S.T., with Marchisella's upright bass plugged into a screamingly distorted effects box. Trichotomy have a propellant, linear forcefulness, but can frequently shift into a tranquil spaciousness. The emphatic bass, tumbling drums and a piano that maintains some kind of fixity recalls the internal relationships of The Bad Plus, leading US proponents of this format. There's also a song-like progression to At the Right Moment that recalls the hymnal quality of Norwegian Tord Gustavsen, but with a melody not unlike one of Neil Cowley's creations.
Branching Out has a fast footfall theme, purposeful ripples made until they magnify into a quicksilver pounding. Dynamism and dramatics are this threesome's strength. They manage to merge minimalism and folksiness during Start, with piano strings semi-prepared to create metallic rumblings, and a guest trumpeter lending delicate traceries to a tentative painting. Variations on a Bad Day dives into rhythmic jumpiness, dark tones pacing with intent as the fuzz bass hikes into overdrive, and there's a full Soft Machine-ist eruption on Chunk – or are those harsh angularities arriving out of the King Crimson cosmos?
Despite all of these evocative comparisons to their fellow piano trios (and beyond), the composite end-result is something that can be called Trichotomy's own. The album is aptly titled, as Variations are constantly being made, with a versatility that produces a new band style, drawn from many quarters.

 

21/01/2010 The Guardian - John Fordham

The EST and Bad Plus connections are pretty clear in the music of this decade-old Australian trio, but the compositions of pianist Sean Foran and drummer John Parker impart a lot of character to its take on contemporary fusion, and it shares with both of its major models a group ability to shift seamlessly between structures and - spontaneity. Trichotomy's early enthusiasm for fellow-Australian band the Necks is also apparent in a fondness for lengthy pulsating one-note patterns and the subtle animation it injects into the most spacious and slow-moving episodes. The fast Latin pulse of the opening track, with its flowing piano lines over an intricate left-hand - repeat and abruptly hushed and dreamy countermelody exploits the Bad Plus's appealing jump-cut style, as does the following slow floater with its Jarrett-like piano upsurge midway. A violin, viola and sax offer a caressing contrast over an ostinato and a snappy groove on the fourth track, as does Peter Knight's Arve Henriksen/late-Miles trumpet later on. Sometimes the band offers 21st-century updates on a bright, dancing, Chick Corea-like lyricism: sometimes a fierce improv edge deploying Patrick Marchisella's electronically distorted acoustic bass; sometimes a tumbling hard-bop piano approach but over a castanet-like chatter; sometimes plucked-strings musings. These three make the resources of the conventional piano trio go a long way.

 

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