Exhilarating and persistently captivating the debut album from Trioscapes is quite simply stunning. Separate Realities leaves thoughts and senses aflame with a creativity and technical skill that incites the fullest and most eager connections and responses. A combination of 70s fusion with progressive rock the release is a cultured yet seemingly instinctive and raw creature which stirs up feelings and conjures an infection that runs deep.
Trioscapes is the union of bassist Dan Briggs (Between the Buried and Me), Walter Fancourt (tenor saxophone/flute), and Matt Lynch (drums, electronics). The band came about when in the summer of last year Briggs contacted Fancourt with the idea of reworking the classic Mahavishnu Orchestra track Celestial Terrestrial Commuters. With other ideas formed as well the band played an one off intended live show but such the fun from that and the demands the music asked of them that they decided to stick with it as an ongoing project. October 2011 saw them entering a studio with Jamie King in Winston-Salem, N Carolina and from the other side stepped forth Separate Realities.
Released via Metal Blade Records the album is a burly yet concentrated animal, a primitive but distinctly technical and imaginative entity that can snarl or whisper in the ear and disrupt or induce rapture within the senses. The instrumental soundscapes the trio bring forth are living breathing pieces which define their own path and effectiveness within each individual. They invite and manipulate with a catchy engagement and openly startling concoctions that for many will lead to the nearest exit but for a great many more will incite an infectiously keen willingness to immerse further within the excited but composed progressive invention. Predominantly just tenor sax, bass and drums with a few extras and distortions, each track is a full and powerful slice of sound and energy.
The first song Blast Off explores the ear first lifting one into giddy heights to leave a shortness of breath whilst clasping the thrilling unpredictability tightly to the chest. Initially coming over as a jazz led piece it spreads into a wider soak of sounds laced with a funk pulse and hypnotic drive pierce with ventures from an exhaustive scuzzy bass and flaunting warm sax. It is the gnarly bass moments of Briggs that steal the already staggering show; his play much more of a brewing coarse primal energy and sound than in his day job.
The title track next steps into view and immediately lifts a strong start to Separate Realities to a higher plain. It niggles and persuades the senses to open up even more before filling them with a composition that looks into the chaotic jaws of indulgence but never steps in. With tight aggression coupled with a humour through slithers of cartoon moments, the track is a compulsive siren, a bewitching pulsating and agitated piece of brilliance. The sax of Fancourt assumes the face of the song whilst the bass of Briggs the blood and veins which bring heart and depth. With the excellent rhythms and creativity of Lynch the bones and framework all wraps around it is a mighty and deeply pleasing piece of ingenuity.
The more muscular Curse Of The Ninth with scorched melodies from the sax of Fancourt sparking against the prowling antagonistic bass of Briggs offers another varied and different adventure. Blending in further variations of sound it is an emotive and flavoursome track which plays with light and dark with the surest of touch. The closing lighter and dazzling Gemini’s Descent also offers up a distinctly unique palate to lay inspired thoughts and feelings upon, its peaceful and imaginative land a bubbling aural forest.
Wazzlejazzlebof was the one track which it was hard to fully engage with though the more time spent with it the closer one becomes. For the only time on Separate Realities it felt like the band had strolled in to improv and at times its meanderings missed the mark though at other moments it unerringly found the spot.
With the excellent Celestial Terrestrial Commuters included, the reinterpretation by Trioscapes a more chilled and less intimidating version than the original, Separate Realities is a masterful and voracious pleasure. It will not be for everyone as a whole though there is something for all tastes enjoying adventure and intriguing melodic enterprise. Hopefully Trioscapes will continue creating and thrilling as special does not truly cover the experience inside of Separate Realities.