Monday, October 30, 2017

Borderlands Trio - Asteroidea (Intakt Records, 2017)

Borderlands Trio is a very interesting new group featuring Stephan Crump on acoustic bass, Kris Davis on piano and Eric McPherson on drums. The album was recorded in December of 2016, in Queens, New York City, and it starts out in an audacious fashion with the twenty-six and a half minute track "Borderlands" which begins with cool percussive piano and bowed bass. The drums and percussion slide in and conjoins with the bass which is both bowed and plucked as the performance develops, deepening and allowing more resonant sounds to come to the forefront. The group plays with great nuance and subtlety, creating space for the music to take both form and freedom as it develops, and allowing for the use of prepared piano throughout the evolution of the performance which helps the trio develop a unique feel of a percussive ensemble as they use varying types of rhythm throughout their improvisation. Davis uses fast shards of sound that develops into a creative mixture of different forms or styles of piano, played both inside and outside the instrument. The group is able to repeat a hypnotic percussive pattern like some kind of progressive musical number station. The remainder of the album is composed of shorter pieces, which continue the percussive nature of the music and continues the group's willingness to take risks and playing the totality of their chosen instruments which makes tracks like "Clockwork" and "Ocre" so memorable. They are able to develop a wide ecology or ecosystem of sounds, and react and improvise with them in real time, mixing tenderness and strength, and presenting a mysterious performance that is very attractive to listeners. The name of this group is apt, because they do investigate the borders in their music, whether that is between composition and improvisation, volume and silence, or darkness and light. This is a true trio, and everyone uses their energies to further the greater whole, making for a memorable and thoughtful album. Asteroidea - amazon.com

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