Sunday, August 11, 2019

Trigger - Pull (Shhpuma, 2019)

The title may be cringe-worthy for Americans after the past few weeks, but this album is just too good to ignore. Trigger is an uncategorizable band featuring Will Greene on electric guitar, Simon Hanes on electric bass and Aaron Edgcomb on drums. They fell into John Zorn’s orbit, playing some of his original works and compositions, and then re-combining to form their own group which mashes up hyper kinetic jazz fusion, prog or math rock and experimental composition and improvisation into a very impressive and cohesive whole. The epic “Lockjaw” opens the album, with the group showing their chops by playing outrageously fast, building an intricate and explosive blend which may creak and groan at times but always bursts back to life under the weight of scalding drumming and guitar playing. Shifting rhythms and heroic clusters of beats keep the music from being a slog with the bass modulating up and slithering like a snake being chased by the drums and the snarling guitar overhead. Coded messages within the music broaden the sound and keep the overall approach mysterious and strange even when the trio is playing at their most over the top and outrageous. “Whiplash” throws a feint in the beginning, with some trippy dub like mixing, before then tossing everything into a blender, melding electronics like an out of control numbers station being crushed by pummeling drums. This sets up a wild and deep improvisation that goes way out into the open. The bass and drums team up, hitting hard as the guitar throws up sparks all around them, as their all out collective improvisation gradually slows down and returns to Earth. A scattered opening is quickly pulled together on “Gun Pharmacy,” with tough drums taking an active solo framed by the occasional electronic grind or spurt. The music coalesces in a proggy soup, building to a mind melding electronic stew with drums that grow more sharp and focused by the second. Sounds become a serrated and jagged improvisation with a steely edge where taut bass and drums engage flinty guitar in a stoic collective improvisation, building faster and stronger, flexing the muscular power and single minded and relentless drive that makes this music so impressive, finally building to a singularity and dissolving into silence. This album worked very well, and despite its violent connotations, there’s actually much more depth and complexity here than meets the eye. All three musicians have worked in a wide variety of settings and they bring this experience as well as a deep seated commitment to freedom and desire to explore to this project. Pull -

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