Album Review: Separate Realities by Trioscapes

How to describe this record, hmm.  OK, Trioscapes, a band made up 3 insanely talented musician (Dan Briggs of BTBAM on bass, Walter Fancourt on saxophone and flute, and Matt Lynch on drums and electronics) that play a fun and crazy form of psychedelic jazz fusion progressive metal on their debut record Separate Realities.  The record sounds like if you were to take Frank Zappa, Rush, late 70’s early 80’s era King Crimson, some famous jazz fusion artist I don’t know, BTBAM, and Primus and put them in a blender with a ton of happy pills.  The results come out something quite unique and very refreshing.  From front to back there is never a dull moment in the time melding assaults and groove laden jazz freakouts.  If you’re looking for something upbeat and different to listen to, I have a feeling you will be loving this record, especially if you are a prog fan.

From the get go the band blasts off with the opener “Blast Off”.  The sax immediately builds the melody and the complex bass lines and even more complex drumming create a great sense of speed and excitement that carries out throughout the track.  Within some time some tonal distortion is added to the instruments to allow them to achieve some crazy sounds and colors.  While there is use of electronic distortions the band never over uses them completely maintains the organic feel of the 3 instruments and that great use of knowing when to use some outside help pervades throughout the whole record.  While the song uses a heavy progressive structure the band sticks with certain motifs and their repetition really helps the tune stick in you head but the different ways in which the play them allow it to never become boring, again, another thing that pervades through the entire 6 track album.

“Separate Realities” is a nice spacy tune that kicks off with a great Primus inspired intro.  The hard-hitting bass and furious drumming that eventually kicks in give the song a nice heavy metal feel that all metal heads will sure to appreciate.  The metal feel that you get isn’t from the traditional way you might think, but is an exploration from a different avenue exploring more the groove aspects of the genre.  This exploration really shows how closely united metal and jazz are.  Bits of xylophone are scattered throughout and bring about that goofy Frank Zappa feeling as well as one saxophone section in particular at 7:23 where everything sounds like a hallucinated circus spiraling out of control.  Dan Briggs bass spot on this tune is great also and is one of the few bassist who can really pull of highly melodious bass solos like he does.

“Curse of the Ninth” introduces the jazz flute and beside the odd timed and frantic drumming and spiraling bass lines, it keeps the tune nice and laid back.  The use of some electronic keys give a nice outer space feel and when the tune kicks into full gear it feel like you are living in one of those trippy computer music visualizers.  Special shout outs to Matt Lynch’s drumming on this track for being able to create some crazy patterns and even odder time signatures and use them so expertly giving the song such a smooth and great flow.  You also really hear that King Crimson influence on this track, and that is always a good thing as you don’t often hear that 80’s style Crimson much in modern music nowadays.

“Wazzlejazzlebof” is another track where it’s naming really fits the tune well.  Tons of odd times and lazy melodies make this one of the most psychedelic songs on the record.  The odd sections float seamlessly into and out of sections where the tune sounds ‘sloppy’ to being nice and neat and tidy keeping you on the edge of your toes the whole listen.  I particularly like the ‘metal breakdown’ heard toward the closing couple minutes of the tune.  Again, not enough can be said about Matt Lynch’s drumming on this track.

“Celestial Terrestrial Commuters”, a cover of a tune originally by The Mahavishnu Orchestra, has a great funk feel to it and brings the feel of the Father of Funk, George Clinton’s style into the mix.  Walter Fancourt’s sax playing has a great disco feel to it and really gives the tune a nice and bright sound.  The drumming keeps things nice and fast and interesting and the bass builds crazy thick grooves that only the dead would not feel compelled to move to.  All in all, I have to say I prefer this bass heavy cover to the already excellent original and Trioscapes really goes and makes this great tune their own while staying true to the original.

The record closes with “Gemini’s Descent” with great fashion.  The building, layered intro create a gorgeous tribal and spacy soundscape and the excellent flute playing of Walter Fancourt makes a return.  Through the whole track the serpentine bass line will forever keep you in dreamland even when, about half way through the distortion on the bass kicks in and transforms the tune from a nice floating track to thunder before leading back out into the calm.

Separate Realities is a record I recommend to all lovers of music.  If you are a fan of prog or jazz you will most likely get the most out of this release as will those that are more versed in music theory than I (I can tell you there are some damn complex things going on throughout the whole album, but what they are, well, I’ll be damned if I know what to call ’em, but I likes ’em).  The musicianship is beyond phenomenal as well as the instrumentation.  While crazy complex, listening to this record will never go above an average listeners head and always maintains a great good time feeling, so in the end everybody wins.  This is a great debut, and even though it is a side experiment for the 3 musicians, I really hope that they find some time in their busy schedules to team up again for some more fusion jazz metal and I hope the name power of this band really helps bring this genre to the forefront a bit more so more similarly styled bands can get their names out there.  Peace Love and Metal!!!

About RiffRaff

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on June 4, 2012, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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