November 12, 2014 Trioscapes – Digital Dream Sequence (Album Review)
Forget all elevator and dentist-office Jazz that has ever been heard. From here on out, the term Jazz is only to be used when describing musicians whose intrinsic web of precision illuminates an extremely under-appreciated genre. With the humble beginnings of a few guys wanting to give their take on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “Celestial Terrestrial Commuters”, Trioscapes was born. Founded in 2011 by Between The Buried And Me bassist Dan Briggs, Trioscapes has opened the porthole for a new generation of Jazz listeners. Releasing their sophomore album Digital Dream Sequence in August, members Walter Fancourt (tenor sax/flute) and Matt Lynch (drums) complete this band of baffling sound proportion.
Trioscapes made a solid name for themselves with 2012’s Separate Realities, recorded by longtime Between The Buried And Me producer Jamie King. The band’s first album soared to the #9 spot on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz and #12 on Billboard’s Current Jazz lists. After taking the #2 spot on iTunes’ Jazz charts, it was undeniable just how this morsel of unique sound effected listeners. If fans were lucky enough to catch Trioscapes on their Separate Realities supporting tour, they were treated to intimate venues and casual, down-to-earth band members.
It is with the release of Digital Dream Sequence that Trioscapes reveals an evolution of refined skill. The band desired a sophomore album which mirrored the intensity of their live shows: vivid slices of technical Jazz illusion. The meticulous molding began with producer Kris Hillbert and was mastered by the one and only Jamie King. Title track and beginning song, “Digital Dream Sequence” erupts in a mosaic bass line and piercing screech of the sax. Trudging a path of muddy-funk-bass, Fancourt follows along with pep and fervor. Frequently switching from quick, tight notes to long, drawn-out wails, the strike of the sax flows above the bass with a velocity that could only be matched by Briggs.
Residing within the shortest song on the album, “Stab Wounds” harbors a mighty symphony. The savage complexity of this song detonates each instrument into a further oblivion. In nearly four minutes’ time, a visceral battle of flute, sax and bass, fly between Briggs and Fancourt. Highlighted by Lynch’s impeccably timed hits, the trio assumes a permeating bludgeon to the ears. A final scream of the sax signals an end to the battle, with the notable victor being “Stab Wounds” as Digital Dream Sequence’s outstanding song.
Luring listeners in traditional Trioscapes form, “Hysteria” opens with a vicious carving of tangled notes. As quickly as Briggs and Fancourt opened the song, a slight decrease in tempo begins to fold each of the un-tamed notes into place. Much like its title, “Hysteria” seems to reflect a disconnect with reality: beginning with inhuman speed, simmering into a mellow brook towards the middle, and ending spectacularly with those fiercely knotted notes. An exhaled “whew” from a band member is barely audible at the very end of the song, giving perspective to how challenging their material is to perform. While only a small reflection, it is that tiny exhausted exhale which reveals the immense dedication, stamina, and skill required to uphold the Trioscapes name.
Digital Dream Sequence leads by way of raw, unique, and innovative depictions of Jazz. Certainly not grandma’s Jazz, the intensity and detailed structure of Trioscapes forms a sound even grandma would enjoy. The complex nest of saxophone, flute, bass, and drums, leaves listeners cradled inside a whirlwind of shattered genre-standards. Enveloping elements of Classical, Metal, and Jazz, Trioscapes created an album whose definition supports performing sound: creating that which is beautiful in new terms and with the skill of a constant innovator. CrypticRock gives Digital Dream Sequence 4.5 out of 5 stars.