”...you go so far as go back to the drawing board. You could have spent just a little more time getting things in tune and just – pastiche, pastiche, pastiche. We’ve heard it before. Yeah, it’s post-modern, yeah it’s histor-chic, a lot of irony. I mean, c’mon. Say something. Say something other than – I don’t know. I’m not the musical genius, you are!” Okay, that is the first track.
The rest of In 3’s eponymous debut is an ambitious collection of musical vignettes that leaves you interested but uncomfortable. When these talented young men discover how music fits for them (rather than the other way around), you will surely be in for an aural treat.
All three musicians bring distinctive skills and sounds to the holistic movement. Shawn Killaly’s drumming inspires visions of his playing while we are hearing it (this is especially interesting as he has performed in musical theatre); Kristian Naso’s trumpet work dwells on the resonance of notes well selected; Alvaro Rojas anchors funk and rhythm in the groove of this record.
In 3’s has ascendant moments. ”Assume the Position” contrasts a harsh guitar sound with jazz trumpet phrasing. Wow: different. ”Snaggletooth” is best heard after zipping yourself on a triple espresso: its blues, funk and electronics simmer with indecision. Still, this song would flourish live. Good on the band for letting it stretch to seven minutes. ”El Commandante” contains the most established mood in the repertoire. One begins to settle into the vibe, acutely aware that the group could shake us from it in the next moment. Thrilling? Or upsetting? That depends on how you look at abrupt change.
Producers Gordon Breckenridge, Brodie Smith and Bryan Seely had their hands full with the fusion of such diverse musical voices. They delivered a mix that shows both the challenges and rewards of such a daunting task.
”Problems with Polyester” continues In 3’s desire to keep listeners in a groove of irregular time signature and affected guitar. Kristian Naso’s trumpet work reminds us that this is jazz by keeping the melodies and solos in a cleaner context than the accompaniment.
So a journey begins and we can only hope that Vancouver’s In 3’s will reunite to better fuse its disparate musical perspectives. In 3’s is best valued as an experiment in musical frameworks, not as a finished product of that experiment. May we all spend our time this constructively.
Personnel: Shawn Killaly (acoustic and electric drums); Kristian Naso (trumpet, keyboards); Alvaro Rojas
(guitar, bass and chapman stick).