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Ergo: As subtle as tomorrow

Glenn Astarita By

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The premise for this album is based on a succinct Emily Dickenson poem, As Subtle as Tomorrow with the verse allocated to the individual track titles. Subtle is an adjective that parallels the trio's chief mode of operations. The band's muse is nestled somewhere within an existential progressive jazz format, layered with ambient-electronic treatments and hearty doses of improv. They also interlace minimalist sojourns, partly due to pianist's Sam Harris' harmonically driven ostinato phrasings. Thus, appealing melodies often serve as a recurring dynamic along with themes that seemingly spring out of nothingness, abetted by Bret Sroka's moody trombone lines and Shawn Baltazor's perceptive drumming techniques.

The trio's byzantine approach to composition is quietly penetrating via steady buildups and free rein type bridge movements, saturated with intriguing dialogues and ethereal background effects. "As subtle" is executed with a fragile motif and eerie backdrops, summoning lucid imagery of being frozen in time. However, "That never came" casts an up-tempo vista, concocted with an asymmetrical pulse and Harris' circular patterns, laying the foundation for bizarre electronics permutations. Here, Sroka uses a mute which is a facet that underscores his wistful phrasings, subsequently peppered by Harris' climactic notes.

The final piece "a name," features blossoming choruses, dappled by the drummer's toms and cymbals shadings, and etched by the pianist's trance-like clusters and a looping hook, topped off by Sroka's intricately devised improvisational maneuvers. Yet the band closes out with a crashing opus. Indeed, the artists use depth and space as an accelerator and craft a singular group-centric sound amid a stylization that crosses copious musical frontiers.

Track Listing: as tomorrow; A warrant; As subtle; That never came; a conviction; Yet but; a name.

Personnel: Brett Sroka: trombone, computer; Sam Harris: piano, prepared-piano, Rhodes electric piano; Shawn Baltazor: drums.

Title: As subtle as tomorrow | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records


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