Dystil: Dystil

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Dystil: Dystil
Three young and imaginative NY-based musicians execute this abstract mission with a sense of purpose. Via the press release on the Clean Feed website, "the trio Dystil propose their debut CD as an imaginary film, with the purpose to turn their dreams into realities." And while the CD clocks in at a scanty 29 ½ minutes, there's more than enough to sink your mind's eye into from start-to-finish.

All the musicians multitask by incorporating unidentified objects, which can loom as a guessing game for listeners, but that's part of the fun. However, the trio binds these off- centered works into pieces that output tangible results. The imaginary movie aspect is in full-force, as they weave background effects into airy free-jazz workouts evidenced on "One in the Age of None," where skittish movements are apt to jolt your nervous system, followed by a mellow three-way dialogue.

"2017s Containers" is constructed with Bryan Qu's drifting and spirited alto sax lines, Mark Ballyk's rolling percussion and Quincy Mayes' flourishing off-key piano voicings that provide an interesting contrast, especially when bizarre soundscapes are introduced. For the most part, the artists are in no rush to get from point A to point B. And that's a winning formula since it allows for the absorption of the inner-workings, progressions and micro-themes that are often spacious, delicate or jaggedly flowing.

And while the trio's experimental proclivities offer a great source of interest, melody-making often formulates within subtle choruses and ethereal backwashes or slowly assembled mini-motifs. Yet Ballyk goes for the gusto during his extended breakout on "Surge Toward Untruths." Shortly into the proceedings, he multitasks above Mayes' effectively placed, yet simple piano chords that act like a metronome. Here, Ballyk launches a breakneck polyrhythmic drumming escapade while also hitting small cymbals, metal objects and other implements. But the ninth act (song) in the imaginary movie is "Afterward's Horizon (If It Ever Comes)," which is a haunting ambient-minimalist tone poem, streaked with low-pitch noises that sound like an electronics device.

The brief running-time of the CD is akin to a short film that may drive your imagination into mysterious environs. So, get the popcorn ready and listen closely as your psyche delves into a modified state of consciousness.

Track Listing

Imaginary Film; One in the Age of None; Ink Pots; Obligatory Post-Neverdom; 2017s Containers; Dreamingmatrices; Hollowed Hope; Surge Toward Untruths; Afterward's Horizon (If It Ever Comes); Exhale_Softseq; Warm Grey Meadow.


Bryan Qu: alto saxophone, objects; Quincy Mayes: piano, objects; Mark Ballyk: percussion, voice, objects.

Album information

Title: Dystil | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Blessings and Blues
Neil Gonsalves Trio
Socially Distanced Duos
Jeff Pearring/Pearring Sound
Matthew Shipp / Whit Dickey
Rachel Musson
Invisible Words
Falkner Evans
Bob Mintzer & WDR Big Band Cologne
Another Land
Dave Holland


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.