All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

116

Matthew Shipp Trio: Elastic Aspects

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Even with a discography amassing over 40 releases under his own name, pianist Matthew Shipp continues to justify the plaudits. Sometimes it can be hard to find new things to say about artists who have been active over such a lengthy period, but Shipp keeps ringing the changes to provide talking points. Unlike the stellar live double-disc Art of the Improviser (Thirsty Ear, 2011), Elastic Aspects is a studio outing featuring the pianist's trio of bassist Michael Bisio alongside longstanding drummer Whit Dickey. Whereas Shipp tends to merge pieces into a single set-long cascade onstage, here the program comprises a sequence of short interlinked tracks, with varying instrumental permutations. It is a successful format thoroughly tested on earlier albums such as Strata (Hatology, 1998) and Magnetism (Bleu Regard, 1999), producing the effect of a cohesive suite.

Shipp's trio forms an immensely talented unit. As ever, Bisio stuns with his bracing bottom end and fertile imagination, adroitly switching between lead, counterpoint and support. Shipp sounds like no-one else, with a style characterized by abrupt contrasts of crystalline delicacy rubbing shoulders with dissonant depth charges and insistent circular motifs. Supporting everything is Dickey's dexterous but undemonstrative rhythmic foundation—notable in itself, given his undoubted prowess and string of compelling albums under his own name in the early to mid-2000s.

In an audacious move, Shipp doesn't play at all on the opening "Alternative Aspects" which is given over to the bassist's deeply resonant elemental bowing, accompanied by gongs and cymbals evocative of some arcane ritual. Even the following "Aspects," for Shipp alone, clocks in at less than a minute. The four "Aspects" culminate in the title track, which pulls together elements arrayed previously, with Shipp recasting the theme to the accompaniment of rippling bass and eruptive cymbal splashes. All told, only six of the cuts feature the full trio, while there are three piano solos, one bass solo, a pair of bass and drum duets and a single bass and piano duet.

Other highlights include "Flow Chart," where Bisio's careering arco comes on like a caged animal fighting to escape the confines of Dickey's bursts of anchoring tattoo; "Raw Materials," which features a striking passage of chiming clarion notes from the leader bursting out of a courtly duet with Bisio's measured bass; the bassist's solo tour de force on "Rainforest"; and the final, episodic "Elastic Eye," revolving around a recurrent two note piano shout out. But even these peaks can be appreciated as just some of the standout episodes of a longer, richer whole. Shipp has waxed another winner.

Track Listing: Alternative Aspects; Aspects; Psychic Counterpart; Frame Focus; Flow Chart; Mute Voice; Explosive Aspects; Raw Materials; Rainforest; Stage 10; Dimension; Elastic Aspects; Elastic Eye

Personnel: Matthew Shipp: piano; Michael Bisio: bass; Whit Dickey: drums

Title: Elastic Aspects | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Thesis

Thesis

Matthew Shipp
Duos With Mat Maneri & Joe...

4D

4D

Matthew Shipp
4D

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Sonic Fiction

Sonic Fiction

ESP Disk
2018

buy
Symbol Systems

Symbol Systems

Hatology
2018

buy
Zero

Zero

ESP Disk
2018

buy
Magnetism(s)

Magnetism(s)

Rogue Art
2017

buy

Related Articles

Read Ancestros CD/LP/Track Review
Ancestros
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Bitter Suite CD/LP/Track Review
The Bitter Suite
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Ornettiquette CD/LP/Track Review
Ornettiquette
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Astral Revelations CD/LP/Track Review
The Astral Revelations
by John Sharpe
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Sound Of The Earth CD/LP/Track Review
The Sound Of The Earth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Return to the Future CD/LP/Track Review
Return to the Future
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 17, 2018
Read "Smart Grid" CD/LP/Track Review Smart Grid
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 16, 2018
Read "Power Of Love" CD/LP/Track Review Power Of Love
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "The Unrecorded Fox" CD/LP/Track Review The Unrecorded Fox
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 3, 2018
Read "That Doesn't Even Look Like You" CD/LP/Track Review That Doesn't Even Look Like You
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 6, 2017
Read "Karuna" CD/LP/Track Review Karuna
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 5, 2018
Read "Octopus" CD/LP/Track Review Octopus
by Don Phipps
Published: February 28, 2018