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Myriad3: Moons

Dave Wayne By

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Myriad3's third release, Moons follows very much in the vein of their first two, Tell (Alma Records, 2012) and The Where (Alma Records, 2014), yet there are subtle differences both in instrumentation and their approach to their material. In short, a lot of growth is evident when one compares Moons to its predecessors. Tell, recorded a scant 2 years after the trio's formation, is essentially a virtuosic acoustic jazz album: three young cats flexing their well-developed chops. The thing that made Tell so interesting was the high level of listening going on. This was the sound of three amazing musicians who were also supremely attuned to one another. The Where was essentially a continuation of Tell. A surfeit of high energy, tricky tunes; a smattering of electronics, an artsy, math-y medley / mashup of beloved jazz standards. Horn overdubs played by the trio's amazing drummer Ernesto Cervini. It was good, but it seemed as if the trio hadn't really thought this one through.

Electronics play a more pronounced role on Moons. While gizmo-generated sounds aren't the band's focus, they're clearly well- integrated into the band's overall sound. They're lurking in the background on "Skeleton Key" and "Unnamed Cells," but nowhere to be heard on "Sketch 8." Each of these tracks marry jazz and Philip Glass-like minimalism with an anthemic post-rock sensibility, much like Brian Haas and Matt Chamberlain did on their debut duo album Frames (Royal Potato Family / Kinnara Records, 2013). And this new stylistic / technological angle makes a difference for Myriad3.

Moons is clearly a more assured and stylistically mature album than its predecessors. Though there are plenty of convoluted compositional turns and high-energy interactions here—check out "Counter of the Cumulus," "Noyammas" and "Brother Dom" for some fascinating thematic adventures and hot improv activity—there are also moments of beautiful emptiness. "Stoner," for instance, is a gently undulating melody that rises and falls unhurriedly. Here, the guys clearly value the spaces between the notes. The same goes for the title track. Despite its more pronounced electronic input, the trio behaves more like a mini-orchestra; carefully managing dark and light, balancing timbres and sonic weights.

For those less enamored of newfangled gadgets and genre-busting compositional activities, "Peak Fall," "Ameliasburg," and "Exhausted Clock" nod fondly to those days when piano trios played acoustic jazz, albeit that brainy, harmonically-advanced impressionistic style à la Bill Evans. Most fetching is "Ameliasburg," an all too brief and incredibly wistful melody of Satie-esque delicacy and richness imbued with a chill-inducing depth of feeling. More, please.

Track Listing: Skeleton Key; Noyammas; Unnamed Cells; Storner; Peak Fall; Counter Of The Cumulus; Ameliasburg; Sketch 8; Moons; Brother Dom; Exhausted Clock.

Personnel: Chris Donnelly: piano, synth; upright bass, fretless, synth; Ernesto Cervini: drums, glockenspiel.

Title: Moons | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Alma Records


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