All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

196

Jeff Parker/Kevin Drumm/Michael Zerang: Out Trios Volume Two

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
When the most striking thing about an album is the packaging, you know you're in trouble. Music, at its best, should draw on a broad palette of colours, rather than being something that is starkly black and white, with nary the slightest shading of grey. Guitarists Jeff Parker and Kevin Drumm team up with percussionist Michael Zerang for Out Trios Volume Two , an album where the greatest variation in colour, for the most part, is found on the cover of the disc. And that's just not a great place to start.

Free music can be highly evocative. Atavistic's recent Out Trios Volume Three: Ash and Tabula by guitarist Nels Cline, keyboardist/accordionist Andrea Parkins and drummer Tom Rainey amply shows how music doesn't need to be cautious or work with a safety net to be effective in conveying a broad range of emotions. But what makes even the most outrageous spontaneous composition work is the element of communication, the feeling that the musicians are working together. Unfortunately, Parker, Drumm and Zerang, all strong proponents of the avant-garde side of improvised music, fail to create any sense of cohesion, save on the closing track, "Miss Big Meen," an ambient track that successfully creates a sense of tranquility, albeit with a certain element of foreboding.

The rest of the album is truly black and white. While the extended techniques used to draw out highly unusual sounds on the harmonically and rhythmically static "Lacerate" are academically intriguing, they do nothing to touch the soul. It is, in fact, this feeling of detachment and the impression that what we have here are three players doing their best to coax strange and uncommon sounds from their instruments, but nothing more—there seems to be little sense of real purpose here—that makes all but the final track blend into a melange of odd textures with only two real dynamics: loud and soft.

That three musicians with clear capabilities on their instruments would choose to make an album that is mostly concerned with varying degrees of disenfranchised noise is curious. With free improvisation such as this being an extreme sub-genre of an already small niche market, it had better have a good reason to exist if it is to appeal to any kind of audience whatsoever. Sadly, Out Trios Volume Two will likely be of little interest to anyone but graphic designers, who will marvel at the beauty of the packaging concept.


Track Listing: Lacerate; Electro; Onslaught; Miss Big Meen

Personnel: Jeff Parker (guitar, Korg MS-20), Kevin Drumm (guitar, effects, synthesizer), Michael Zerang (drums, percussion, autoharp)

Title: Out Trios Volume Two | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
Read more articles
The New Breed

The New Breed

International Anthem Recording Company
2016

buy
Slight Freedom

Slight Freedom

Eremite Records
2016

buy
 

Lift

Point of Departure, WMPG-FM
2012

buy
Bright Light in Winter

Bright Light in Winter

Delmark Records
2012

buy
Song Songs Song

Song Songs Song

Delmark Records
2005

buy
The Relatives

The Relatives

Thrill Jockey
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To CD/LP/Track Review
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read We Out Here CD/LP/Track Review
We Out Here
by Chris May
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Best of the Bootlegs 2017 CD/LP/Track Review
Best of the Bootlegs 2017
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read The Asylum Years CD/LP/Track Review
The Asylum Years
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Solo Contra CD/LP/Track Review
Solo Contra
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Ellipse CD/LP/Track Review
Ellipse
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "I Try To Remember Where I Come From" CD/LP/Track Review I Try To Remember Where I Come From
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "While We Still Have Bodies" CD/LP/Track Review While We Still Have Bodies
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "Voices in the Void" CD/LP/Track Review Voices in the Void
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Uniting Beats (Ritmos Que Unen)" CD/LP/Track Review Uniting Beats (Ritmos Que Unen)
by Barry Witherden
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Murphy" CD/LP/Track Review Murphy
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Notes Over Poetry" CD/LP/Track Review Notes Over Poetry
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 11, 2017