Like its cover, Quality Studio Live is an interestingly skewed mix of the familiar and the distorted. It was indeed recorded in a studio (with sound quality to match), yet it benefits from the vibe of a live audience. The deliberate structures of the pieces still allow for kinetic interpretations in the moment. The musical ideas draw on math and science as much as melody, then come out of the band's own cerebral prism in all kinds of striking, unexpected colors.
Most of the 90-minute set comes from Duality: Particles & Waves (Nei Gong, 2017), though the opening take on "Branes" lets familiar listeners know that things are still continually in flux. This take slows the piece down and lets its winding lines embrace empty space like smoke filling the air. The bewitching "Entropy" in the late stretch still doesn't break down even as it threatens to, though Kamil Zawiślak's piano certainly skims the edge of disorder before the band finally pulls together and overcomes the chaos.
The compositions in-between are stretched into extended forms that let them explore each corner of the space they're traveling through. "Particles" alternates between brisk and moody as it blazes through its self-built rhythmic obstacle course. "Wave Function" weaves in oddly staggered steps amid big clouds of spacey echo as saxophone and piano take turns on lead. Just in time to keep the listener's head from exploding, a calming take on "Singularity" provides a dreamy lull at just the right point mid-set.
With a whole lot of mental challenge to take in, Quality Studio Live can occasionally seesaw from thrilling to tiring. Only one piece winds down in under nine minutes, and the high voltage distortion on Michał Jan Ciesielski's saxophone still makes the track feel like an extended assault on the ears. His effects are more successful in "Gravitrons," which has enough weird effects and electric juice to serve as an exciting science fiction movie score. For the most part, this set finds the right balance of classy jazz, wild space rock, deliberation, and free improvisation. Whatever Quantum Trio does, it is still interested in engaging both ears and brains.
Track Listing: Branes; Particles; Collapse Intro; Wave Function Collapse; Singularity; Gravitons Intro; Gravitons;
Entanglement; Is; Entropy; And If Salfate Was Right?
Personnel: Michał Jan Ciesielski: saxophone; Kamil Zawiślak: grand piano / keys; Luis Mora Matus: drums
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