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Trevor Dunn: Séances


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Trevor Dunn: Séances
Holy bank shot Batman! Is Seances, (bassist Trevor Dunn's dissertation on the how humans tend to forget and repeat, ever a radical and electrifying take on things. Anything and everything goes the distance for Dunn and the combined mad genius of his Trio-Covulsant cronies, wickedly cool guitarist Mary Halvorson and the chaotic meter of drummer Ches Smith.

It has been eighteen turbulent years since this threesome last convened for the opaquely conversant Sister Phantom Owl Fish (Ipecac, 2004) and they (like the rest of us) have been through irrevocable ch-ch-ch-changes. With that in mind, they respond with the impossibly tangled ostinato in 13/4, "Secours Meurtriers," a collision of ideas and method that is, to put it bluntly, spellbinding. Ignited by the lone calls of guest flutist Anna Webber, Halvorson, cellist Mariel Roberts, Smith, Dunn, violinist/violist Carla Kihlstedt and bass clarinetist Oscar Noriega respond with a furious gymnastics; juggling crash rock and chamber music with true improvisatory fervor and finesse.

Emerging as the music does from the kiln of two rather eclectic inspirations: alto-saxophonist Paul Desmond's 1962 LP with guitarist Jim Hall and strings, Desmond Blue (RCA Victor), and the Convulsionnaires of Saint-Médard, an 18th-century French Christian sect whose fevered worship took on forms of ecstatic, near-orgiastic displays, the fiery "Saint Medard" follows with a deceptively bluesy stroll until . . .well, until it doesn't and the believers convulse in wilful, communal joy. Kihlstedt ranges wild on this one, overriding and power sailing to her heart's content.

Dunn, whose uniquely adventurous musical journey includes the avant-garde rock of Mr. Bungle, as well as sojourns and collaborations with Pyroclastic founder, pianistKris Davis, John Zorn and drummer Dan Weiss's Starebaby, posits densely-packed, compulsively listenable compositions. With its insistent cello pull and Smith's tribal percussion setting the stage for Halvorson to erupt, the dramatic "1733" bursts upon itself and the meteoric fragments and shards fall this way and that. Prog rock/jazz amped to eleven, Seances remaining four mission statements, including the slurry thrall of "The Asylum's Guilt" and the mystery cinema of "Restore All Things" makes for a must listen.

Track Listing

Secours Meurtriers; Saint-Médard; Restore All Things; 1733; The Asylum’s Guilt; Eschatology; Thaumaturge.


Trevor Dunn: bass; Mary Halvorson: guitar; Ches Smith: drums; Oscar Noriega: clarinet; Mariel Roberts: cello; Carla Kihlstedt: violin; Anna Webber: flute.

Additional Instrumentation

Ches Smith: timpani, congas; Oscar Noriega: bass clarinet, clarinet; Anna Webber: flute, alto flute.

Album information

Title: Séances | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Pyroclastic Records

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