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The Motion Trio: Pictures from the Street; Play Station

Tom Greenland By

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"We are peasants somehow...we grew up in small towns, writes Janusz Wojtarowicz in the liner notes of Pictures from the Street, the Motion Trio's debut CD. Don't be fooled. These three squeeze-box Bachs are all conservatory trained virtuosos who are going boldly where no accordionists have gone before. Playing custom-built, extended range Piginis—"the Rolls-Royce of accordions, according to founder/leader/principal composer Wojtarowicz—this genre-bending group employs innovative writing and unorthodox techniques to achieve an effect that is utterly unique.

Motion Trio
Pictures from the Street
Asphalt Tango
2004

Drawing on Balkan folkdances, minimalist compositional approaches, movie soundtrack, rave, trance, house, tango, Celtic and jazz musics, Wojtarowicz (keyboard accordionist) and his cohorts Marcin Galazyn and Pawel Baranek (button accordionists) create monster dance tracks on their acoustic instruments. These throbbing, complexly layered beats unfold and evolve through intricate textures and subtle mood swings. The cultural heritage of Eastern Europe is evident in the preponderance of minor key melodies—including natural and harmonic minors, Phrygian and the poignant "Gypsy minor with its flatted second and major third degrees—and several numbers are based on folk dances in 5/4 and 7/4 time signatures. "Aide Jano is a soulful lament played over a low drone that might remind some listeners of Miles Davis' "Saeta from Sketches of Spain, while the opener, "Train to Heaven, is a programmatic piece imitating a locomotive, only this one sounds more like The Who's "Baba O'Riley than Duke Ellington's "Daybreak Express.


Motion Trio
Play-Station
Asphalt Tango
2005

Play-Station builds on elements the trio introduced in its previous album but extends them in daring new ways. "Game Over, for example, depicts an action-packed video station, complete with buzzers, bonus points, and "Call to Post bugling; "You Dance is included in two versions, the second a techno remix; and the twisting timbres of "Chinatown evoke a New Year's street parade. The musicians coax an amazing arsenal of sounds from their axes, including the pesky buzzing of "Fly, the industrial mixing board effects on "Tilt, the throbbing rave-beat soundscapes of "Tranceaccordion, and the space-age Doppler shifts of "UFO.

This is accordion playing like you've never heard: bring your thinking caps and dancing shoes.


Pictures from the Street

Tracks: Train to Heaven; Cafe Paris; Balkan Dance; Little Story; tango; It's O.K.; Scotsman; Pageant; Asfalt Tango; Aide Jano; Stars (video)

Personnel: Janusz Wojtarowicz: keyboard accordion; Marcin Galazyn: button accordion; Pawel Baranek: button accordion.

Play-Station

Tracks: UFO; You Dance; Tranceaccordion; Helicopter; Chinatown; Tilt; Fly; Yellow Trabant; Carrousel; Stars; Game Over; You Dance (techno version)

Personnel: Janusz Wojtarowicz: keyboard accordion; Marcin Galazyn: button accordion; Pawel Baranek: button accordion.


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