3ofmillions: Abstruction
Rufus Records

Abstruction is not the sound of some polite dinner lounge trio but rather fifty-plus minutes of free-wheeling electroacoustic improvisations by the three-headed outfit that is bassist Abel Cross, drummer Finn Ryan, and one-time Triosk pianist Adrian Klumpes. Having played together since 2008 and issued 2009's Immediate album and The Golden Calf EP, the Sydney, Australia-based 3ofmillions now operates at a level of telepathy to which all such units aspire. If the three don't quite rewrite the guidebook of trio playing, they at the very least expand upon it by allowing a healthy degree of experimentalism and electronic textures into the picture.

All three musicians contribute electronics to the project, and never is that perhaps more audible than during the release's longest piece, “Nebuchadnezzar,” a suitably ominous and ponderous moodscape that sometimes sounds like a swarm of zombified hornets advancing across the horizon. That dark mood is deepened further by the primal wails that appear as the tempo slows to a dying crawl. “What Are You Gonna Do?” also disassociates the group from the conventional piano trio by ending with a creepy stalker-like voice episode, and “Glaciation” does much the same in an electronics-heavy setting where ambient hiss and high-pitched warble occupy much of the sonic space. In the title cut, the bass burns so fiercely the trio even sounds for a few bars like the King Crimson model featuring John Wetton and Bill Bruford (Fripp sitting out, of course). In part, “Conversation” spotlights the trio's more delicate side, with Klumpes' light touch offset by Ryan's rambunction and wild fuzz guitar-styled contributions from Cross, presumably. Eschewing the standard lead voice role, Klumpes sometimes generates tone clusters as a pedal-point for Ryan's rolls and cymbals splashes, and the drummer is as much if not more multi-limbed percussive colourist as he is time-keeper. Even a single listen to Abstruction makes clear that anyone looking for by-the-numbers takes on “Days of Wine and Roses” or “Autumn Leaves” is visiting the wrong neighbourhood.

April 2011