Trialectics – Reviews

Excellent trio de musique improvisée libre. Trompette : Nikolaus Neuser, contrebasse : Alexander Frangenheim, synthé modulaire : Richard Scott. Le titre, Trialectics, évoque/suggère l’idée d’un trio et de sa dialectique ou un éventuel croisement de dialectes, chacun ayant son langage musical qu’il faut croiser, confronter, transformer, faire correspondre, étendre, … entendre et écouter. Leur rencontre est remarquable par ses points de convergence, de divergence, de frictions, ses silences, l’invention, les contrastes imprévisibles,… Dans cette scène (ou ce marché), il y a trop d’enregistrements de musiques où les protagonistes jouent quasiment sans arrêt, en dévidant des paquets de notes, de sons etc… qu’il est bon de jouir, avec ce magnifique trio, d’émissions sonores spontanées, portées par le silence qui les entourent, par l’écoute, l’attention pointilleuse, la technique pointilliste, des événements sonores brefs et précis, des touches éphémères, une variété de timbres, de mouvements, de signes et une grande dynamique, qu’il s’agit là d’une récompense infinie … après avoir tenté d’écrire à perte de vue au sujet d’une infinité d’enregistrements dont parfois on a tendance à douter de leur raison d’être. Je ne connaissais pas du tout Nicolas Neuser, le trompettiste, mais il a trouvé là deux partenaires très expérimentés. Alexander Frangenheim a un don inné dans le « core business » de l’improvisation libre stricto sensu de la tendance Christmann, Lovens, Torsten Müller, Phil Minton, Roger Turner etc… en jouant tout ce qu’il fait à bon escient etRichard Scott est un cas rare dans l’univers électronique, idéal dans ce contexte. Son sens du timing, de l’intervention dans l’instant immédiat se révèle idoine pour cette science spontanée du jeu tangentiel et de l’extension des palettes sonores dans le feu de l’action. Un must si vous voulez découvrir ce genre de musique chercheuse et que les rodomontades musclées (et expressionnistes) d’aucuns commencent à vous fatiguer. Reposez-vous en écoutant !

-Jean-Michel van Schouwburg (Orynx)



„Trialectics documents Frangenheim in a lively & abstract trio with Richard Scott on synth & (the previously unknown to me, but appearing on e.g. the Mingus tribute album I Am Three released on Leo Records last year) Nikolaus Neuser (b.1972) on trumpet. Scott is of course familiar from Natura venomous – an album with a similar mood & density – & elsewhere. Indeed, despite the very different instrumentation, there is clear continuity in the style of interaction that Scott brings to both albums, although the etude-like character of the nine short tracks on Trialectics (all longer than three minutes & shorter than six minutes) might suggest a more direct comparison with Underwater Music & its nine tracks. However, Trialectics employs a broken consort, to use the old terminology, rather than three string instruments, and so revels in a differentiated pallet of timbres that can be exploited in different combinations. (One might also compare to another recent trumpet trio with bowed string & electronics, Autres Paysages, generally a rather more tonal & less extended album, as discussed here earlier this week: Despite the differences, it’s fascinating how parallels present themselves around the same time.)
I found Trialectics to be immediately captivating, particularly for the dense three-way counterpoint that begins immediately, and which is further articulated in various combinations throughout the album. I’m not particularly familiar with the concept of „Trialectics“ per se, which was apparently coined by Henri Lefebvre to figure (specifically) spatial concerns beyond the real & imagined – what might be called the „virtual“ today. (There is an architectural, and so quite possibly familiar to these performers, refinement of this notion by Edward Soja to suggest a third sort of space that is both real & imagined. There are also theoretical connections to postcolonial hybridity, although I don’t hear that aspect here.) In other words, it’s an attempt to move beyond both dualism & the straightjacket of formal dialectic resolution (although it seems to echo more than escape the latter, given the sense of motion toward a third-term). In any case, philosophical (or phenomenological) terminology aside, there is a clear attempt to forge something both more than the sum of its (three, so perhaps that’s the simplest way to receive the title) parts & fully integrated as such: There is thus no sense of collage, and stylistic influences are basically atomized in order to be reconfigured from the ground of the three-way interaction.
In this, likewise as recently noted, there is less emphasis on quiet, particularly from Frangenheim, and indeed, Trialectics has sufficient presence that I was able to enjoy it while my driveway was being repaved. (I like to see how different music will function in „extreme“ sonic environments.) This surprised me, due to the delicacy involved, but the interplay of high registers is particularly rich here, not so much continuous (or glissando) high pitches, but various beeps, blips & bloops that add percussive strikes & rhythmic sharpness to the high-end contours. Electronics are prominent in this interplay, which often has a sparkling or burbling quality, including chiming tones & whistles, but so is trumpet, and even bass via harmonics. The latter also emphasizes a low end growl sometimes (albeit not so audibly during paving), and generally retains a strong presence too. That said, Trialectics is not an album of extremes, even if the highs do tend to reinflect the counterpoint in various ways (including so as to differentiate the sound from e.g. spectral music, which otherwise influences so many recent Creative Sources releases). Moreover, not only might midrange timbres develop an independent twang, but e.g. radio calls are evoked, suggesting an (attenuated, at least) sense of (outer) space: Yet, it comes off as an electronic earthiness somehow.
Perhaps this is where the Trialectics concept per se comes into play, although I don’t know that there was intent to articulate it in any technical detail. (Natura venomous had already explored an „earthy“ setting in part via fanciful electronics, so that comparison returns here.) Such electronic earthiness, so to speak, might further be invoked, and quite starkly at that, by the figure of the old streetlamp on the cover. The result then presents not only a fresh variety of timbral combinations, but a potent sense of integration that continues to be consistently enjoyable & thought provoking. Finally, for those readers concerned specifically with the affective qualities (and I’ve already reframed the question with that terminology), it’s not that an album such as Trialectics conveys a particular emotion, or even a particular sequence of emotions, but rather that it refigures (pre-emotional) affect according to new relations: Emotional responses open onto spaces beyond modern subjectivity, and in that shift, it’s actually description (or conceptualization) that falters prior to feeling per se. Perhaps one question raised in turn is what the listener can continue to feel absent such a (conceptual) safety net (i.e. familiarity): Just how are one’s affects configured & how are they traced (differently) by the unfamiliar?“

-Todd McComb, Jazz Thoughts




Go Back