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(53 min, The Laser's Edge)
TRACK LIST: 1. A Beautiful View of the Moon 5:11 2. The Remedy of Abstraction 7:53 3. Her Softening Sorrow 8:12 4. Not Even Wrong 7:59 5 Rudyard's Raging Natural 2:32 6. Shakespeare's Strippers 4:55 7. The Eisenhour Slumber 4:33 8. When Emily Dickinson Learned to Lunge 8:09 9. The Last Resort 2:34 LINEUP: Tim Drumheller - keyboards Rick Eddy - keyboards; acoustic guitar With: Scott McGill - electric & nylon guitar Vic Stevens - drums Michael Manring - bass Akihisa Tsuboy - violin
Prolusion. Basically a duo of two classically trained musicians Rick Eddy and Tim Drumheller, A TRIGGERING MYTH is internationally considered to be one of the leading and most innovative outfits on America's contemporary Prog scene. "The Remedy of Abstraction" is their sixth studio outing, following their eponymous debut album (1990), "Twice Bitten" (1993), "Between Cages" (1995), "The Sins of Our Saviours" (1998) and "Forgiving Eden" (2002), all of which were released via The Laser's Edge label as well. A Triggering Myth is something new for my ears, as I didn't have the opportunity to hear their music until now. Instead, I am acquainted with creations by all of the guest musicians - the widely known Scott McGill, Michael Manring, Vic Stevens and Akihisa Tsuboy. Related reviews are here and here. Finally I must note that the full title of the first track is Now That My House Has Burned Down I Have a Beautiful View of the Moon, but I will reduce it (to A Beautiful View of the Moon), with your permission.
Analysis. Outstanding albums are presently falling as if from a cornucopia. Like that of probably any act from the Laser's Edge roster, A Triggering Myth's creation lies far from beaten musical roads and is not infected by any kind of pragmatism. Although the style they've chosen for "The Remedy of Abstraction" isn't revolutionarily new, the concept of dogmatism is not applicable to them either, because the music as such is genuinely unique in all senses. To say it's free of cliches or conventional patterns is to say almost nothing. So please don't take seriously the points of comparison I will apply throughout the review. The album includes nine instrumental compositions ranging from two-and-a-half to eight minutes, and all of them defy straightforward classification. Well, the fact that the two primary constituents of this music are Jazz-Fusion and symphonic Art-Rock instantly comes to the surface, but both the idioms appear to be so strongly and, at the same time, efficiently stylized that one might as well invent a new genre definition (anything but that place-name, Canterbury!). Personally I prefer using the term of Fifth Element in such cases, though of course, I am still forced to stick to traditionally accepted formulas etc when describing details of such works. All compositions are notable for multi-layered, intricate, ever-morphing arrangements, now rushing like the mountain waterfalls, now moving slowly like a plain river, but always passionately and with no returns to a once-traversed course. In a way, A Beautiful View of the Moon is a showcase for Scott McGill's histrionics on nylon guitar, whose rapid, intricate and, at the same time, beautiful lines run almost all through the piece and make it sound really marvelous. Quite powerful, very saturated sound, complex rhythms and the predominance of intense jamming over the canvas of more delicate shades are the most distinctive features of this terrific composition. Shakespeare's Strippers moves in a similar direction, but all of the involved players are at the top of their activity throughout here, which is also typical of all the remaining tracks. Rudyard's Raging Natural and The Eisenhour Slumber are richer in keyboard passages and are quite different altogether, yet on the overall stylistic plane they are certainly linked with the previously described two. These four are somewhat closer to Jazz-Fusion in sound, though in fact, each is a highly innovative, I'd say fifth-elementary emanation of the genre, not devoid of symphonic elements in addition. Many bands explored similar territories before, but few (Edition Speciale, Hatfield & The North, National Health, to name just a few) had a truly unique vision of their creative researches, which allowed them, in return, to occupy a fitting place in the Prog Rock hierarchy. A Triggering Myth haven't stopped with these achievements. As mentioned, their new album is the work of a broad stylistic spectrum. Her Softening Sorrow and When Emily Dickinson Learned to Lunge display a perfect proportion between the two fundamental directions in conjunction with elements of Classical music, although the approach is not exactly academic. The former is another piece with many nylon guitar solos, though this time out, they much more often come to the fore along with those of the other instruments (piano, synthesizers, electric guitar, bass and, sure, drums) than alone. The latter has an episode with massive keyboards aurally reminding me of Jupiter from Gustav Holst's "Planets", as well as something by Happy The Man. Both also feature a few chamber interludes with only acoustic guitar, piano and bass in the picture. The Last Resort is as if destined to reproduce the essence of these in a condensed form. The symphonic component is even mightier on the remaining two pieces, the title track and Not Even Wrong, which depends on their compositional construction, but surely not on the fact that both, unlike the others, are abundant in violin patterns - especially since it's often difficult to determine whether Akihisa Tsuboy follows a symphonic or improvisational harmony. In any event, both are lavish:-) in ambitious Classical-like movements, which strongly intensify a semi-chamber sense of this music, particularly those evolving out of the context of joint arrangements. A rough example would be a cross between UK's "Danger Money" and "A L'Quest de la Grosne" by the David Rose Group, plus moments of pure Classical music and just something new.
Conclusion. "The Remedy of Abstraction" is a magnificent album. All nine tracks are brilliant - all different, yet totally cohesive mosaics, showcasing superbly tight, truly ensemble work in arrangement and in performance, although two thirds of the participants aren't members of A Triggering Myth. Well, there are many factors that have predetermined the highly impressive nature of this effort, but it's clear that most of them lie in Tim Drumheller and Rick Eddy's talents in composition. Strongly recommended!
VM: May 3, 2006
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