When Bugge Wesseltoft and Henrik Schwarz produced their collaboration "Duo", it was clear that their synergy was both unique within, and revitalizing to, the whole genre of electro-acoustic beat-based improvisation. Now the duo becomes a trio, and the dialogue becomes a Trialogue. Bassist Dan Berglund (est, Tonbruket) brings additional dimensions and a whole new range of improvisational possibilities, new musical conversational topics, and a completely new layer of sound, giving this project a different drive, yet retaining the spirit of the Duo project. The result is an organic record, with Schwarz in the producer's chair.
A will to surprise – not just the audience, but themselves as well – dominates proceedings. Moments of quasi-ambient atmosphere sit alongside driving energetic swathes of blues-inflected jamming from the future, near-metallic semi-sinister meteor storms of sound rest easily beside moments of classic jazz noire, and there is a marked assimilation of classical chamber sensibilities. Pokerfaced humour laces intricately woven improvisations, and the harmonic interplay guides the listener into passages of sumptuous soloing from Wesseltoft and Berglund. Minimalist structures are re-crafted, building in hints of folk, eastern essences, spaciousness, and baroque inflections. A certain smoky jazz ambience pervades the whole, punctuated by moments where it feels like aliens have attempted to reconstruct jazz with just a few strands of musical DNA. Passages of the music are saturated with a fragile tension, bowed bass, lingering piano phrases, and endless static chatter. Sparse introductions seeming melt effortlessly into very tangible chord structures underpinned by gentle but insistent beats. The beats themselves travel the full spectrum, from electrostatic pulses to African tribal rhythms (many of the percussion parts are played and sampled by Schwarz rather than electronically generated). Although produced by Schwarz, this album is less overtly "electronic" than the Duo album created by Wesseltoft & Schwarz. Two of the 8 tracks on Trialogue (Movement Eleven and Movement Seventeen) feature an expanded acoustic line-up of strings and trombone, provided by musicians of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, with arrangements by Wesseltoft. The result is a more diverse soundscape, the sonic variations creating a different kind of engagement, bringing with them hints of classical chamber music, yet ably underpinned by echoes of rhumba, fusion, and perhaps even the faintest rumble of prog rock.
With this debut release, the trio's "trialogue" in the studio is as dynamic, meditative, explosive, tranquil and unrelentingly memorable as their live performances. Where other musicians have engaged in similar stylistic juxtapositions, Wesseltoft, Schwarz and Berglund set themselves apart by managing the near-impossible feat of making a perfectly coherent aesthetic, a complete musical language of their own. This is a thoroughgoing post-postmodernist soundworld (let us leave it to critics to name it, as is their wont). What fans will recognise instantly is, simply put, great music.