Album Review

Tarfala Trio – “Syzygy” – [Nobusiness Records]

abacus   11/29/2011   12-inch, Jazz

Syzygy is a straight line configuration of three celestial bodies in a gravitational system. These three celestial bodies, Mats Gustafsson, Barry Guy and Raymond Strid, give us ferocious improvisations that range from blistering intensity to formless textural conversations.??Tarfala Trio met in 1992 at a music festival in Stockholm and proceeded to perform live together over the years, releasing a couple albums before this piece, a live performance in Belgium in 2009. Mats provides a fraying gruff that always seems on the verge of erupting into caustic howls yet constantly displays its subdued lyricism. Guy provides a more cerebral yet dizzying array of twangs, plucks and scrapes that matches Strid’s seemingly endless supply of percussive sounds constantly rolling and unloading and rarely coalescing into anything concrete. Each piece is devoted entirely to the journey with a telepathic expectation of how and where it will unravel. Broken by Fire explodes immediately in pyrotechnics then allows itself to decompress and deconstruct only to erupt again. Lapilli Fragments seems to build from the bottom up yet never quite reaches its peak. Cool in Flight showcases the expressive power of Guy on bass after a long minimalist exploration. Tephra comes comes together like water down a drain, dripping at the edges until finally swirling to the center. The 7″ title track seems to be the encore, succinctly summarizing the whole album within 6 short minutes. This shit sizzles…Check out live videos on youtube!

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