Signal to Noise review by Bill Meyer


Trespass Trio – “…was there to illuminate the night sky…” (CF 149)
When free jazz first got tagged as fire music, people weren’t just referring to the scorching tones, but to the music’s association with revolutionary aspirations. There was a lot happening back in the day that would make a thinking woman or man want to burn something to the ground, but while things can’t really be said to have gotten any better, I’m not sure that destruction is as appealing an option these days. The Trespass Trio play hot, all right, but they also protest against the heat. The title of this record refers to white phosphorous, the hideously effective incendiary agent that has been part of America’s (and many other nations’) armory since WWI; saxophonist Martin Küchen, bassist Per Zanussi, and percussionist Raymond Strid are not in favor of it. Art has often set itself against humanity’s capacity for inhumanity, sometimes to its own detriment, but the choice to tether their music to political and moral imperatives seems only to have sharpened the three men’s focus. Their previous release, a download-only album on Ayler under the name Martin Küchen Trio, was a sprawling affair, but here the music is much more pithy and pungent, and much better for it. Küchen’s reeds seeth and wail in heaving masses of sound that ripple the way the ground does when lashed by a nuclear shockwave.  Zanussi and Strid are far more than accompanists, stoking the music’s boil with surges of struck metal and plucked gut. Their protest has more anguish than rage in it, but there’s still enough righteous indignation in the title tune alone that you have to admit they’re fighting the good fight.

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