3ofmillions: Immediate
Space Dairy

Anyone mourning the demise of Sydney outfit Triosk can take ample solace in pianist Adrian Klumpes' new trio 3ofmillions which, on the surface at least, resembles Triosk reborn. Recorded in a single day (April 4, 2008) and a mere two months after the group's formation, Immediate captures 3ofmillions in full flight with Klumpes ably assisted by acoustic and electric bass player Abel Cross and drummer Finn Ryan, a seventeen-year-old wunderkind who can't help but call to mind the case of Tony Williams who became a member of Miles's band when he too was seventeen (legend has it Williams grew a moustache to fool club-owners into believing he was of legal age to be in the clubs where he was playing). The sessions already provided material for the June EP release Golden Calf on hellosQuare, and now sixty more minutes reach our ears courtesy of Space Dairy.

To its credit, 3ofmillions rarely hews to any of the familiar piano trio conventions—its approach is light years removed from those associated with Bill Evans' and Keith Jarrett's trios, for example (of course, the latter would reject outright 3ofmillions' ready embrace of electronics)—and instead prefers to push its electroacoustic improvs beyond established templates into uncharted experimental zones. There are restrained ruminations (“Her Subtlety In My Subconscious” and “The Toll,” where Ryan's rapid-fire cymbal flourishes are reminiscent of Williams) and abstract sound painting (“Improvised Explosive Device,” with the bass a droning pedal point for the free-form explorations of the others) but the material is often fiery. Though Klumpes guides the piece to an elegant and reflective close, “Inconvenient Thankyou” is otherwise tumultuous. The trio seemingly channels Merzbow in the cacophonous noise-fest “The Hand of God” while the hammering “Conscription” comes across like a relentless, full-force howl. The group saves the longest tracks for last, starting with the nine-minute meditation “Wasteland,” whose mix of cowbell percussion, electronics, Rhodes, and piano string strums evokes still-smoldering ruins, and the twenty-two-minute closer “Accepting What Is,” an episodic travelogue of dramatically shifting moods and slow-builds that even contains a surprisingly laid-back episode (including a nice Cross spotlight). 3ofmillions invigorates with its fearless attack, and embodies the genre-advancing spirit that was once standard practice in jazz (the pre-Wynton era specifically). What results isn't always easy on the ears but kudos to the group for taking the road less traveled and challenging listeners to join them.

January 2009