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Android Trio — Other Worlds
(Cuneiform Rune 480, 2021, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-03-26

Other Worlds Cover art

Android Trio moves to Cuneiform for their second album, and it’s a worthy addition to the label’s catalog. The band’s first album, Road Songs (2017), featured the trio of Andy Niven (drums), Eric Klerks (bass, 8-string guitar), and Max Kutner (guitar) in a very basic setting, just the three of them playing tricky music that hangs around in an area between rock and jazz. Ironically, the pandemic lockdown allowed the band to expand their palette in ways that never would have been possible if they’d been working in a traditional studio setting, so they’ve augmented their sound in a variety of ways. Niven provides synthesizer and sequencing in addition to his drums and percussion, Klerks handles some synth bass, and several guests contribute their talents: Gregg Bendian (vibraphone), Mike Keneally (keyboards, guitar, samples), Jessica Lurie (saxophone), Daniel Rosenboom (trumpet), and Jonathan Sindelman (keyboards). Keneally also served as co-producer and “band counselor, technical supervisor, and ultimate aesthetic arbiter.” Niven composed six of the twelve tracks, Kutner five, and Klerks one. The result is a fascinating combination of sounds that range from RIO-inflected instrumental workouts to post-fusion jams to delightful delicate interludes. “Serial Tune” is one of the highlights, with a seemingly random sequence on a synthesizer, heavy power chords from guitar and bass, and an acrobatic melody line from the trumpet. Keneally is credited with keyboards on this one, and he provides some really odd and engaging sounds; Rosenboom’s trumpet fits right in. I’m not sure if the piece’s title is intended to indicate that it was composed using tone rows — the weird intervals would indicate it was — but the result is a wonderful listening experience. “Cryptosaur” is another great tune, with and ominous distorted bass line, angular guitar lines full of tritones, and Lurie’s bari sax engaging in a lot of intense noisemaking — maybe they asked her to imagine what a roaring dinosaur might have sounded like. Those are just two examples — the whole album is great, and should appeal to fans of avant-prog as well as those of avant-jazz.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Gregg Bendian, Mike Keneally, Android Trio

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