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The Tronosonic Experience — The Shadow Vol I
(Apollon Records ARP038, 2022, CD / LP / DL)

The Tronosonic Experience — The Shadow Vol II
(Apollon Records ARP039, 2022, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-08-12

The Shadow Vol I Cover artThe Shadow Vol II Cover art

The Tronosonic Experience’s 2019 album, II. The Big Blow, was a thoroughly enjoyable take on jazz combined with psychedelic and post-rock. The Shadow is the follow-up, a little over an hour of music released in two volumes to fit the LP format. I’m still reminded somewhat of what Soft Machine might have sounded like on Bundles if both keyboard players had left and they got a more aggressive guitarist than Allan Holdsworth, but that comparison may be stretched so far as to be meaningless. Many of the tracks are built around riffs that remind me of the kinds of things that Hugh Hopper, Mike Ratledge, and Karl Jenkins used to write, and they are often played with guitar, bass, and sax in unison. Guitarist Øyvind Nypan shares the spotlight with saxophonist Ole Jørgan Bardal, and both bring excitement to their parts, Nypan with heavy use of effects and Bardal with highly emotive playing full of intense squawks and squeals. In addition to the pieces which feature those big riffs, there are numerous more atmospheric sections where both musicians and listeners can breathe sighs of relief before the next loud section comes along. There are no real weak moments, and it’s hard to pick favorites. “Sheik” and “The Last Stand” on Vol. 1 are really great, and “The Shadow of the New Praetorian” on Vol. 2, at 13 minutes the longest track on either volume, brings together everything good about The Tronosonic Experience. This latter track features a middle section where Per Harald Ottesen (bass), and Iver Loe Bjørnstad (drums) lay down a groove with almost a late-Hendrix feel to it while Nypan puts together a slow-burn solo that starts out with long tones and atmospheric effects and builds into an insane wall of noise. I just love what these guys are doing, and The Shadow (in its entirety or in halves) is one of my favorite albums this year blending rock and jazz.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): The Tronosonic Experience

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