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Trigona — Trigona
(Bandcamp Worst Bassist no#, 2022, LP / DL)

Trigona — Echo Tide
(Bandcamp no#, 2022, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-03-03

Trigona Cover artEcho Tide Cover art

Trigona is Rob Shiels, a multi-instrumentalist hailing from Queensland, Australia. The music he makes as a one-man-band is squarely in the jam based psychedelic rock style, with stylistic links to some of the best Krautrock, or the trippy sounds of San Francisco in the late 60s. Most of the self-titled LP was available back in 2021 as a download, but in 2022 one additional track was added before it was released as an LP. His method is pretty straightforward: fire up the Beat Buddy, lay down a bass track, then one or more tracks of electric guitar, maybe some synth (and not necessarily in that exact order), and when he’s tired of what he’s creating, crash the Beat Buddy and shut the operation down, or fade it out. Of course there is some careful planning involved, but that’s the framework of all six tracks of the LP. The drum machine (whether it’s a Beat Buddy or not, I don’t really know) does its job — he can create fills on the fly to avoid a metronomic sound, but it’s obviously not a real drummer, which would have given these six cuts more life. The multiple layers of guitars and electric bass are the highlight of every track, approached with delay, echo, fuzz, loops, and other myriad effects to get the psychedelic sound desired. There are no vocals, it’s a purely instrumental endeavor. It all works well, the only problem being that Shiels likes hearing himself jamming to the groove far longer than most listeners might be willing to tolerate; pieces that would work quite well at three or four minutes are stretched out to seven or eight, a length that wears out most listeners. Still, these songs have their moments, I quite enjoy “Rosatom” especially because of the structural changes that occur as the piece proceeds, even though the underlying beat stays the same throughout. Your mileage may vary, but folks who enjoyed side four of Amon Düül II’s Tanz der Lemminge or some of the early Hawkwind jams may find the LP of considerable interest.

For Echo Tide, Shiels turns the drum machine off and uses no synths, instead opting only for guitars, bass, loops, and effects. The two-song EP (24 minutes total) is dedicated to the memory of Manuel Göttsching, so that should give some idea of the concept, not at all unlike his Inventions for Electric Guitar, though if the Bandcamp page is correct, these recordings date from 2021 when Göttsching was still very much with us. Still, we have a couple tracks of pure invention not anchored down by a drum machine, the first one, “Volta,” times out at six and a half minutes, while the second “Zeptosecond” is an expansive piece reaching nearly seventeen minutes, and the bubbling, gurgling loops and dreamy ambient echoes make it a far more interesting listen than most of the LP, though I wish there was more than two cuts! Hopefully Shiels will be exploring this path again at some point in the future.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Trigona (Rob Shiels)

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