An extraordinary exercise in genre bending, As Real As Thinking finds American drummer Tony Bianco teaming up with two Belgium multi-instrumentalists (Michel Delville on guitar, bouzouki and electronics, and Jordi Grognard on tenor sax, bass clarinet, flute, bansuri and electronic tempura) as Machine Mass Trio. This is chaotic avant-rock, jazz and trance music for a new generation of progheads, recorded live in the studio with no overdubs.
Processed loops, exotic melodies, alternating moments of peace and violence, and a punk-rock attitude make this eight-track, 64-minute album an exciting listen that endears itself with repeat spins. Highlights include the transcendental "UFO-RA" and mellower pieces "Knowledge," "Khajurao" and "Hero," which showcase Grognard on brass and woodwinds. But Machine Mass Trio can do trad-jazz, too: Just listen to opener "Cuckoo." At the opposite end of the spectrum is the organized chaos into which "Let Go" spirals.
"Falling Up," however, emerges as the album's most ambitious piece: an 18-minute behemoth that opens with ambient improvisation, gives way to passages that might have come from Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath and includes guitar solos that will make your teeth hurt. If you're not a fan of Machine Mass Trio after listening to that song, then As Real As Thinking just isn't an album for you.
3) Let Go
7) Falling Up
8) Palitana Mood