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Trifecta: Fragments

The trio making up Trifecta could easily be described as modern prog royalty, what with drummer Craig Blundell, keyboard player Adam Holzman and bassist Nick Beggs not only being part of Steven Wilson’s musical troupe, but also between them counting studio or live time with Frost*, Kino, Steve Hackett, Miles Davis, Rick Wakeman and The Mute Gods - phew! However, it is the time with Wilson where this idea first stemmed from and the title Fragments also alludes to how the music was constructed, with parts of post soundcheck jams on Wilson’s tours being recorded by the trio and then, during lockdown, reworked into the tracks we can now hear.

Musically things sit more in the realms of jazz rock than they do prog and as such, anyone migrating over from Wilson’s work, and especially his more recent output, may not immediately find what they were expecting. However, what they will discover - and anticipate, no doubt - is some pretty extraordinary musicianship and arranging skills. Interestingly, and again, possibly due to how the album came into being, most of the tracks are short, and by jazz and prog standards, very short, with 15 musical set-plays squeezed into a mere 45 minutes. If I was to be honest, it’s an issue and it’s not, because with only one track containing vocals, Fragments is more about the flow of music than it is creating ‘songs’. And hence, there’s a surprinsly natural meander to what still proves to be a gently eclectic offering. Conversely, what does alter and change as the likes of “Dry Martini” is shaken, not stirred into “Lie 2 Me And Take My Money” is the challenging nature of the listen. The latter, for example, combines a laid back jazz-room feel to some cleverly contained noodling and in many ways that’s the strength here, with the temptation to simply let rip and attack with virtuosity being confined to a snatch here and a snippet there, what with Blundell often sitting in the pocket for a breath or two before dancing from time signature to time signature and back again.

The one track housing vocals also sums up the playful nature of the likes of “Promo Molecule” or “Auntie”, with “Pavlov's Dog Killed Schrodinger's Cat” possessing a lightness of touch that allows you to engross yourself as you question whether us ‘mere mortals’ really can understand the scientific specifics that apparently make the world go round. And that too comes across throughout, a willingness to take themselves a little less seriously than most musicians presenting themselves in this setting, making Fragments an immediately enjoyable experience.

Hand on heart I can’t tell you this is something I think that I’ll pull down from the CD shelves regularly, but it’s rewarding and engaging nonetheless and if jazz rock is one of your regular kick back go to scenes, you’ll find much to love.

Track Listing
1. Clean Up On Aisle Five
2. Check Engine Light
3. Proto Molecule
4. Auntie
5. Venn Diagram
6. The Enigma Of Mr. Fripp
7. Sally Doo-Dally
8. Have You Seen What The Neighbours Are Doing?
9. The Mute Gospel
10. Pavlov's Dog Killed Schrodinger's Cat
11. Voyage Of Discovery
12. Nightmare In Shining Armor  
13. Dry Martini
14. Lie 2 Me And Take My Money
15. Hold It Like That

Added: December 11th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Trifecta @ KScope
Hits: 296
Language: english

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