Troyka: Ornithophobia

review troyka x1 cong
This progressive jazz album from the talented trio Troyka (players include Kit Downes, Mercury nominated in his own right) is book ended by fairly traditional sounding jazz. Opener Arcades sounds like any modern jazz track you might care to hear, before it suddenly takes off in a prog rock direction. Prog because of the frequent and complex timing changes, the virtuosity of the players and what, in an electric band, would be shredding; all this is in a jazz context. If this was overblown prog outfit Dream Theater it would be all massive guitar riffs and huge drum work by that bloke that our columnist Mr Grumpy so loves.
At first play-through it was the prog that struck us but while it is ostensibly a jazz album there is also a lot of bluesy rock, as well as a touch of electronica.
It’s a varied and interesting album that has something for most serious rock/music fans.
Track two Life Was Transient starts off a bit electronic dance (Flying Lotus is a claimed influence) but then it all goes prog and ridiculously complex — previous albums have maybe gone too far down the improv route but this manages to hold it all together.
They (literally) are playing off the same hymn sheet for most of the time.
There is plenty of variation though: the splendidly-named Thopter kicks off with a fake post-apocalypse radio broadcast, with science-fiction beeps and boops giving way to grungy jazz.
Bamburgh, on the other hand, is almost ambient electronica. The General kicks off with a heartbeat, but then takes in marching drum and the blues. The guitar alternates between Wish You Were Here era Floyd and the bluesy licks of Hendrix. A very meaty album.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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