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As Real as Thinking by Machine Mass Trio

New York City-reared veteran and well-travelled drummer Tony Bianco has been a mainstay in global modern jazz and improvisational circles amid prolific engagements with sax pioneers Evan Parker and David Liebman. Here, he aligns with youthful European inventors, guitarist Michel Delville (The Wrong Object) and nascent saxophonist Jordi Grognard for a program that pushes the envelope via structural baselines and heavy doses of improvisation.

Call it what you will, but the band offers a kaleidoscopic stance, featuring avant jazz-rock, free-improv, and an open forum, spanning multiple concepts. But the key indicator resides within the artists' signature sound and balanced modus operandi. Unlike similar ventures by others, the trio incorporates memorable melodies into its often scathing attack, touched with pure delight and harrowing undertones.

They respectively integrate electronics into the mix, largely to place emphasis on certain parts or to help drive home spiraling riffs with spacey treatments and doomsday-like effects. Yet the eighteen-minute "Falling Up," is a duet between Bianco and Delville, devised on an expansive plane and featuring quirky EFX-driven interludes, and a maniacally climactic theme-building foray. Providing semblances to Jimi Hendrix's angular, aerial assault on The Star Spangled Banner, Delville transmits a modern psychedelic spin with notions of angst and destruction atop Bianco's symphony of drums, percussion and loops. Moreover, the guitarist rockets into cosmic territory with unbridled intensity as the duo gradually descends back to the level of energy displayed at the onset.

Indeed, a rather stunning release as Grognard plays an equally important role on the remaining tracks and brings a core jazz element to the table. Rigid classifications aside, the trio's multidimensional fabrics of sound, and cunning modes of delivery generates a synchronous stream of consciousness framed on layers of exciting interplay and tangible plot developments. A top-shelf product for 2011...

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Machine Mass Trio
  • CD Title: As Real as Thinking
  • Featured Track: Falling Up
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Record Label: Moonjune Records
  • Musicians: Tony Bianco - drums, percussion, loops; Michel Delville - guitar, synth guitar, bouzouki, electronics; Jordi Grognard - tenor sax, flute, bass clarinet, electronic tempura
  • Rating: Five Stars
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