Second outing by Thollem McDonas, Nels Cline and Michael Wimberly as Radical Empathy Trio after 2015’s inaugural release on Relative Pitch. The musicians’ curricula speak for themselves when it comes to traveling across apparently unrelated regions of a vast sonic territory. This music’s hard-to-pin-down spirit does not surprise us in that regard.
At this level of musicianship, seeking convenient spaces for self-expression goes hand in hand with attempting to merge heterogeneous creative instances. In this remarkable alliance McDonas and Cline rotate individual suggestions and no-nonsense reciprocity, their elaborations constantly supported by Wimberly’s impulsive, but still lucid drumming. When an exact boiling point is reached, peaks of instrumental convolution tinged with anarchist colors seem to sneer at one’s stylistic preconceptions. The three appear completely at ease inside the contingent hellfire they’re generating, each phrase or outburst reinforcing the essentiality of committed listening even when the going gets tougher than expected.
In terms of sheer timbre, we frequently experience a compelling succession of “quasi-acoustic” and “abstractly electronic” landscapes, the latter effectively achieved via an abrasive processing of electric guitars and keyboards according to canons known to the performers exclusively in the moment of implementation. Appropriately, the interplay oscillates rather systematically between semi-quietness and well-managed turmoil. Thanks to this continuous variety of kinetics within the textural morphing, a proactive listener reacts positively to the stimuli as the music asks for further studying of its capricious temperament.