Ambient Music

Brown-Davis-Ingalls-Trammell – Tremble Trove [Artifact Recordings ART 3017, 2023] – Avant Music News

Tremble Trove is a generous, two-CD set of improvisations in trio and quartet format featuring the Oakland musicians Chris Brown (piano and electronics); Ben Davis (cello); Marshall Trammell (drums); and Matt Ingalls (clarinet and bass clarinet).

The first disc, a set of eight performances, is by the trio of Brown, Davis, and Trammell. The group’s core sound is of a kind of abstract piano trio building its interactions on the basis of dynamics-and-dissonance-laden tension points rather than harmonic progressions or melodic counterpoint. There are occasional, creatively ambiguous hints of expanded tonality salted throughout, but the center of gravity falls on the contrastive interplay between extended and conventional techniques, as well as on the opposition of Trammell’s jittery drum work on one side and Davis and Brown’s pitch-based constructions on the other.

For the second disc Brown, Davis, and Trammell are joined by Ingalls for a sequence of solos, duos, trios, and a culminating quartet. These performances move along a spectrum running from a sparse, sound-based austerity to lush, filled-out textures floating on an undulating cushion of piano harmonies.

Daniel Barbiero

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