Thursday, 27 December 2012

Machine Mass Trio - As Real As Thinking

In which Belgian guitar monster Michel Delville and the highly experienced "tight but loose" jazz drummer Tony Bianco, both of jazz-space-prog maestros douBt lose the keyboard player and gain Jordi Grognard, a reeds player of some style, who also plays bansouri and electronic tempura, and become the jazz-rock beast that is Machine Mass Trio.

Originally conceived as a side project of douBt, MMT are no doubt (sorry) now a force in their own right. Kicking off in a languorous lounge style with Cuckoo we are soon introduced to Jordi's accomplished playing, from where we venture into more rocky territory on Knowledge with some tight ensemble playing as Jordi free-associates over Michel's spiky guitar theme, Tony pummelling out the beat while also skittering all over the shop. Fast'n'furious, this is a prime example of the group's power.

The album is full of mood changes and Khajuaro, with its meditative Arabian-Indian flavours wherein Michel picks up his bouzouki, followed by the off-kilter funk of Hero are fine examples being in complete contrast to one another. On the latter Michel turns in a solo that sounds like the bastard offspring of Zappa and Holdsworth, followed by Jordi's marvellous reed blowing. Nice!  

After the Dave Brubeck from another galaxy of UFO-RA comes Falling Up, the longest track on the album, which although described in somewhat understated fashion on the CD sleeve as "...a joint improvisation by Bianco and Delville" is an avant-fusion tour-de-force, Tony's never-ending drum rolls overlaid with wildly oscillating and distorted guitar and strange electronica, that after a time becomes quite hypnotic as it flies off into the heavens.

We end with more exotic flavours as Palitana Mood, although possessing a title that sounds like a track from a Mantovani LP is actually a spacey flute-led piece of some elegance and beauty.

Recorded entirely live with no overdubs, the unavoidable rough edges serve only to give the album its powerful attitude. This band demand to be listened to.

Sadly, Tony tells us "This record was recorded as my beloved wife, Mary, was fighting for her life. She has thus passed away and my playing is a tribute to her beautiful soul."


01. Cuckoo (9:26)
02. Knowledge (6:11)
03. Let Go (4:56)
04. Khajuaro (5:23)
05. Hero (10:16)
06. UFO-RA (6:46)
07. Falling Up (18:03)
08. Palitana Mood (3:06)

Total running time 64:07

Tony Bianco – drums, loops, percussions
Michel Delville – electric guitar, bouzouki, electronics
Jordi Grognard – tenor sax, bass clarinet, flute, bansouri, electronic tempura

Listen and buy here.

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