Moment Returns is a marvelously understated, moody headswim that is very reminiscent, at times, of Tom Jenkinson's In A Silent Way-oriented material. It kicks off with a miniature, Oval-esque piercing drone piece that is very misleading as to the lush and hypnotic mellow jazz environs that follow. Music as ethereal as this can be tough to sink one's teeth into, but once you reach the busier drumming on the mysterious "Two: Twelve" or the melancholy "Tomorrow Today (Part 2)," it makes the elusive journey worth it. Though they're hardly fireworks, the songs bring things down to earth in a delicately alleviating fashion. The preceding three songs sound more like a jazz trio tuning up more than anything concretely composed. But that's not to say that they're uninteresting. A series of loomings can present a challenge for a reviewer given to track-by-track analysis like myself, which is a good thing. So I must say, despite certain tonal highlights, this is largely a release to be enjoyed as a whole.
Certain music lovers might say that ethereal music is boring due to its seeming lack of direction. While it's true that the music is often highly conceptual (see John Cage's 4'33" or Alvin Lucier's "I Am Sitting in a Room" for mind-bogglingly infinite examples), I find it oddly refreshing sometimes to have my expectations for musical money shots to be snuffed out. In the crescendo-happy world of rock music fandom, it's great to have some pensive, labyrinthine detours. And this is what records like Moment Returns are for me. But I'm not going to write one of those reviews that dismiss or critique listening trends. Crescendo is not overused (I suppose it can be misused), but it's the stuff of the world's greatest composers; so there's no need to deem it indulgent or sensationalistic. I balk at critics who use the preceding terms pejoratively, since that's the rock that a lot of the music I'm madly in love with is built on. But, then, there're those times when you feel like settling into something more experimental. If Godspeed You! Black Emperor is the meat, I guess that makes Triosk the vegetables. Not that the music on this disc is all that difficult or antiseptic. It's actually quite warm and inviting, but there are little electricity Gremlins (Haven't seen The New Batch? What the hell is the matter with you!?) zipping around in the stew to create an environment that has a curious sterility to it.
It's hard to criticize this release for its lack of memorable melody, because melody is not the group's main concern. It's an album of luxurious texture and elegantly fluctuating tension. There may not be anything radically new on display, but as I am not particularly well-schooled in the huge realm of jazz innovations, I couldn't tell you just how derivative Triosk are being here. All I can say is that the playing is incredibly tight and the environment is intoxicating. Their album may not be original enough to be a 2004 standout, but you'd be missing out if you let this one slip by simply because it's 2005. It's got a subdued majesty that sucks you right in for the entirety of its 40-minute running time, culminating with the epic tidal wash of "I Am A Beautiful and Unique Snowflake." In many ways, Moment Returns is the jazz-oriented sibling to Colleen's outstanding and equally hypnotically desolate IDM on Everyone Alive Wants Answers.
1. The Streets Are Empty
2. Chronosynclastic Infundibula
3. Love Chariot
4. Two: Twelve
5. Tomorrow Today (Part 1)
6. Tomorrow Today (Part 2)
8. Awake in the Deep
9. I Am A Beautiful and Unique Snowflake