Tied & Tickled Trio Observing Systems

[Morr Music; 2003]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: acid jazz, experimental jazz, dub
Others: Cinematic Orchestra, Isotope 217, Blue Note

Over the past several years, Morr Music has established itself as one of the leading labels for releasing glitch-type electronic music. Its artists have also shown that they are as fundamentally important to the overall style it has become known for. It appears, however, that lately Morr has decided to change things up a bit and allow their artists to head down new paths and experiment outside the usual electronic boundaries.

Observing Systems, Tied & Tickled Trio’s new album, is heavily weighted with jazz tones. The overall vibe is completely different from either of their previous albums (with the exception of last years live album) due to its undying devotion to the organic qualities of music. Where their last two albums contained elements of the digital sounds from computers, Observing Systems is less focused on them. There are moments within the album where samples are used, but they are not of the synthetic variety as before. 

Tied & Tickled Trio is a band that can embellish the sounds of yesterday’s jazz music, but with a new and more beat-driven result. There are at least ten other instruments that make appearances here, and give the album an incredibly dense quality. “The Long Tomorrow” and “Freakmachine” are two prime examples of the overall design of the album. There are three songs, aptly titled “Sun 1-3,” which are snippets of tape loops that appear to be conveniently placed throughout the album to break up the monotony of the impenetrable layers of jazz that begin to weigh down your ears.   

From the opening track to the last track, unfortunately, things don’t seem to take on anything too daring, nor do they approach things from a fresh and new perspective.  I’d like to say that Observing Systems is on par with the rest of the albums that are similar to it, but its just not.  I can definitely appreciate the musicianship that these gentlemen possess, but with Observing Systems being on the label it is, I find myself questioning this new choice of direction.       

1. The Long Tomorrow
2. Radio Sun 1
3. Revolution
4. Radio Sun 2
5. Freakmachine
6. Observing Systems