Topology and Trichotomy, Healthy, Topology / Trichotomy Music ***
ast we heard from Trichotomy was in 2013 when the Australian piano trio led by the charismatic pianist Sean Foran released their coming-of-age recording Fact Finding Mission, an album that built hugely on the slightly frustrating promise of Variations, and the much more satisfying album The Gentle War.
This though goes back a bit, recorded in 2010, the year Variations came out, Healthy is a re-released collaboration but a first UK/Ireland release featuring acclaimed Australian classical ensemble Topology, a strings, piano, and saxophone New Music ensemble around since the late-1990s, a time when Trichotomy were known as the more unwieldy Misinterprotato.
Some of the compositions are by Topology’s poetic-sounding saxophonist John Babbage and Trichotomy drummer John Parker, but not to be outdone Foran contributes ‘That Which Is Not Fleeting’ and ‘A New Beginning’, with a hand too in the arrangement of Steve Reich’s ‘Clapping Music’. Topology bassist Robert Davidson also chips in with a tune.
The two ensembles make a pretty good match here, and the intimacy is retained, rarely is there a sense of duplication. But if you’re looking for the jolt of improvising energy provided by the likes of Australia's The Necks then that austerity and element of stark momentum simply isn’t to be found within the concept here. Instead it’s quite accessibly melodic almost pastoral small group music with the language of minimalism in all the musicians’ mind’s eyes, with an ear for electronica and archetypal ECM soundscapes pouring out in equal measure. Any easy complacency is shattered on the highly integrated exhilarating sixth track ‘Healthy Lifestyle’, Foran opening up eventually for a sizzling solo on the Fender Rhodes.
An album that’s more than the sum of its parts shedding new light on the ever stimulating Trichotomy, this time via a New Music lens.