Artist/ Band: Machine Mass Trio
Title: As Real As Thinking
Label: Moonjune Records
Year of Release: 2011
Offical Artist/ Band Link

The Review:

This is a cool combination of jazz-rock and avant-rock (as they list this sub genre). It’s a much wider field of styles than the genre would imply. A good dose of eastern is used in places to either focus, decorate or tip off the songs. Other times you get a straight on jazz club atmosphere jazz fusion. I like the mix here as one song of jazz and one of celestial, almost ambient, song follows. It reminds me of a few of my all time favorite German eastern avant jazz rock bands as well as a hand full of other greats. I think the easiest description is a nice alternation of world, jazz, space, rock, “out there” and avant garde. “As Real As Thinking” is full of very strong compositions, whichever style they fall into.

The three musicians that make up the trio are Michel Delville (guitar, synth guitar, bouzouki, electronics), Tony Bianco (drums, percussion, loops) and Jordi Grognard (tenor sax, flute, bass clarinet, electronic tempura). For the jazz rock and RIO fans, Michel Delville might sound familiar as he is in the fine Belgium band The Wrong Object. The trio is led by percussionist Tony Bianco who is in the band douBT. They state that “As Real as Thinking” was done with no overdubs and live in the studio, but trust me, the sound is full, flawless, and fools you on that level. In fact, it sounds like more musicians, but that’s the magic of loops, and modern electronics, including midi. Anything can be done with that, as long as the skill of the musician is there to begin with.

I find such a nice layout of songs here. I love the way they arranged the heavy and quick with the laid back and trance. It’s like turning a switch but not such that it startles you. MMT give you over an hour of music and not a dud in the bunch. The first track starts off medium tempo in a smooth groove with soft sax and electric piano, along with the syncopated drum beat. It has some characteristics of the Canterbury jazz sound but dances near the center of the more adventurous type jazz rock. Delville burns the frets on the guitar work. Just like the whole recording, the trio plays together like they’ve known each other for decades. Track two has an eastern motif going on with free form drums and a perfect parallel of sax and guitar work. It’s genius. The third song (‘Let Go’) has a more avant rock take off like Massacre or the more recent ‘Blixt’ (Bill Laswell, Raoul Bjorkenheim, and Morgan Agren) and also has a rip roaring off kilter guitar solo. Fourth track (‘Khajuaro’) has an even deeper mystic eastern style with extensive percussion and flute, with a very interesting use of bouzouki by Delville. The music is very meditative and spacey, but has constant movement and exotic things going on, so in no way is it boring. In the first four songs the band members show the huge variety they are capable of. You certainly come close to running out of adjectives when trying to describe the entire CD.

Machine Mass Trio bring to mind a wide range of bands from the past such as Aka Moon, Terje Rypdal (amongst other ECM mates), Dzyan, Contact Trio, and even David Torn. You might hear a half dozen comparative bands in the 18:03 (seventh track) cut ‘Falling Up No 9'. This is where the Torn/Tibbetts and more stretched out music happens in a big way. Bianco shows some huge creativity here on drums. All three artists show total control and extreme skill in listening to each other. As a result, we get a class act that cannot be forgotten. Just after the half way mark, they bring it down a notch and keep a perfect tempo and just the right amount of space between the notes. The last tune might remind you of Gong, early and mid period Deuter, or Tri Atma. Simply beautiful. It’s nice to just let the music guide you. I truly look forward to the next release! Recommended without hesitation!!

Reviewed by Lee Henderson on January 10th, 2012


01. Cuckoo (9:23)
02. Knowledge (6:09)
03. Let Go (4:54)
04. Khajurao (5:22)
05. Hero (10:13)
06. UFO-RA (6:44)
07. Falling Up (18:03)
08. Palitana Mood (3:05)

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