Trioscapes’ new album Digital Dream Sequence is—pardon the pun—a dream come true. This album, the second full length studio release from the band, has also officially taken the top spot on this critic’s list of the year’s top new albums overall. The band has taken the prog-metal/jazz fusion sound that it established on its breakthrough 2012 debut Separate Realities and stepped it up another notch on this record. While Digital Dream Sequence is comprised of only five tracks, those five songs collectively comprise an album that will both entertain audiences and leave them thinking. Audiences should be warned, however. This album is not one for those with short attention spans. The shortest track on the record comes in at three minutes and forty seconds. The album’s longest track clocks in at just over fifteen minutes. The remaining trio of songs written for the album each tops the five minute mark. The album’s opener and title track comes in at just over seven-and-a-half minutes. ‘From The Earth To The Moon’ and ‘Hysteria’ come in at 8:47 and 6:40 respectively for those that might be wondering. So it goes without saying that this album is not one for those looking for a quick, easy listen. That having been stated, there is quite a bit to note that makes this album so great.
Trioscapes’ new album is not one for those with short attention spans. The depth of the songs written for this album and their run times requires a full investment from listeners. This is evident right off the top in the album’s title track. ‘Digital Dream Sequence’ can best be described by two words: controlled chaos. At times, it sounds like the band—Dan Briggs (bass), Walter Fancourt (tenor sax, flute), and Matt Lynch (drums, electronics)—is all over the place. But a close listen reveals that there is a method to the madness of these musicians. As the song’s companion video reveals, all three men are fully focused on their parts even as free flowing as the song sounds. The song’s foundation is based on Briggs’ own bass work. Fancourt and Lynch take that foundation and build a song that throughout its two movements. And it goes without saying that both Fancourt and Lynch exhibit quite a bit of talent. Lynch’s ability to handle such wild, polyrhythmic patterns all while keeping up with his band mates is a statement in and of itself. And even Fancourt, with his flourishes, adds his own important touch to the song in whole, especially in its final seconds. His is the last part that listeners hear on this song. After all of the wildness of the song, his gentle, flowing performance almost paints a picture of a figure coming out of the “dream.” It’s a fitting final statement from an equally fitting opener for this album.
‘Digital Dream Sequence’ was the perfect way for Trioscapes to open its second full length album. The near eight-minute song immediately re-establishes the band, showing that it has definitely evolved from its first album. That evolution is shown even more in the album’s third track, ‘From The Earth to the Moon.’ This song has a slightly more defined structure about it than the album’s title track. Yet, that ability of the band to weave together multiple separate lines into one cohesive composition remains. It’s nice to hear that that hasn’t been lost even through what feels like constantly changing time signatures. Even more interesting is that within those seemingly constantly changing time signatures, there is one line that remains mostly constant from start to finish. That line is shared between all three musicians throughout the song on a number of instruments including a marimba. The inclusion of the marimba adds just one more great touch to the song that along with Fancourt’s musicianship on the flute and Lynch’s drumming puts this song over the top and guarantees it to be one of the best of the album’s opuses.
Briggs, Fancourt, and Lynch close out their new album fittingly with the album’s longest piece in the form of ‘The Jungle.’ This song comes in at a little more than fifteen minutes long. And despite its extended run time, the trio paints a picture with the song that mirrors its title quite well. It opens gently with what sounds like a table set against Briggs’ bass and then Lynch’s drumming and eventually Fancourt’s work on the sax. The fast paced sixteenth note runs played by Lynch on the snare alongside Fancourt’s urgent sax line gives an image of a busy jungle scene. It creates thoughts of birds flying around in the jungle canopy and perhaps a big cat or two on the hunt, chasing its prey through the jungle in question. Other listeners might get something entirely different from this standout song. And that is perfectly fine. This is merely one critic’s personal interpretation of the song. The energy exuded by the band early in the song never lets up at any point throughout its fifteen minute, ten second run time. The band keeps that energy flowing right to the very last second, leaving listeners breathless and blown away by the musical journey on which they embarked at the song’s beginning. Taking into consideration the effect of this song and those that built up to it, the musical journey undertaken in whole on this record proves to be one that is well worth taking by any truly open-minded music lover and any musician looking for musical enlightenment. The end product proves to be an album that more than deserves the title of the year’s best new record overall.
Audiences can hear all of the tracks noted here and the remaining pair not noted now as Digital Dream Sequence is available now in stores and online. While the band currently has no tour dates planned, audiences can keep up with the trio’s latest tour schedule updates and news online at http://www.metalblade.com/trioscapes, http://www.facebook.com/trioscapes, and http://twitter.com/MetalBlade. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.