Improvisation doesn't always equal innovation. Sometimes, the lack of connection among a group of musicians can result in nothing short of a muddled affair. Thankfully, Vienna-based trio Trapist has the talent and cohesion to turn an organic sound into an at-times-brilliant portrait of electronic orchestration. A concept album of sorts, Ballroom
includes five lengthy tracks, all recorded initially in a day, that find the trio meddling in sparse Sigur Ros terrain. Until, of course, the group, consisting of Joe Williamson on bass, Martin Siewert on guitar, and Martin Brandlmayr on drums, took their recordings home, then processed and edited them with analog synths and software-based programs.
The resulting Ballroom is a restrained-yet-expansive effort that discards familiar surroundings, allowing true free-form music to take shape. Not easy to grasp, but potentially enjoyable. The catchiest of songs, including "time axis manipulation #2" and the 18-minute building closer "for all the time spent in this room" can tease you with their fluctuating noises and frustrate with the quick-stop percussive efforts. But that's the beauty of improvisation, isn't it? Ballroom isn't your standard wanker bar band jam, but rather a deliberate, meticulous release that has the capability to soothe and enlighten you. If you have the patience and taste for it, that is.