Certain people, perhaps even themselves, must have had doubts when Bill Martien, Alissa Taylor and Matt Clarke decided to team up to become an instrumental trio. Yet with guitar, violin and drums at their disposal they duly set about making their consistently rewarding debut, ‘Blue Siberia’, in 2010. ‘Solitude Rotation’ is the follow up and proves that there’s plenty more mileage in the concept.
The title track is a glorious way to start the album. The interplay between the trio is a joy with Taylor’s fragrant flourishes offset by Martien’s dexterous finger picking and concluding with a ferocious drum/violin duel. ‘Honey Jazz’ builds from an elegant start into a thunderous frenzy of noise but it’s the yearning ‘My Favorite Color’ which wins the day. Taylor is perhaps the key to the trio with her violin providing the emotional counterpoint to Martien and Clarke’s impressive foundations.
With so many variations on the theme and changes of pace, no one could accuse the trio of ever being dull. However, if there is a criticism, it is that – in their efforts to add variety and degrees of light and shades – a few of these pieces would have sounded better if they didn’t change so much halfway through. Otherwise, there’s much to enjoy for fans of early 4AD records.
Dif Juz, The Milling Gowns