A Triggering Myth
A Triggering Myth Album Reviews
Big Bang Magazine - Number 3, January/February 1994
The first question that comes to mind when one hears the name "A Triggering Myth" is unmistakably: "Why such a complicated name?" For a literal translation (Un Mythe Declencheur) does not shed any light. Leave it then to RICK EDDY to come forward as "master of concepts" of the group (he is responsible for naming all the pieces and for the esoteric subject matters) to take the trouble to explain. "The name, A Triggering Myth represents my declared philosophy on life and the question of ultimate truth. It goes that everything which we believe today to be the truth (be it God, karma, or anything) is today's myth. This may or may not be the truth, but even if it is not (and it is very unlikely that it is), this myth is of tremendous value because it leads us to tomorrows myth. This is useful for us as human beings because it permits us to progress in our own comprehension of life and to better understand questions like the ultimate truth. For us as musicians this is also a means to improve in this same way with music. In fact, each of our records represents the myth of the moment for ATM as a musical creature."
If this "musical creature" is still relatively young, the two musicians have no less a long experience with their assets. Like numerous young Americans, Rick and Tim played with a number of rock and fusion groups during their studies at University. They continued to play for several years but finding themselves unable to make ends meet, they both did "real jobs": Rick as a "Mental Health Program Director" (difficult to translate, no?) and Tim as a piano repairer.
Several years after having stopped his career as a full time musician, Rick formed ONE BEAR .......DANCING with besides himself on keyboards and guitars, there were two other musicians, one playing flute and French horn and the other violin and cello. Playing music very influenced by that of HENRY COW, the trio never earned the least bit of money, refusing commercial concessions. If it established itself as frustrating from the financial point of view, this experience proved to be incomparably enriching for Rick. During this period he ripened and matured as a musician and composer.
Tim also didn't want to stop with music. He had started studying the piano at the age of eight and continued to do so for several years. At the end of the seventies, he began an interest in electronic instruments. He also acquired a basic knowledge in the realm of sound that he hopes to put to work in the studio he plans to create with Rick.
At the end of the eighties at last came the chance for Rick and Tim to create their own group. Perfectly complimentary, the two musicians decided other permanent members to be superfluous. "We are a real group," specifies Rick. "It's the combination of our two personalities that makes our music what it is." The aim of ATM has always been, and remains, to represent the collaboration of the two of us."
The duo recorded a demo that was sent to Ken GOLDEN, the owner of the label, and mail order CD outlet, the LASER'S EDGE, with whom Rick was a customer and friend since the early years. GOLDEN, very enthusiastic, agreed to release the album on his label.
While not considering at any time adding any members to the group, Rick and Tim decided nevertheless to ask some of their musician friends to be on the album.
Steve WILLIAMS (b,g) is a rock musician having played in several groups as guitarist and singer, the most recent being WILD WEASEL, which plays a mixture of rock rather hard and fusion with mush technique. Yet Steve, as we will see later on, collaborated with ATM. Right now Currently he is trying to form an instrumental trio based on improvisation.
James NEWTON is a keyboardist. Well, well....Doesn't ATM already has two keyboardist. So, why a third?? "The musicians who played with us are above all our friends," explains Rick. "We certainly appreciate their creativity and skills but above all, the musical synergy which is produced because we are friends, inevitably makes the music more interesting. NEWTON has also been in several groups. He is working alone now on a project, something electronic with several musical styles (from rap to pop!!)...
The music of A TRIGGERING MYTH is distinguished by the delicate alchemy that it shows between acoustic and electric/electronic instruments, and puerilely, between classical and modern influences. The two individuals who compose ATM are diametrically opposed yet remarkably complimentary: Rick EDDY, the classicist ( the arpeggios on piano of "The Thin Edge," a magnificent piece, melancholy and spellbinding, recall incontestably those of Tony Banks on "A Trick of the Tail"), who does not hide his passion for the Italian progressive music of the seventies, and Tim DRUMHELLER, the avant-guardist with the electronics.
The result of this fusion reveals itself to be bizarrely quite homogeneous: globally, one can say the impression of modernness is the strongest. The acoustic piano, the dominant instrument on this album, doesn't simply give the music a classical side, but on the contrary, is exploited by its in temporality. The addition of synthesizers with futurist resonance's confers an astounding modernism.
This fruitful duality no doubt approaches ATM of HAPPY THE MAN. Kit Watkins group also mixed the acoustic guitars and flutes (for example in "Open Book"). The search for in temporality went through two formations by the assimilation and the synergy of respective traits of past musical genres. This procedure is noble only when it is carried out by musicians who are, at the same time, respectful of the past musical genres from which they come (notably in not copying, but rather in rediscovering the spirit and essence of these under a form apparently quite ancient) and having an artistic individuality strong enough to draw from diverse influences, an original music that is personal to them.
In one case, like the other, the result of this mixture remains incontestably progressive. The sophistication and formal perfectionism are constantly present. The atmospheres, while varied, never lose their glacial beauty; at times, almost clinical. ATM is not a very casual group....each to his own.
A TRIGGERING MYTH, apart from any extra artistic consideration, imposes itself like an emblem with this first album, as one of the worldwide progressive formations most likely to truly make its genre progress. Whereas one believed that everything had been done, Rick EDDY and Tim DRUMHELLER open the musical perspectives of a modernity that is almost futurist. In no way showing just a way to follow (the innovation presents the same probability of success as the respect of a tradition), ATM in the end, exposes only its conception of the modernity....The "myth of tomorrow" in a way.