A Triggering Myth Album Reviews
Big Bang Magazine - Number 3, January/February 1994
To our great pleasure, the team which officiated on "A TRIGGERING MYTH," has grown even more on "TWICE BITTEN". The most appreciated newness is without a doubt the presence of drummer Moe Vfushateel. An amateur musician, he rarely plays outside the context of ATM. Also newly arrived is Dave Yore, bassist (who alternates between contrabass and bass guitar) of jazz (who plays mostly in small, improvisational groups) and a professor of music. At last, Eric Orate, who comes in briefly with the classical guitar, is a psychologist (definitely!) who also plays piano as well as the guitar. On their part, Rick and Tim use their instrumental palette by playing respectfully the trumpet and the recorder.
With this second album, A TRIGGERING MYTH affirms their style, by rubbing out any imperfections and in making a radical stylistic expression.
At first, more than anything, a formal perfection is present. The use of real drums lifts off the last signs of amateurism....Also strange (and unfair) as it may seem, this simple aspect places ATM in a category above various multi-instrumentalists, of which the use of rhythm-boxes is quickly labeled and condemned to a ghetto of which few succeed in escaping. The panoply of sounds used by the duo is equally considerably full, integrating a number of "classical" instruments such as the harp, the harpsichord, the violin or oboe. The source of realism is not essential here.
It is really the birth of a new form of classicism that ATM invites us to. Once again, but with an even more bewildering success, it modifies the classical sonorities according to its desires to make (the paradox is not apparent) absolute symbols of modernity.
Already in 1978 with his album "X", Klaus Schultz had tried a step just as ambitious, by marrying the sonorities of his electronic apparatus with those of a symphony orchestra. But the German musician does not succeed so out rightly in dominating his subject. It took, no doubt, many years of maturation for this ambition to become concrete.
Some passages of "MYTHS" (21:30) are a perfect illustration of the duo's success. The way in which, during the first few minutes, the spectrum of sound lines itself, little by little, each repetition of a melodic buckle, is very stunning. A real electronic orchestra creates itself progressively, but there, it is no longer a question of a mixture between synthesizers and orchestra as with Klaus Schultz. These two components have melted into one. The result? Never understood: an osmosis, new and sublime.
But "TWICE BITTEN" doesn't limit this aspect of things and reserves some equally feverish passages where, a rhythmic piano/drum beating layer, recalls to mind the joint exploits of Patrick MORAY and Bill BRUFORD (Music for Piano and Drums), airy synthesizers and torturous electric guitar experiment in a dance of astounding solos on ("THE PERILS OF PASSION" (5:34) or "SUDDENLY SOUTH" (7:00), co-written with Steve Williams).
Pedagogues, our two friends equally agree to an "ENGLISH LESSON" (4:44) in two stages, which appears more than an calling card: the first part, "THE NOUN", with its instrumental wind sonorities that run together, show Rick's classical inclinations; the second, using electronic effects, illustrates the odd experimentation's of Tim.
"HOLDING UP HALF THE SKY" (3:40), a new piece based on acoustic guitar, recalls more the reprise of"And You and I" of YES than of "Thick as a Brick" of JETHRO TULLE.
At last, another notable thing on this album is the inclusion of jazz. A polished and melodic jazz certainly, but the contra bass ("FALLING OVER FEAR") and the beat played on the brushes (P.S.), create a deliciously unreal mood: the jazz trio is also re-served aliases "ATM" and the result, though less grandiose than that obtained on the more symphonic pieces, is still satisfying. Where will ATM stop in this enterprise of re actualization of our patrimonial music? Perhaps this has, to be precise, no limit?
In any case, here is a good example of reconciliation between the past and the present, and a new proof of the usefulness of conflicts between partisans and bullies of the "melting pots" who are temporal and stylistic. By itself, the result counts and permits us to judge subsequently, the validity of the method used.
Lets hope that this experience continues to follow for any future albums....This will contribute, at any rate, for the EDDY-DRUMHELLER association to endure: "ATM satisfies me totally", confides Rick. "We play the music that I have always wanted to make but never had the forum to do" All the types of music I like, are not, of course, well represented, but ATM is the best music I will ever do". And Tim joins in, "ATM is my most satisfying musical experience. Music is my one and only passion and I am impatient to make some more musical adventures with Rick....".
And concretely? "We are working at this moment on our third album which, we hope, will be out in the spring of 1994. This should be the first to come out on our own label that we plan to create together soon in our studio".
One can only hope that any groups that the duo sign will be of such a good quality. And, of course, that ATM will reserve some surprises and wonders....