A Triggering Myth Album Reviews
Gibraltar Encyclopedia Of Progressive Rock, 1995
Multi-instrumentalists Rick Eddy and Tim Drumheller are back with their second release. If you'll recall, I was favorably impressed with the first two-thirds but thought it weakened for the remainder. Still, I held high hopes for their second release. Now that it's out, what is the verdict? Guilty of great, your honor. "Twice Bitten" carries on in the same style as "A Triggering Myth", emphasizing the interaction of the two sets of keyboards with occasional guitar mixed into the musical melee. While the style is the same, the music itself is much improved over their debut, reflecting a maturity both in playing and composition.
On their first release, titles like "Biology of Doubt" and "Swimming with Sharks" hint at a certain predilection toward the darker recesses of the human psyche. This trend continues with "The Perils of Passion" and "Falling Over Fear." But, not only is this mysterious and somewhat dark quality reflected in the song titles (and the cover art by David Freed), it is quite evident in their music. Rarely, if ever, are we treated to upbeat or uplifting rhythms. Even when the guys kick into high gear, the atmosphere is suspenseful and tension-filled, not light- hearted. Take the 21 minute "Myths (Parts I-VII)," for example.
Making excellent use of dynamics, counterpoint, a wide variety of digital sounds and judicious doses of dissonance, A Triggering Myth paint a picture akin to an old, isolated cemetery at midnight under a full moon on All Hallows Eve. Theirs is not a sinister music, however. While Devil Doll might make you run screaming from the cemetery with your britches wet, A Triggering Myth has you looking constantly back over your shoulder into the shadows made darker by the slivers of pale moonlight. "English Lesson" divided into two parts, beginning with the British-sounding contrapuntal passages of "The Noun," with it's harpsichord and English Horn timbres.
This soon turns into the contrasting RIOish dissonance of "The Verb." This creative experiment segues into the seven minute "Suddenly South," a strong tune of searing guitar and intricate keyboard work. One song is called "Holding Up Half the Sky" so, for fun, I compared it to Henry Cow's "1/2 the Sky." "Holding Up Half the Sky" is one of the lightest moments on the album, with two acoustic guitars and keyboard flute, and may indeed hold up the ozone-depleting sonic assault of Henry Cow! As before, the band uses a variety of digital instruments, to create both realistic and other-worldly timbres. The programmed drum work is outstanding. I'm amazed at how well artists like Fonya and A Triggering Myth are able to utilize drum machines effectively. Still, they sound like machines.
I think A Triggering Myth's music would be so much more incredible with a live drummer to join in the fray. The use of guest musicians on various songs (particularly, Steve Williams' electric guitar work) adds depth to the band's sound and is, I think, part of the strength of "Twice Bitten" over their debut. A drummer would make this strong album even stronger. Still, that's a minor quibble from my way of thinking. Strong writing, inventive compositions and solid musicianship: these are the characteristics of A Triggering Myth.