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(40:06, Shark Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Ounds, Pt. 1 4:10 2. Oblivision 3:01 3. Ouseh of Orsmirr 5:34 4. Orf Ontrastc 4:08 5. Ongadays 3:16 6. Osmicc Oldeng Ordsw of Onmeldag 5:56 7. Oopl De Oopl 2:27 8. Oomsmushr 4:48 9. Ounds, Pt. 2 6:46 LINEUP: Joel Lee - all instruments
Prolusion. US outfit TRIP LAVA is the creative vehicle of composer and multi-instrumentalist Joel Lee, who carries out all composition and instrumental duties on his albums himself. He made his debut with "Oddball in the Corner Pocket" in 2007. Since then he has been signed by local label Shark Records, and a further two albums have seen the light of day. "Ounds" is the most recent of those, and was released earlier this year.
Analysis. Trip Lava is a project that have always been and will probably always be a creation that exist on the borderlines between what is intriguing and what is abrasive. For me personally, the second album "Octatroid" is the most rewarding of the albums so far, and that was also a production where Lee deviated ever so slightly from the material on his first album. With "Ounds" Trip Lava appears to step into a new realm again. One not all that far removed from the previous two explored. Different, but still very much recognizable. Cosmic sounds, noisescapes, drones, whimsical sounds and hammering rhythms all combine into challenging soundscapes that will be some people's soundtrack to hell and other people's soundtrack to heaven. In this case, I suspect, with possibly a bit more of a broad appeal than on earlier albums. More of the material here have an accessible sheen to it, in that we have longer sections with more conventional sounds holding everything together, while the wilder sections are perhaps even more wild and freaked out than before. A stronger contrast and a larger scope between the outer parameters explored, but also more material that a larger audience base will find appealing. Personally I wasn't as intrigued by the material here as I was on the previous two albums. The difference may well be slight nuances, or perhaps that I have explored quite a lot of similar music in the years that have passed since I last encountered Trip Lava's music - as niche label Silber Records are steadily releasing quite a lot of material of a more or less similar vein that I listen to on regular occasions. That being said, Trip Lava is still the oddball in the corner pocket, and the music and soundscapes explored here are fairly unique still. Still challenging too, and obviously crafted with a lot of thought behind them. And while I didn't find this particular album as enjoyable as previous excursions, this isn't music that is uninteresting. Joel Lee explores landscapes few others ventures into, and long may he continue doing just that.
Conclusion. Trip Lava's third album "Ounds" is one of those albums I suspect should sit very well among those who tend to enjoy the more challenging music that was and to some extent still is explored by the so-called Krautrock bands. Trip Lava is a bit more cosmic perhaps, and arguably a tad more abrasive, but I'd hazard a guess that for those into difficult music in this and related fields this will not really matter. How much of an appeal this CD will have beyond that crowd is something I'm unsure of, but generally speaking I suspect that this is the most conventional of Trip Lava's unconventional discography so far.
Progmessor: October 28, 2018