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(62:53, ‘Trout Qt’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Seiz 6:04 2. Moonracer 4:37 3. Galas 6:49 4. Swamp Thing 4:07 5. Cool Cats 9:57 6. Ffunk 4:27 7. Trout to Lunch 4:24 8. Kitty Litter 3:43 9. RumRum 5:24 10. Saan 7:04 11. Emale 6:17 LINEUP: Fredrik Soderholm – sax, harmonica; keyboards Jukka Packalen – guitars, bass; loops Matti Kanerva – drums Jari Kokkonen – bass
Prolusion. The Finnish foursome TROUT QT was formed back in 2009, originally called Trout Trio but altering their name when they became a quartet in 2011. "Trout to Lunch" is their debut album, and was self released in the summer of 2012.
Analysis. The members of this Finnish band are all seasoned musicians that have been active for several decades. They share a common affection for jazz rock, and this project is their vehicle to explore that part of their creativity, a project that comes with a number of nods in the direction of influential artists. Not that I can pinpoint any of them, as I'll have to admit being relatively ignorant about this particular corner of the art rock universe, but for interested fans and fellow reviewers with a desire to come across as more knowledgeable about such details the band have supplied a fairly detailed description on these issues on their Facebook page. My main impression is that this is a band that does look a fair bit back in time for inspiration though, and I'd suspect that the 70's is the primary decade as far as musical inspirations go. Instrumental jazz rock is the name of the game, and it is a fairly laidback variety of this style we're dealing with. At times meriting the description lazy to my mind, although this is due to the overall relaxed mood of the proceedings and not the performance as such, the exception being a few of the more careful guitar details that indeed may be alluringly lazy also in execution. But relaxed and laidback are common keywords in my notes on this album. Drummer Kanerva has a spirited performance and frequently utilizes fairly intricate movements, bassist Kokkonen knows how to provide nifty circulating supporting motifs just as well as distinct and dominating runs, guitarist Packalen knows his way around Frippian territories and melodic shredding just as much as he is familiar with funky details with a lot of groove incorporated, and saxman Soderholm is just as well suited to mournful melancholic escapades as he is with spirited performances of an improvisational nature and subtly atonal expression. But whether they hit out in experimental fashion, take on energetic runs or explore a universe of subtler atonalities, the performance and arrangements tend to have a relaxed character to them. Partially because I get a strong feeling of musicians that have had a jolly good time assembling this material, but also due to some choices that have been made in the mix and production department. If planned or accidental I don't know, but the sharper edges and most dramatic instrument details have been smoothed down. The impression of a band that deliberately has decided to focus on the group dynamics and the total instrument interaction rather than the individual instrument performance is strong. There are a lot of solo runs on this disc aye, but they tend to be incorporated into a whole rather than truly dominating these passages, the subservient instrumentation given more room in the arrangements or the dominating one given less perhaps. That one a matter of perspective. The end result is what I'd describe as an accomplished production I guess. Jazz rock is a type of music where my personal taste is rather select, and this particular specimen doesn't play too much upon the characteristics that tend to intrigue me strongly. Moonracer with its psych-tinged elegant guitar details, Ffunk with its playful organ motif, RumRum due to its emotional, mournful sax solo and Emale with its Eastern-tinged, exotic vibes are the pieces that intrigued me most. But for the right audience I'm convinced that "Trout to Lunch" will be a most mesmerizing experience.
Conclusion. Trout Qt has made a fine debut effort with "Trout to Lunch". Instrumental jazz rock is the name of the game, performed by seasoned instrumentalists that are firm and secure in their performance. On this disc the overall vibe is a relaxed one, with tight interaction and compact arrangements as core features as I experienced it. Fans of instrumental jazz rock of the 70's should be something of a core audience for this CD I suspect, and in particular those amongst them fond of tight band performances that incorporate solo runs to a greater degree than giving them a strong and dominating place in the arrangements, if such a description should make sense to anyone.
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