ARTIST: BUGGE WESSELTOFTE, HENRIK SCHWARZ AND DAN BERGLUND
LABEL (YEAR): Sunday Music (2014)
FOR FANS OF: Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Burial, Squarepusher
Words by Gummo Clare
Following their successful collaboration on the 2012 release Duo, Norwegian jazz pianist Wesseltoft and German electronics maven and composer Schwarz, incorporated former Esbjorn Svenson bassist Dan Berglund into some of their live shows. After the end of their tour, the three recorded Trialogue; a more rigorously arranged piece than the intense real-time improvisation that they produced onstage.
Unlike Duo, which was underpinned by the four-to-the-floor kick of Schwarz’s house roots, this record feels a lot harder to pin down. A number of tracks are undoubtedly groove-driven. None more so than the brooding, industrial-jazz of ‘Headbanger’s Polka’, which also features some tasteful soloing by Wesseltoft. The following track, ‘Movement Eleven’ feels almost like some of the instrumental techno released by The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble, and the latter half of ‘Take a Quick Break’ features a shimmering breakbeat drum pattern alongside Berglund’s rhythmic bassline.
Other tracks feel more like the work of a dark ambient producer. Atmospheric, glitchy signal processing on ‘Valiant', for example, sounds like something that Big Loada-era Squarepusher might produce - if someone had introduced him to subtlety. Berglund’s bowed double bass on this track is particularly compelling. His playing is excellent throughout, and amazingly varied - sometimes using layering to create the feel of a string ensemble and at other points employing the distorted, effects-laden bass growl heard in the solo on ‘Movement Eleven’.
Throughout, the trio successfully bridge the gap between their many musical influences without the album ever coming across as just a patchwork of different genres. Instead, Wesseltoft and Berglund’s jazz prowess, combined with Schwarz’s deft use of electronics and sampling, creates a unique and engaging album that benefits relistening.
This mini-documentary about the album provides some insights into composing and recording process behind Trialogue.