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Tim Stine Trio

Fresh Demons (Tape)

Label: Astral Spirits

Format: Tape

Genre: Electronic

In stock


  A low-key affiliate of the Chicago jazz scene, guitarist/composer Tim Stine goes out on a limb with his new trio album Fresh Demons. Using the secure foundation established by bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Frank Rosaly to his own advantage, Stine performs eight originals with the same open-mindedness and unorthodox acoustic approaches that have been allowing him to escape jazz conventionalities. His previous outings include the homonymous trio album, out in 2016 on Astral Spirits, and Knots, a quartet effort released last year on the Clean Feed imprint.   Proving what I just said, the first piece on the album, “Talking Faster”, is an alternative folk-jazz tune that is as much offbeat as it is engaging in its rawness.

The garrulous conversations occur with an adventurous fortitude, stimulated by cranky strummed harmonies and off-the-cuff dilatations that take place on the drum set before the closure.  If the music sounds already strange and curiously patterned, then titles such as “882233” and “686868” don’t help clarifying things up. The former initially displays a bass ostinato drawn from the theme statement and closes with a final vamp for the drummer to stretch, whereas the latter piece develops a balanced meeting ground between contemplative hues and loose-limbed grooves that swing in strange ways. Although immersed in complexity and defying tonality, the melodic phrases are intelligibly enunciated.   A great deal of improvisation is typically found over the sturdy frameworks.

The expressionist “VVVValley” is cooked up with labyrinthine decoy, with a few notes picked by the guitarist at particular times making all the difference. His ‘irregularities’ and discordant routes sound great on top of the rhythmic grids weaved by Hatwich and Rosaly. If this number is apparently the most straightforward of the program, then “Watched Trains” draws its pulsing core from an unvarnished joint effort. The trio also weaves around one another on “OTR”, which is more of a slow boil seasoned with hushed brushwork, sleeker guitar melodies, and a reflective bass exposition.  Fresh Demons is a blurred, often hypnotic sonic canvas meant to be naturally eccentric and intense.

Cat. number: AS133
Year: 2020
Recorded at Jamdek Studio in Chicago by Brian Sulpizio on January 17, 2018 First pressing of 175 copies.