Weekend Guitar Trio

3 on 1

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The name of this album is fully appropriate since it is indeed a trio of guitarists working together -- Estonians Robert Jurjendal, Tonis Leemets, and Mart Soo. A variety of guest and supporting performers assist at various points throughout, but it's the trio -- who also embrace samplers thanks to Leemets -- at the heart of this fascinating, evocative collection of electronic and acoustic guitar compositions. The noted Baltic tendency toward reflective and beautiful music is hardly undermined here, though the range of stated influences in the liner notes via quotes deserves attention. Besides perhaps more expected figures like Robert Fripp and Thurston Moore, everyone from Emerson and Lewis Carroll to Richard D. James (aka Aphex Twin) gets cited. The literary connection isn't easy to tell in the music, but the sentiments of exploration and mysterious, almost ghostly ambience can be told from the start. "Setu Ilk" is a rich blend of sound like Glenn Branca lost in Steve Roach's studio, at once aggressive and suddenly sorrowful. E-bow is a key part of the trio's approach, with all three using it as needed -- "Two Note Samba" is a good example, with the lead solo turned into an astonishing, partially echoed performance. The various contributions by the other musicians, including noted percussionist Tanel Ruben, can fit in well with the trio's approach -- the softly keening wordless vocals on "Back to Lovely Home" and the completely out of nowhere drum'n'bass/brass skronk experiment "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly" are two of them. Admittedly, more straightforward jazz pieces like "Night Walk" and the opening of "Lonnie" come across more as formal exercises, but they are pleasant enough listening. The sheer excellence and beautiful depths of the performances throughout commend themselves not merely to, say, followers of Fripp's non-King Crimson work, but also anyone who ever appreciated Dif Juz or Felt. There's a beauty here that deserves wider attention.