The Tied & Tickled Trio, actually a sextet augmented by numerous guests, is a congregation of German jazz, electronic, and post-rock musicians as in love with the textures of dub as they are with the explorations of modal jazz. Much like its stylistic brethren in Chicago's great progressive-music posse, T&T3 tries to fit these disparate loves into an organically controlled environment that utilizes "space" and "melody" in the King Tubby, early Coltrane quartet, and Mouse on Mars senses of those words.
EA1 EA2, the Trio's second album, finds T&T3 tugging compositions in these various directions, sometimes all at once, and finding its own comfort zone. On beds of electronic and natural rhythms, the Tied and Tickled horns veer between husky, long-held ambient notes, soothing lines, and free skronks-tickled by all, but stylistically tied to none. Yet the Trio also gets its kicks exploring rhythm for its own sake, creating chill-out, head-nodding music for an audience as fond of Tortoise as it is of the Blue Note catalog. EA1 EA2 succeeds in this premise, exemplifying the fact that the future sounds of jazz have as much of a base in Cologne as they do in the Knitting Factory.