Moritz von Oswald Trio

Sounding Lines

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After four albums released in as many years, Moritz von Oswald Trio suspended their release schedule. During the break, the group's namesake made Borderland with techno innovator Juan Atkins, as well as 1/1 with jazz trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, while synthesizer player Max Loderbauer continued to involve himself with a variety of solo and collaborative projects. The trio returned in 2015 with master Afro-beat drummer Tony Allen in place of Vladislav Delay -- no minor change -- while Ricardo Villalobos was brought in to mix the recordings. Certain stretches of Sounding Lines are so trimmed and sedate that they're less diverting than anything on the previous Trio releases. The gait of "5 (Spectre)," after a few minutes of subtle percussive and electronic intrusions with little to enhance it, sounds torpid more than creeping. Its nine-minute length is second only to the opener, another cut with its impact hampered by a lack of variation. Some moments not-so-faintly echo the past; with only a little more sound processing and the subtraction of Allen's rolling intro, the fourth track could be mistaken for the work of von Oswald and Mark Ernestus' ambient dub techno work as Rhythm & Sound. The highlights, unsurprisingly, occur when Allen is allowed to exert more of his power, heard in the darting/jabbing third and twisting sixth tracks. Those two tracks are worth the wait.

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