The Tigersmilk trio was formed in 2001 by cornetist/electronicist Rob Mazurek, bassist Jason Roebke, and percussionist Dylan van der Schyff. They premiered at The Firefly in Ann Arbor, MI for the 2001 Edgefest. Tigersmilk represents a departure from Mazurek's previous work with the Chicago Underground Duo, the Chicago Underground Trio, the Chicago Underground Quartet and Chicago Underground Orchestra, and continues the quest for artistic re-definition that he set in motion with Orton Socket. Tigersmilk opens with the aptly titled "Frequency Location," where waves of cornet, electronics, and percussion squirm and spin around Roebke's anchor. Mazurek makes particularly deft use of analog delay, ring modulation, and mutes to shape the ensemble's palette. Distinguished by hovering bass and electronic tones, and dark cymbal washes, "Long to Win" segues into "The Soft Releases," a gritty duet of percussion and gurgling laptronics. Mazurek delivers "Little Pleasures," a melodic cornet soliloquy that bridges into "Right on Agatite," a psychedelic ensemble dirge, again filtered through delay and ring modulation. "Secret and Mask" is an adventurous group improvisation with Mazurek's cornet leading the exploration. Electronics, percussion, bowed and scraped bass harmonics, and cornet with harmon mute and tremolo all find their way into the mix. In particular, this track demonstrates the sophisticated ensemble interaction which this group is clearly capable of. "Long, Past, Time" opens with a bass solo that eventually introduces a theme that Mazurek varies on harmon mute; van der Schyff plays freely throughout on mallets. The trio's dedication to group interaction and creative improvisation is impressively realized here; each player is equally integral to the group. As heard in the transparent blend of acoustic and electronic sounds, the album displays a wealth of quiet detail. And like the Chicago Underground groups, Tigersmilk demonstrates that Mazurek is at his best when he is having fun. Clearly, Tigersmilk has delivered an inventive debut release.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Kirschenmann