Trichotomy ‘Known-Unknown’ (Challenge Records International) 4/5

Australian piano trio Trichotomy return with an album that builds on their existing strengths and adds a new twist with a subtle dose of electronica. However, this is still very much an acoustic formation where the melodic piano hooks of leader Sean Foran are uppermost in the listener’s thoughts. This is typified by the opener, ‘Five’, while a strong contender for the most compelling composition is surely the mid-tempo groove of, ‘Junk’. The trio take on board multiple influences from EST and Tord Gustavsen to Brad Mehldau and the Bad Plus, and that is only in the field of jazz.
What is noticeable on this new recording is that the compositions are significantly stronger and more concise (a clear sign of a band maturing nicely), with writing duties more evenly divided up between trio members and double bassist Samuel Vincent offering his own debut piece in, ‘Past tense’. The influence of Erik Satie and classical impressionist style is discernible on the chill-out zone minimalism of, ‘Hemmingways’. For fans of old-school computer sounds, they will revel in the electronica input of, ‘Reverie of lack’.

Trichotomy have established a reputation as a trio that delves in a degree of abstraction, albeit in an all-acoustic mode. This characteristic has, if anything, become even more pronounced on this latest endeavour and is a fine extension of Sean Foran’s own solo work, most notably on the 2016, ‘Frame of reference’ album.

Tim Stenhouse