Alister Spence Trio CD

Far FlungFar Flung


 Some may jump in the ocean and swim, and others may board an aircraft and fly, but fundamentally we are lumbering land-based creatures. That is why art that allows us, even for a moment, to be other than we are is invaluable.

 The music of Sydney’s Alister Spence Trio has gradually assumed an oneiric quality that is beyond genre, and Far Flung is the most complete statement of a collective ability to stretch perceptions of reality. Over these two discs they sometimes make us feel like we are flying without the prosaic thrust of an internal combustion engine, or swimming without the pragmatic need to breathe.

 The pieces are variously composed or improvised, sometimes with substantial post-production input. Fundamentally there is still the makings of a conventional jazz trio consisting of piano (Spence), double bass (Lloyd Swanton) and drums (Toby Hall), as is heard on Felt. But then Spence’s piano may sometimes be prepared and sometimes augmented with samples or even a music box, and Hall’s drums are occasionally replaced by the toy-town sound of his beautiful glockenspiel.

 Above all this trio has learned to defy gravity: to free music of time and defined space, and create a series of float-tanks in which the listener drifts in a world that may be made of air or water, but not the dry harshness of land. Mesmerising.