Review: Particle Being Trio - Post Terrestial Volume One (Debacle Records, 2012)
Somehow I got used to the fact that when an album begins with lazily rolling eastern drones I should prepare myself for a hell of a psychedelic journey. Such was the case with Moon Unit’s “New Sky Dragon” (which I finally purchased on vinyl minutes before writing this review, but I digress) or Tetragrammaton’s “Elegy for Native Toungues”. Not surprisingly, this is no different with the Seattle free-psych ensemble Particle Being Trio. Add this to the fact that this is being released on Debacle Records, quite possibly the most exciting underground label these days, which constantly reinvents itself and offers an incredibly eclectic range of releases, refusing to be ascribed to any narrow-minded musical “scene” of today, and we might be dealing with some bomb material.
The opening “Free Energy” unfolds slowly, almost lethargically - endlessly stretching synthesizer drones blend with low-key sitars and sparse free jazz drumming. A reverbed trombone emerges from the dronescape, accompanied by twisted supersonic ascent of analog synthesizer, which snakes its way along the now-rhytmical drumming and blissful electronic ambience. The synths sound cosmic and oriental at the same time, crazy noodlings pacified by pastoral trombone. Comparisons to Moon Unit’s monumental “Internal Future” might be made, but Particle Being Trio seems to exist in the more jazz-oriented “academic” areas of experimental music – as indicated by the name and the minimalist, humble cover.
The following pieces, “Action and Orbital Horn” and “Aggregate Resilience”, follow a more dynamic path. The first piece is a near 3-minute krautrock jam, with sequencer-heavy electronics competing with the trombone, which tries to keep up the pace and the melody in some sort of “human-vs-machine” duel, while the tribal-like drumming paves the way for the contestants. The second track is heavier - one drum breakdown after another, heavy drones rise and fall, occasionally bursting into a brief far-out solo before succumbing to obliterating, intense drum workouts.
The closing jam “Relative to Light” follows the same path as the opening track, down to the slow sitars opening. Here, however, musicians get it on from the very first seconds, becoming (slightly) more dynamic, with drums weaving an almost math rock pattern, while the synthesizers get into some glitch bleep & bloop mania and the trombone kicks in with sparse, occasional notes that create some sort of recognizable melody. While the jam sounds heavily deconstructed and abstract, there is a sense of peace to the whole piece, despite the chaotic bursts of electronic madness, which seemingly can’t win with the human element of the whole piece. I find that reassuring – that despite the whole obsession with electronic gadgetry in the modern world, we have still not yet succumbed. It’s far-fetched, yes, but it works.