Alternative Press - p.162
"[I]ncredibly delicate and subtle..." - 4 out of 5
The Wire - p.66
"It's 'jazz' of a kind, only rocked out of shape and bristling with so much energy that no one is ever going to accuse this music of being laid back."
Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant: Adam Levy (guitar); Trevor Dunn (bass instrument); Kenny Wollesen (drums).
Personnel: Mary Halvorson (guitar); Shelley Burgon (harp); Ches Smith (drums).
Additional personnel: Shelley Burgon.
Recording information: Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY (02/18/2004-03/04/2004).
Author: Milan Kundera.
Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant is back for their second album, although with a completely different lineup (besides Dunn, of course). Adam Levy and Kenny Wollesen are gone, replaced by Mary Halvorson on guitar and Ches Smith on drums. The music they play is not so much a fusion of styles as it is a collision of styles. Almost straight-ahead jazz noodling gives way to hardcore blasts and crunching power chords, then completely devolves into Derek Bailey territory, but the band is always together. You can tell that some of it is quite composed, and that other sections are most likely entirely improvised. Dunn plays acoustic bass throughout ("Me Susurra un Secreto" is actually a bass solo), while Halvorson is all over the map sonically, switching between clean and distorted tones, chords, single-string runs, and extended techniques. She also judiciously uses some kind of delay or pitch-bending device to wonderful effect. The tunes are challenging but aren't difficult to listen to, and their cover of Duke Ellington's "The Single Petal of a Rose" (with guest harpist Shelley Burgon) is actually quite pretty. If you've been following Trevor Dunn's widely varied career as a player, you know he's got a sense of adventure, and Sister Phantom Owl Fish will not disappoint. ~ Sean Westergaard