New Mood Suite
(GTH, 2003)

The letter that arrived along with New Mood Suite by Trikus described the music as "an eclectic selection imbued with jazz, world and raw blues in modern sound and instrumentation with a trace of comic relief." And for the most part I'd say that the description fits. Not sure I detect the raw blues and there are a few too many traces of comic relief for my taste. But the eclectic assortment of styles, each grounded in an improvisational jazz setting, has resulted in an interesting, although somewhat scattered, album.

There are some genuine highlights on New Mood Suite. "Ginaroma" is built on an intriguing, worldbeat interplay between bass, flute and percussion that is undermined by unfortunate keyboard flourishes during the first half of the track. "Quite Contree M's B" strips away unnecessary embellishments to spotlight only two musicians, Trikus frontman George Hoar on piano and bass, and Mike Feldman on drums. "Pallete Two" is another minimalist take on Hoar's musicianship, a moody mix of piano and acoustic bass that closes out the album on a high note.

New Mood Suite is at its weakest when the arrangements are most complex. Hoar is a talented bassist and his keyboard playing is strong (particularly when he chooses to sit at the piano) but his choice of keyboard sounds and his denser arrangements left me puzzled. Too many layers of synth frequently give this album a muddy, bogged down sound. The recording would have benefited from a producer with flair for sparer arrangements, someone who could have pared away the excess and achieved a crisper sound.

Overall this Trikus release left me feeling like I'd been listening to a composer's demo reel, an illustration of all the things George Hoar can bring to the table should I be looking for someone to score a television travel series. What New Mood Suite didn't feel like is a cohesive, coherent album.

- Rambles
written by Gregg Thurlbeck
published 28 June 2003