FAME Review: Crothers, Filiano, & Wolper - TranceFormation in Concert
Crothers, Filiano, & Wolper - Trance<em>Formation</em> in Concert

TranceFormation in Concert

Crothers, Filiano, & Wolper

New Artists Records - Na1054CD

Available from New Atrists Records online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Back when I used to write for I/E and Signal to Noise, I'd occasionally be invited to review avant-garde concerts of free, experimental, and outside musics, genres I'd developed a real taste for but which I also well understood were far more precarious forms than most grasped them to be. As with any genre, there's a good deal more mediocre music, and worse, in that field. To excel in it, one must possess a true and palpably unconstrained creativity governed only by finely honed aesthetics cybernetically attuned in ensemble that can be spontaneously unleashed. In that rare environment, I usually cite Morphogenesis (esp. the mindblowing debut), Copernicus, Circle, Jarrett's solo improvs, Trummerflora, The Exiles (no, not the hideously commercial Kentucky group Exile, God no!), and a double handful of other estimables as exemplary. Well, now you can add this trio, Crothers, Filiano, & Wolper to the too short role call.

I can't tell you how many times I tried to locate a frontman/woman in this disc, but there is none. More than once, Connie Crothers' tinkly, crazed, surrealistic piano demanded I laud its favor, but then Andrea Wolper outdid LaBarbera and Monk, squashing the entreaty, forcing a reconsideration as her burbling, squeeling, oral precussives, and stream-of-consciousness rants spun the cut around in its tracks, so I thought "Okay, her, that's the one, there's the center!". But then I tried imagining any of the songs without Ken Filiano's peripatetic bass and bowing, and that didn't work either. Ahhhhhhhh, joy of joys!, I understood I'd chanced across a true trio never out of synch, alive and connected, thinking and playing on its feet in existentially fractured harmony. Rare, y'all, rare.

Like Cage's solo piano works, I can play this stuff all the time and never get tired of it, though the neighbors just might call in those bastards in the white suits…again. Man, are those guys condescending! This time, though, I'll be ready for 'em 'cause TranceFormation is hellishly more infectious than they'll be able figure out until its too late. Just as they're breaking down the front door, I'm gonna twist the volume up and just sit back as they approach, corporate-slave mouths muttering "C'mon, guy, that's a good boy. Just stay there and…hey, where'd all the butterflies and nice colors come from? Prrrrretty! Okay, okay, just stay calm, guy, and…whoa, how come I feel like taking off all my clothes and running through streets strewing flowers and eating ice cream??? Uh…um…just sit still…and…and…hey, wouldja mind turning that up just a bit, bro, and do ya have any beers, and what the hell am I doing in this monkey suit attendant on The Man's will anyway, hm? Isn't this the United States of Anarchy???"

Yep, In Concert is that kinda disc, a pure heady freak-out in a jazz a-v vein for over 50 ecstatic minutes, a cascade of rapidly shifting moods, most of them Dalinian, paranoid-critical and edge-sensual but emanating from a loopily smiling lysergic genie in the skies and thus benevolent; it ain't The Swans or Merzbow but it's just as radical.

Track List:

  • The Same Moon
  • When Souls Run Around in the Night
  • The Fifth Stone
  • The Things You See in New York City
  • Whale Song
  • Lines and Circles, Squared
  • Love Within a Time of Turbulence
  • Sea Island Sometimes
All music is spontaneous improvisation and thus composed in the
best anarcho-democratic tradition by Crothers / Filiano / Wolper.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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