The set-up here is letter perfect for what's being done: just piano, bass (and occasional ukelele…!), and drums, allowing tons of space for the trinity to get their groove on while sitting vividly in wide open spaces (Marton Offik engineered the gig like a Kurosawa movie, simultaneously open to the skies while so compressed so that not a note is a micron out of focus). Yellow Meets Red opens the date and is a constantly moving signature, piano dominant but with a upwelling bass going almost solo athwart ceaseless drumwork…and, man, that ending! Then comes the Schoenberg Meets Kandinsky Suite (though the CD cover actually more indicates Mondrian in a color wheel, as does the angularity of the music) in three movements, a good deal more fragmentary yet always mindful of the melody, as abstract as even that is.
Op. 19, No. 3 contains marvelous, even daring, negative spaces within a cerebrally loungey ambience you'd never have heard from Schoenberg's pen, yet Helbock knows just what he's doing, a prolific and depth-oriented composer (he published a 600-page book of music and in 2009 wrote a song a day), and so he carries things over to the next movement, albeit a bit more meatily and with sass. The main voice throughout of course is Helbock's, and the guy's inventive as hell, but Raphael Preuschl (bass) and Herbert Pirker (drums) were well appointed, their work more like two painters constantly limning in the dimensions surrounding the main man.
Aural Colors is jazz, avant-garde, neoclassical, serial caprriccio, and maybe even an unidentifiable mode or two, all in one, Virus Ukelelen Song a spirited example, Preuschl sounding like Percy Jones as Helbock meanders all over the place, Pirker keeping everything centered in a home environment they always return to. AM - Anonymous Monkaholics is just as delirious' as it should be, given the hilarious title, but with a broad humor to it. I suspect the ensemble had the most fun with this one, they couldn't help but!, as it blends carny sideshow with midway promenade and speakeasy antics, even flashes of Guaraldi. There's a lot to hear here, so I suggest you dig a trench, hunker down, and let everything wash over you. It's not like you have a choice, these guys are in control.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2015, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles