Review: Group of Three – Group of Three (God in the Music, Jan 27)

Much like the first release from New Zealand artist Noel Meek’s God in the Music imprint, the owner/operator’s own collaborative tape with Yan Jun (Mirror One, reviewed here back in March of 2021), the self-titled debut from newly minted trio Group of Three is an enthralling, unforgettable piece of instantaneous creative music. Featuring Meek on no-input mixer and various horns, Sean Martin Buss on strings, more horns, and objects, and John O’Connor on percussion, the single untitled track that comprises their first recorded outing both slowly seeps like steam with abstract freely improvised reticence and heavily tramples like a steamroller with the unhinged, muscular volatility of the best of small-ensemble brut-jazz. The three well-tuned musicians are patient and contemplative, always listening and reacting, and yet the music moves between the two aforementioned stylistic poles with speed and fluidity; take the bit about 15–20 minutes in for example, when Meek and Buss are both torturing their brass and O’Connor’s malleted toms are lumbering forth in a magnificent stampede—until they aren’t, and it’s just careful plunks and squealing NIMB and clattering strings… until it isn’t, and a sudden bout of snare abuse leads the rest into earth-scorching chaos. Spectacular stuff, and it only gets better on repeated listens when you can look between the more noticeable moments and find the nuances etched in every second of interaction.

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