Radical Empathy Trio – “Reality and Other Imaginary Places” (ESP Disk, 2019)

“Radical Empathy Trio” is based on three great jazz masters – it’s Thollem McDonas (keyboards), Nels Cline (electric guitars) and Michael Wimberly (drums). Musicians are playing together not for a first time – their collective improvisations always are filled with interesting tunes, original decisions and modern expressions. Extended playing techniques, special effects, strange timbres, expansion of sound’s comfort zone and innovative experiments are the main elements of their music. All the main basics of evocative, bright and astonishing improvisations are expressed in “Reality and Other Imaginary Places”.

“Reality and Other Imaginary Places” is a great new release of “Radical Empathy Trio”. The album is fundamentally based on the basics of avant-garde jazz, electronics and experimental music. Synthesized forms, radical decisions, extended playing techniques and sonoristic experiments are used everywhere. That certainly makes an effort to surprising and expressive sound. The main basics of contemporary academical music, electronics and experimental music, as well as academic avant-garde are highly used here and contain the main base of musical pattern. Musicians succesfully create an extraordinary and original instrumental section – it’s completely based on experimental ideas, extended playing techniques, researches, innovative, home-made, specific and original ways of playing. Very well-known and classical ways of playing are combined together with modern innovations and organic integration of strange timbres, special effects and shocking, drastic or radical decisions. Open form is constructed from various types of forms. That makes an effort to spontaneous changes and impressive free improvisations which also are the keys of the musical pattern. Free improvisation is an element which joins together all the compounds – musicians manage to find the best way how to combine sonoristic experiments, traditional and experimental ways of playing, spontaneous changes and their very own and original way of improvising. Piano and other keyboard by Thollem McDonas is the source of energy and drive – the music is moving, bright and luminous, filled with bright contrasts, sudden changes and twisting turns. From ambient, silent, abandonned, depressed or minimalistic samples pianist get on awakening risings, terrific culminations, remarkable transcendental passages and shrieky exclamations. Remarkable and independent melody line is filled with expression and drive, accompagnied by passages, ornaments and other expressions. A gorgeous ornamental texture, colorful background and expressive instrumental section is created, same as bright, contrasting and expressive melody line. When the piano gets on adventurous riffs or full blasts of energy, here also comes strange, dirty, angry, sharp or tiny gorgeous electric guitar. Nels Cline dives in deep, sophisticated and original research of strange timbres and new ways of playing. He integrates his own and original ways of playing and mixing them with traditional and modern playing techniques related to contemporary acasdemical and experimental music. Modifications, alterated timbres, special effects, synth tunes, ambient, glitch or any other electronics are used here together and make a great combo with acoustics. Electric guitar improvisations are filled with original ideas, sonoristic experiments and awakening sound. A mix of rhythms of all ranges, textures, sounds and timbres, as well. Michael Wimberly is showing his best capacities of improvising – he mixes his enchanting virtuosity, original ideas, innovative point of view and driving playing manner to create an original and exclusive rhythmic section. Expressive series, hysteric riffs, bumping rolls, steady beats, monotonous series, breaking sessions, driving solos or sophisticated, lyrical and solemn contemplations are the main compounds of his music. All three musicians manage to create an original and inspiring sound of this album.


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