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Trapist: Ballroom

The three Austrians who make up Trapist have been remarkably efficient in their short history together. The trio’s debut recording, Highway My Friend (Hatology), was made at its debut performance (recorded in 2000; released in 2002). Guitarist/electronics manipulator Martin Siewert and drummer Martin Brandlmayr then teamed up for 2003’s Too Beautiful to Burn (Erstwhile), and those two records caused a bit of a stir in the small circle of electro-acoustic improvisation enthusiasts.

For its second album, Ballroom, Trapist moved to Chicago’s Thrill Jockey label. The band’s name was inspired, in part, by the Trappist concept of devotion through silence. (They chose to drop the extra “p” so the word would be a reference to the German word for a free-flowing trapeze.) And while the recording opens and, nearly 50 minutes later, closes with the austere and isolated sound of Siewert’s guitar, in between Ballroom is far from silent. The trio blends its own delicate, slow-dancing acoustic improvisations with a remarkably nuanced field of electric hums, static and flutter-tones.

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