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Battle Trance: Pushing Back Against an Unfocused, Insincere World

Earth, wind, fire

Battle Trance: Matthew Nelson, Patrick Breiner, Jeremy Viner and Travis Laplante
Battle Trance

It was inevitable that jazz-trained musicians would address the angst of life in a digital age. A few years ago, one of the more experimental things a player could do was to turn his acoustic instrument inside out, making it sound like electronics or machinery. That’s what was happening in the circular-breathing suites of saxophonist Colin Stetson or the doomy, gridlocked music of piano trio Dawn of Midi.

These artists didn’t just make staggering music; they created a new repertoire of sounds, tools that hinted at the shared space between sweat and metal. Someone was bound to take those techniques and expand them into something more abstract. Maybe music that’s a little less representational could become a lot more revealing.

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