Alex Fournier has been deep into music studies for a long time. I’m not going to go through all his schooling but let's just say Fournier went deep. I myself went to school for music and know how deep it can run. There is absolutely no reason to go deep into music studies if you want to make pop music. I would also say this is the case for ninety-nine percent of rock, hip-hop and folk. The genres that tend to incorporate sophisticated musical ideas are jazz and classical. Take for instance avant garde jazz group Chicago Art Ensemble of the classical pianist Glenn Gould. You get to hear similar levels of complexity on Triio.
The six songs on this release are what I would consider free jazz. I’ll be blunt if you do listen to a lot of pop music and prefer songs where there is a repetitive melody you can sing along to this may take some time to get used to. There is actually a podcast called Mindscape where one of the guests, Indre Viskontas, who is a musician and neuroscientist explains that if you don’t like a genre like opera or free jazz there's a good chance that the reason why is because you haven’t heard enough of it. It may seem like on the surface that this is a bad reason but songs from groups like The Beatles and Nirvana are good to so many people because there are variations of simple, repetitive melodies that we have been consuming since we were young.
The songs on Triio are not simple and not repetitive. They are arrangements that seamlessly integrate complicated time signatures, tempos and patterns. There is dissonance, polyrhythms and much more that goes against expectations. It can sound chaotic, manic and even just like noise to some people.
You may have noticed I have not mentioned a single song and this is a rare case where I don’t need to pick out details. There is simply too much and if I were to transcribe it would take a small book to complete.
Perhaps one of the reasons jazz doesn't get a good wrap with the general public is that it doesn't hit upon a lot of the specific emotional axioms a lot of other genres do. A good pop song elicits an emotional response that doesn't take much effort. It can make you feel happy or sad or something else by the lyrics and music. For most people it’s not about what chords are being played or a time signature. The songs on Triio are different. The emotional residue is less clear. It’s ambiguous and I would argue it is more musician’s music. There is a level of appreciation that happens when you understand what the musicians are doing and that in its own way turns into its own emotion.
I encourage you take more than a listen to this music. If you aren’t familiar with the genre I would say to hold off judgement at first because there are many treasures to be found between the weeds.
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