In the fall of 2008 Tonos Triad formed and today consists of Aaron Ransdell (upright bass), Rod Schindler (mandolin, accordion, percussion) and Luke Stanley (guitar). They just released an exceptional five-song EP entitled Three, which combines acoustic based jazz with gypsy-folk funk that is so easy on the ears. The last part of that sentence explaining that it is easy on the ears can't be emphasized enough. The overall milieu is warm and nestles your ears with frequencies that lie in the lower mid-range. The music is perfect for playing in the background while you are getting work done but if you focus your attention it is brimming with details and nuances that may go unnoticed.
The members of Tonos Traid are technical wizards at their respective instruments but it is clear from the beginning of the EP that they are more interested in presenting aesthetically pleasing qualities. Take for example the first track “Dadgonnit.” It opens with back door New Orleans style blues guitar that while it is technically impressive is also something you just want to tap your foot to. As the song progressed they stray away from the blues. The upright has a couple of shining moments as Ransdell slides up and down the neck.
“Classic Sampler” is a stylistic deviation from the first and introduces a sublime accordion into the mix. The music itself is a unique take on Portuguese gypsy folk that could be compared to a group like Madredeus. There are a number of elegant moments in this song and a personal highlight for me.
“Stumbleweeds” features some of the most notable guitar playing on the EP while “Jimi Cobain” is a smooth jazz inspired tune that lets all three of the members flex their muscles a little bit. They leave the most technically proficient song “Bobby Deuce Theme” for last. The band increases the BPM here and there are several sections that are worth playing back a number of times.
If you are looking for catchy choruses you won’t find them here. This is a stylistic fusion of genres that showcases the instrumental possibilities within a three-piece. It’s an enjoyable listen that I will be repeating quite often.
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