Music Reviews



Mirth + Feckless


I should have known that there would be some Tortoise link to this project. The debut effort from Tricolor, featuring Jeff Parker of Tortoise, David Pavkovic of Boxhead Ensemble, and Tatsu Aoki of the Fred Anderson Trio, is an utterly depressing flop. I’m surprised Atavistic would even want to be associated with this self-indulgent muso nonsense. Mirth + Feckless offers neither of the above, nor any other emotion that I am familiar with, unless you want to count a voidlike somnambulant boredom. Mirth + Feckless is the sound of three men who are “musically proficient” and they know it, and they’re going to push that fact down your throat with an album of utter bollocks. And if you dare to say that you dislike the album, sixty indie boy drones will descend on you with arched eyebrows, saying that “you don’t get it, you don’t appreciate REAL music.” Sounds suspiciously like Yes fans to me. They sound like they’re not even trying, they just phoned the record in to fulfill a contract. Never has the power trio format sounded so fucking pointless.

If Tricolor is an accurate snapshot of the Chicago avant-garde, there are some serious cracks beginning to develop in the foundation. Weasel Walter’s utter contempt of all of his “underground” Chicago-area peers seems less like paranoia and more like the last resort of a sane man every day. The sound quality is almost insultingly low-fi, the guitar tone is about as clear as that of David Berman on the first Silver Jews record, and even he admits that it was shite. Atavistic touts Tricolor as exemplary of “the finest jazz on earth,” which is a blatant lie and if they are not careful, Atavistic is going to find itself saddled with a bunch of artists stylistically closer to Kenny G. than James “Blood” Ulmer. Let’s get past this condescendingly mature, pipe-and-slippers shit already.

Tricolor Music, PO Box 802191, Chicago, IL 60680-2191

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