Mole: RGB

Virtuosity and strong tunes make for a winning combination.

TODO alt text

If Mole’s 2012 RareNoise debut What’s The Meaning? was an expansive album, its follow-up is a more pared-back affair.

Led by pianist Mark Aanderud (whose playing graces The Mars Volta’s Octahedron), the South American unit have dispensed with the shading provided by American guitarist David Gilmore in favour of the primary palette of piano, bass and drums. Emerging from the mists of Hernan Hecht’s cymbals and cloudy harmonics via Stomu Takeishi’s bass, Aanderud’s delicately trickling notes eventually coalesce and gather into the chilled-out Sub-All. Such stately themes often sound more akin to a brooding post-rock opus than the usual discursive interplay of

a jazz trio. With less focus on individual expression, attention’s directed to crafting an atmosphere of sustained reflection. Of course, there are plenty of dramatic gear shifts. Freelance is typical of the infectiously catchy vibe Aanderud injects into his compositions, while Reasons’ smartly syncopated off-kilter beats rock out against the surging riptide of tumultuous, chopping piano. Silly as it sounds, at times it’s like listening to ELP recast as a fiery, acoustic instrumental trio.