Komeshi Trio is play on the members’ surnames – Peter Kolovos on guitar, Patrick Shiroishi on sax, and Noel Meek on electronics and tapes. On The Master Speaks Thrice, they come together with two long pieces of atmospheric and jagged free improvisation. Both tracks were recorded live in Los Angeles in a 10-month period spanning 2017 and 2018.
At first blush, it is striking how Meek’s contributions are out in front. Often the electronics take a background role in group improv settings, but here he serves up harsh walls, sound effects, and high-pitched drones. Kolovos provides distorted chording, spiky notes, and extended techniques, while Shiroishi flutters and squeaks in and about his bandmates. The intensity level and mood varies, but builds when all three play off of one another in crescendos that are concentrated sonic assaults. On the other hand, Kolovos and Shiroishi also duel their way through speed runs and structured wailing.
The overall result is a dense sound that comes off as being from a group bigger than that of a trio. The Master Speaks Thrice is a powerful statement that can add a healthy dash of dissonance to your morning coffee or evening drink. Well done, indeed.
An as an aside, Astral Spirits is a label that has been putting out a consistent run of excellent and innovative releases. They are having a moment in 2019 and hopefully will continue to do so in 2020.