Yet another outstanding piano trio makes its debut with Orbits.
The Netherlands based group Sputnik3 owes its name to a philosophy of
musical exploration inspired by that famous Russian satellite. The
classically trained pianist Loran Witteveen, bassist Stefan Lievestro
and Belgian native Raf Vertessen on drums, deftly work their way through
Vertessen's complex compositions, each layering on their individual
ideas to create a program that is very fresh and different.
At the outset, "What About You" draws comparison to the more acoustic side of the Esbjorn Svensson
Trio, with their percussive, rock-fueled treatment. "Array" is a fine
example of Vertessen's through-composed writing as it moves from a slow,
pensive opening to a pop melody and on to a more rock-influenced
conclusion. "MRI" combines melody and abstraction as Witteveen's notes
rapidly cascading around the lyrical anchor of Lievestro's deep,
In "Brains," "Andromeda" and "Towell of Powell"
we have compositions that employ odd meters and changing tempos that
seem to effortlessly find their way back to common ground. Sputnik3—and
Witteveen, in particular—convey their classical affinity on "Skizz" as
the piece maneuvers through traditional and avant-garde passages. By
comparison, "Spleen" is a bop romp, and the closest Sputnik3 comes to a
fully structured composition. More typical of Orbits is the very loosely arranged "Hit & Run" and the darkly lyrical "Farewell of Siam" which closes the album.
and Lievestro have plenty of solo opportunities while Vertessen is more
focused on knitting together and balancing the many layers in each
composition. The individual contributions of the trio resonate with
hollow tones and gently lurching momentum. The music is challenging but
accessible and the rhythmic elucidations and idiosyncratic phrasing make
the transformation between a simply enjoyable set to a truly unique
Track Listing: What About You; Array; Brains; MRI; Skizz; Spleen; Andromeda; Towel of Powell; Hit & Run; Farewell of Siam.