Interesting, challenging electronica that sounds fun at the same time.
Stephanie Burkett 2009
The question this abnormally talented trio seem to be posing is this: is the machine half-man or the man half-machine? Through the course of these four fine tracks of broken electronica they only partially provide an answer – but it’s one hell of a debate.
And while there’s an enigmatic shroud of mystery draped over EP2 – the tracks are numbered chronologically from 6 to 9, following the five tracks of EP1; there are no clues as to the identity of these caged beasts, and the only human voice recorded is used as an instrument – it’s both thrilling and strangely moving, and only adds weight to the argument that Three Trapped Tigers are one of the most exciting UK bands to emerge in 2009.
The broken grooves of 6 sound both organic and mechanic, blending computerised hums, clacks and whirrs with a fluidity that recalls legendary bass invader Squarepusher. 8’s frantic explosion of frenzied percussion and laser-guided beeps has a defiantly punk rock edge in its wilful disobedience, changing direction almost randomly and thudding through any number of sounds and tones, but despite such obliqueness it’s testament to their songwriting nous that TTT remain immensely accessible even in the depths of their melodic madness. Conversely, 9 is a plaintive little ditty that twinkles innocently like a lullaby, but flourishes boldly into a sunrise of crashing noise.
But what’s most impressive about EP2 is its warmth and playfulness. They imbue a traditionally cold discipline with real soul, perhaps thanks to their phenomenal musicianship but most probably due to their well-honed skills as live performers bleeding over into the studio output.
It’s a triumph not only of technical know-how – composing, say, the bass-heavy 7 with all its stops and starts and colliding melodies can hardly have been a breeze – but of making interesting, challenging music sound hugely fun at the same time.