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Three Trapped Tigers EP3 Review

EP. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Music without fear, and such audacity should only ever be celebrated.

Mike Diver 2010

What began as an attempt to create a type of music using methods uncommon to the style – IDM via traditional instrumentation of drums and guitars – has flowered into an untitled sub-genre that Three Trapped Tigers can call theirs alone. Yes, there are loose parallels – the frenetic electro-rock of 65daysofstatic, the dubstep-plus of Nedry, F*** Buttons’ bracing layering – but this London-based trio established a startling sound with their debut EP in 2008, and have evolved ever since. And they’ve managed this without falling into a trap typically encountered before this point in a band’s career: predictability.

EP3 is self-descriptive of title. Its tracks follow a precedent set by the two previous entries by being numbered, chronologically; a full-length, demand for which is now high, may break this mould, but for now the consistency of the chosen nomenclature is an appealing trait. One of many, though most aren’t as detectable to the casual observer – this is music that takes time to ingest and enjoy, to process and appreciate as composition of a truly singular convention.

10 makes clear their focus on beat design, on engine-room (poly)rhythms, on this four-track offering, the concluding EP of the series. It builds upon loops of biomechanical chirrups, scratchy screeches and buzzing synth squeals: part Aphex, part Prefuse, yet oddly and wholly TTT. Every time a comparison presents itself, the piece in question shifts its weight, prompting a new element to come to the fore; so, here vocals paint a merry picture atop the squall, only for harmony to be shattered by percussion that strikes with uneven precision, the tempo subject to fluctuation and the flexible structure tethered only by the depth of these musicians’ imaginations.

By eschewing the core rigidity that’s defined much IDM from its dawning with Warp’s Artificial Intelligence onwards (however many the flourishes of enticingly organic sound that has punctuated all from Plaid to Plastikman), TTT don’t further a process: they outline, boldly, one of their own. Throughout EP3, the listener feels as if what’s swimming in their synapses is utterly fresh: cascading melodies entwining and emerging, glistening; plucks and pulses that allow their edges to bleed into another; vocals without words but with absolute reason and purpose, playing as necessary instrumentation within a whole that’s reliant on every single part of the puzzle, however tiny or seemingly rudimentary.  

It’s music without fear, and such audacity should only ever be celebrated.

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