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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Dry Thrust - The Less You Sleep (Trost, 2023)

By Eyal Hareuveni

The Less You Sleep sounds like it was conceived during an insomniac night full of nervous visions. This is the long-awaited debut album of the Viennese cross-generational trio Dry Thrust featuring experienced and highly inventive improvisers and sonic explorers - Germany-born Georg Gräwe, in one the rare occasions that he plays only the organ instead of the piano, who is known as the leader of the Sonic Friction Orchestra and has collaborated with Anthony Braxton, Joëlle Léandre, Marilyn Crispell, Evan Parker and Frank Gratkowski among many others, composer of three operas, founder of the Random Acoustic label and a visual artist who did the cover artwork; and generation younger, guitarist and electronics player Martin Siewert, known from the Radian trio and the duo Also with drummer Katharina Ernst, who is also in-demand recording engineer, who recorded this album and mixed and mastered it.; and drummer Dieter (aka DD) Kern, known from the free improv trio DEK with Austrian pianist Elisabeth Harnik and Chicagoan hero Ken Vandermark, as well as from the local alternative bands Bulbul and Fuckhead.

The Less You Sleep was recorded over three days in June 2020 and offers ten concise and brutal pieces that push Dry Thrust to its extreme limits. Gräwe sounds like a free jazz incarnation of the late Keith Emerson, extracting weird and otherworldly sounds from the organ. Siewert is a mad scientist who enhances the sonic spectrum of the electric guitar with his electronics set-up, and Kern keeps all on their toes with his fractured but powerful rhythmic patterns. But these idiosyncratic musicians are masters of the art of the moment. Their vocabulary is infinite, and they know how to play with abstract sounds and pulses, keep a positive tension and feed each other with completely unpredictable but always intriguing ideas.

Some of the pieces like “Vagaries I“ and “Afterburner” even suggest nightmarish, futurist cinematic visions. But “Wet Engine” and “Casimir Dynamics” takes a turn to the past and sound like a joyful collision of fusion with prog-rock, with generous doses of noisy distortion. It would be interesting to see this experimental trio plays live as it develops its powerful dynamics.