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Out Note Records Record Label - Outnote Records: "Embracing contemporary musical expression throughout the entire contemporary landscape of creative music, OUTNOTE aims to transcribe the stimulating aesthetic vitality of our age faithfully and in the finest detail..."
Release Date: 2013-11-19

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LABtrio: Fluxus / on Outnote Records

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Fluxus takes its root from the word flux: (noun) a state of continued flow; constant or frequent change. In the artists’ own words, it “represents the flow, the evolution we have experienced since the formation of LABtrio in May 2007,” back when they were in high school. Since then, LABtrio has gone on an award- and prize-winning streak, which most notably includes a double-win at the prestigious Avignon Tremplin Jazz festival in 2011, having snatched Audience Prize and Grand Prize. These wins in no small part seeded the opportunity to record a debut album.

And for this album, the adventure begins like life began on Earth. The rhythm section introduces a tumultuous dialogue while Bram De Looze on Rhodes alternates between tense and saturated textures - the organic building blocks for musical evolution. The mood is primordial and intriguing; avant-garde but tonal. LABtrio slowly develops complexity, unity and melodic ingenuity until the music is fertile and ready to dance in an ecological coherence.

From this intimate minimalist introduction, they then dive into a driving jazz tune, “Plan B”, available to be heard in the sidebar along with two other tracks - a generous offering from the label and artists! “Plan B” stars the fantastic piano playing of Bram De Looze in a more traditional jazz idiom and Lander Gyselinck in an absorbing drum solo influenced by African sounds and rhythms. It’s also a prime example of how tight the group is, showcased during the collectively played theme. All-around stunning musicianship.

Throughout the album, lyrical melodies and grooves take inspiration from various genres; deeply rooted in the great tradition of the jazz piano trio and attuned to current musical styles, reflecting a young generation’s culture. “We three share a schizophrenic taste in music, finding ourselves on the four borders of jazz, contemporary classical music, pop, and alternative electronic dance music.” LABtrio exploit this characteristic in order take interesting unexpected directions, keeping their audience on their toes and in the palms of LABtrio’s hands. For example, “Maple Syrup” takes full advantage of the Rhodes’ colors to give us a sweet venture into funk land. The drive is based on the sovereign bass of Anneleen Boehme, which develops over a large part of the song into a kind of solo, combining phrasing with the maintained groove.

The music sells itself, though I will advise most listeners that Fluxus ripens with each listen, and perhaps requires you to approach with diligence. After all, “entertainment is easier than art.” (Paul Ballyk) But when you’re struck by LABtrio’s cohesiveness and profound musicality, stop and remember that these three are in their early twenties. What’s next for them? I’m eager to find out!