A Triggering Myth – The Remedy Of Abstraction (2006)

FrontCover1The band was formed in 1989 by Rick Eddy and Tim Drumheller, an American duo of multi-instrumentalists who handle keyboards, guitars, percussions, flute and trumpet, although they regularly enlist the contribution of talented guest musicians on drums and percussion. Heavily keyboard based (especially the piano), their style is a curious mixture of jazz, rock and classical (symphonic) music with dark, mysterious overtones without being sinister – more like suspenseful. Even when the guys kick into high gear the atmosphere remains tension-filled. As far as comparisons go, names such as GENTLE GIANT, VDGG or ELP have surfaced but none truly convey the originality of this twosome, whose sublime interplay and strong emphasis on counterpoint cleverly blends all of these bands’ styles and more, resulting in a unique contemporary sound of its own.

Their music seems to become more unusual and complex with every new output. Their second album, ‘Twice Bitten”, already shows much maturity over their self-titled debut, both in playing and in composition. Their second and third releases, “Between Cages” and “The Sins of our Saviours”, continue somewhat in the same vein whereas their fifth, “Forgiving Eden”, is a single 43:32-minute suite divided into several movements. A superb work of art where the addition of guitarist Scott McGill and drummer Vic Stevens infuse the music with still more fusion elements.

If you like music that is particularly unconventional, even unpredictable, you’ll be in Canterbury heaven with this band’s material: a rich production of music that boldly dares to diverge from the conventional rock formulas. (progarchives.com)

A Triggering Myth01With a solid back-up such as the one provided by the threesome McGill, Stevens and Manning (usual partners in ceaseless jazz-rock album and projects), plus violinist extraordinaire Akihisa Tsuboy (KBB leader), the duo of Tim Drunheller and Rick Eddy could only have in mind a powerful A Triggering Myth album for this year 2006. And so they did: “The Remedy of Abstraction” is perhaps their most robust-sounding album to date. And that doesn’t not mean at all that they left behind their ideology of jazz- oriented prog full of finesse and exquisite craftsmanship: what it means is that this same exquisiteness portrays now an invigorated feel, a more energetic approach. That being said, the two keyboardists’ input stands as the ensemble’s main core, with the enthusiastic guests elaborating a continuing solid complementation for the basic harmonics and melodic lines. As always, the references to Happy the Man, Gilgamesh and National Health are there, with added touches of mid-70s Return to Forever and Gentle Giant’s academic side. ‘Now that My House Has burned Down, I Have a Beautiful view of the Moon’ (a long title that inspired the artwork) kicks off the album with an air of sophistication and strength. With a little more of sophistication and just a little less of strength, the title track emerges as a flow of evocative melodies. The leads played by guitarist McGill and violinist Tsubay help to bring some extra energy into the RickEddywarm colors provided by the synthesizers’ main lines. Still more warmth, this time seasoned with gentle melancholy, is in the aptly titled ‘Her Softening Sorrow’, which is typical ATM exploring their gentler side. The legacy of Canterbury’s legend Gowen comes to mind whenever the ATM guys display their melodic sense with this sort of depth. ‘Not Even Wrong’ feels more related to Jean-Luc Ponty’s 70s albums with a touch of Mahavishnu Orchestra: this is the perfect excuse to let Tsubay, once again, provide excellent violin flourishes to the front, at times. Tracks 2-4 are, IMHO, the apex of the album, although it is fair to say, indeed, that the repertoire keeps a high musical standard all the way through. The excitement found in this piece will soon be reprised in ‘Shakespeare’s Strippers’, where McGill takes the leading role somewhere in the middle, doing a well-accomplished Holdsworth impersonation in an amazing solo. McGill is appropriately replicated by the synth during the last part, making it one of the most explosive passages in the album. Between these two tracks, ‘Rudyard’s Raging Natural’ offers a recapitulation of the first two numbers’ Tim Drumhellerarticulated sophistication, while ‘The Eisenhour Slumber’ retakes sonic ventures into melancholic moods. ‘When Emily Dickinson Learned to Lounge’ sort of prolongs this melancholic vibe, but it also includes some disturbing dissonant keyboard input that creates an interestingly uneasy atmosphere, like some sort of delicate prelude to a mysterious nightmare. The last 2 ½ minutes are filled by the closing number, ‘The Last Resort’, which serves as a playful epilogue (something that Kerry Minnear would have written after listening to Canterbury for three hours in a row. so to speak). General balance: “The Remedy of Abstraction” is one of the most accomplished recordings of 2006, and it sure will keep the good fame of ATM among prog-connoisseurs and jazz-rock fans worldwide intact, or even enhanced. A masterpiece, indeed! (Cesar Inca)


Tim Drumheller (keyboards)
Rick Eddy (keyboards, guitar, poetry
Michael Manring (bass)
Scott McGill (guitar)
Vic Stevens (drums, percussion)
Akihisa Tsuboy (violin)

A Triggering Myth02

01. Now That My House Has Burned Down, I Have a Beautiful
View of the Moon 5.17
02. The Remedy of Abstraction 8.00
03. Her Softening Sorrow 8.19
04. Not Even Wrong 8.07
05. Rudyard’s Raging Natural 2.37
06. Shakespeare’s Strippers 5.01
07. The Eisenhour Slumber 4.42
08. When Emily Dickinson Learned To Lunge 8.16
09. The Last Resort 2.40

Music: Tim Drumheller & Rick Eddy
Poetry: Rick Eddy