You wonder if Gorge Trio are intentionally trying to alienate their listeners. For "A Comedy in Sun," the first song on their new album, they begin with slightly spastic piano lines somewhere close to the noisy jazz of Cecil Taylor. And then they slash it to pieces with the 10-second track "Memo to an Apparition," a terse clip of guitar feedback and baffling noise, and they follow that with a tranquil jazz interlude, a squawking ensemble performance and abstract blasts of pure percussion—erratic would be putting it gently. In fact, with members of noise deconstructionists such as the Flying Luttenbachers and Colossamite hiding somewhere inside, Gorge Trio are probably one of the most perplexing groups on Skin Graft, a record label with a roster that's already pretty challenging. "Paris Trap" is a guitar arpeggio workout with breakneck drums—behind the angry roar of a hardcore singer, the track could safely land the band a gig at Chain Reaction—and then "Triangles" and "Masks for Quilts" sink into long instrumental freak-outs like John Zorn's Naked City. And finally, they'll try a full-blown opus: "Health Seekers" opens with an anthemic rock riff before launching into an intricate composition that leads into "The Age of Almost Living," an emotional patchwork of cadenced guitar. While most of the album is comprised of calculated plinky-plunky, there are moments of manic ferocity interspersed throughout the record, and it's tracks like this that make wading through the rest of the swamp worth it. (Antero Garcia)
Gorge Trio Perform with Cheval De Frise (from France), Upsilon Acrux and Open City at Koo's, 540 E. Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 491-7584. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $7. All ages.
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