Troyka – Ornithophobia
Troyka are an experimental British trio who make rich and enthralling instrumental music. Featuring Kit Downes (once Mercury nominated in his own right) on hammond/synths, Chris Montague on guitar/loops and Josh Blackmore on drums, Troyka is far more than the sum of its parts and is definitely not your usual Hammond organ trio.
Ornithophobia is the London three-piece’s third studio album – their first for Naim – and truly marks the fruition of five years’ worth of musical experimentation. Influenced by the likes of Tim Berne, Aphex Twin, Deerhoof, Albert King and Flying Lotus, their music is intense, ambitious and iconoclastic. Unpredictable, yet catchy, melodies woven into complex time signatures may be a trade mark of the trio at full swing, but it is the flavours of textural beds, polyrhythmic post-dance, haunting trip-hop and atmospheric post-rock that make this record a sensation of the heart as well as the mind.
Having self-produced all of their records to date, it was Troyka’s bold decision to invite Petter Eldh to produce and mix the album, that truly solidified the diverse, dynamic and discerning edge of Ornithophobia. Swedish producer Eldh (himself a seasoned musician, playing bass for Django Bates and Marius Neset) mixed the album at his home in Berlin. The potency of the electronic and experimental music scene of the German capital positively seeps into Troyka’s creations as a result. This is most evident on Life Was Transient and Troyka Smash, in which Eldh takes acoustic recordings of the band and resamples the performances into entirely different compositions, whilst losing none of the essential Troyka sound.
The album’s title, Ornithophobia, was first inspired by guitarist Chris’ fear of birds. This became the aptly chaotic groove of the album’s title track, which, in turn escalated into an album set in a fictionalised London; a post-apocalyptic dystopian nightmare in which people have contracted a form of avian flu that is slowly turning them into human-size birds and gradually making them lose their minds. If this sounds like the stuff of comics, then you’re not far off, as the album artwork encompasses a dark, comic book storyboard, featuring our heroes Troyka, created by artist Naiel Ibarrola.
Label: Naim Jazz
Catalogue Number: NAIMCD210
Release Date: 26 January 2015