The Call Within
Tigran Hamasyan’s fourth Nonesuch release harks back in some way to his first, 2015’s Mockroot, in that it finds the astonishing young pianist in trio mode, in the company once again of Swiss drummer Arthur Hnatek. On electric bass is the virtuoso Evan Marien, filling the shoes of his predecessor Sam Minae. The writing is staggeringly complex and ambitious, the band’s execution tight and unerring. Hamasyan’s work is packed with a level of micro-detail that seems almost unplayable, with racing tempos and melodic lines, staggered irregular rhythms and advanced, imaginative harmony that makes for a music rich in mood, far from mere flash. Acoustic piano is at the heart of it, but Hamasyan creates a colorful array of electronic textures and also sings and even whistles, with a quality of articulation rooted in the culture of his native Armenia (a common thread in the widely varied Hamasyan discography). Guitarist Tosin Abasi, of the instrumental metal band Animals As Leaders, guests on the crushing “Vortex,” while “At a Post” and “37 Newlyweds” serve as palate cleansers, episodes of alluring calm.