33.3 - 33.3

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Aesthetics
Catalog Number: AST11CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 36:31:00

Photo: copyright 1999, courtesy Autotonic33.3 are a trio based in New Haven, Connecticut (where they're studying at Yale), a trio consisting of drums (Steven Walls), guitar (Brian Alfred) and cello (Dominique Davison).

Overall, 33.3's sound falls somewhere between ambient and rock ... not quite being either. There are slow, evolving sonic passages characteristic of ambient, and the crisp guitar lines and rhythmic percussion of rock. Most of the music is understated, sometimes drifting below the surface, sometimes rising above it...it undulates. That's the best way to describe it. There are also moments of sonic exploration, as on the outro to "Coalesce." Imagine the sound of a distance hive coming together, or flies gathering.

The most active and up front track is "Quilted Giraffe"...there are moments here when the cello gets into a Jethro Tull like groove...an acoustic Jethro Tull like groove a la "The Teacher." Of the tracks here, this one seems the most dynamic and diverse.

While their sound is in no way influenced by Marillion (or maybe not even Tull, for that matter), Brian Alfred's guitar notes ring out crisp and clear like Steve Rothery's do...this particular track "Rancho Diablo," could be an acoustic jam session by Marillion, though. Which is to say, that it feels improvised on the one hand, unfinished on the other, as if this is just the basic tracks...the testing phase so to speak. The cello is really the lead instrument as the guitar notes provide accompaniment and the drums keep it together. It's pleasant, maybe a bit overlong as there isn't much variation.

"Sine Curve" is a slow, arching number...like a...sine curve...slowly undulating, with understated cello lines, gentle picked guitar notes, and soft percussion...melancholy soundtrack music...the movie played out in slow motion. There is a great depth of feeling in the cello lines, a sense of sadness.

The guitar takes the lead on the next track, and cello, at first, sounds like a vocal, a rich, but reedy tone. Actually, this isn't that much unlike the previous track, only played a little faster, with the percussion a bit punchier.

Most of this album is low key, minimalist, sparse...rather dry at times. This might be described as acoustic ambient (given that most ambient these days are digital)...and yet, out of this quiet swirling sound the guitars and drums suddenly rise up to the surface...but again, they don't sound any different than any other track.

Davison cello playing is perhaps the most attractive feature here...resonating, sonorous...often times very throaty and raw...it serves the role of vocals at times.

The closing of the last track, "Disperse," can easily summed up thusly: a Jedi knight swatting...no, dispersing flies with his lightsabre... meaning that the most dominate sound is this vibrating, oscillating hum.

Miles (5:28) / Coalesce (3:47) / Quilted Giraffe (2:27) / Sacco & Vanzetti (1:53) / Latex Matrix (6:09) / Rancho Diablo (6:34) / Sine Curve (4:17) / Window Treatment (2:17) / Disperse (3:39)

Brian Alfred - guitars
Steve Walls - drums
Dominique Davison - cello

33.3 (1999)

Genre: Experimental

Origin US

Added: September 7th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 1889
Language: english


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