Trion - Tortoise

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Cyclops
Catalog Number: CYCL 135
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:06:00

When Flamborough Head keyboard player Edo Spanninga gave me a tape containing some ideas for a possible solo album years and years ago, I knew that deep in his mind he had compositions brooding that were not at all compatible with the Flamborough Head material. When the band invested in their very own recording equipment, Edo got together with his brother-in-law Menno Boomsma and fellow FH guitarist Eddie Mulder in order to create an all instrumental project based around the sound of the mellotron. All three musicians could use this recording experience to their own advantage when, in the case of Edo and Eddie, a new Flamborough Head album needs to be recorded or in the case of Menno, to be used towards the advantage of his own band Odyssice.

Adorned with an album cover that could be an original Roger Dean design, even including a clone of the famous Dean logo, and with a short name that comprises both the words trio and tron, please expect authentic, vintage prog sounds spread over eleven new instrumental compositions. However Trion does indeed illustrate that they are most definately a band of the 21st century by no longer using the fragile nature of an authentic mellotron but chosing for the safe harbour of the mellotron samples with sounds of cello, violins, choir, vibe, oboe, organ and flute.

With an interest in glorious names such as PFM, Gryphon, Gentle Giant, Greenslade, Renaissance, Finch, Druid and England next to the more obvious "big" names like Genesis, Yes, Rush, Kansas and Jethro Tull, Trion delivers a melting pot of influences with the attention alternating between guitar and 'tron. That guitar can be both electric and acoustic whilst constantly delivering very catchy melodies as during "The New Moon." The acoustic guitar in "Hindsight" is accompanied by cello sounds from the mellotron because using a real acoustic cello might not be so beneficial towards the end result. As it is, the complete album remains the result of the occasional collaboration between three musicians with the superb mellotron as the backbone.

The opening chords for "Tortoise" kind of sound like an alternative version of the classic Genesis cut "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed" with all attention obviously going towards the mighty sound of the mellotron that delivers a rather "dark" atmosphere here. Eddie's acoustic prowess during the intro for "Jemetrion" reminds me of Anthony Philips whilst it evolves incorporating elements from Druid, Gryphon and Finch and in a way also embodies the flavour of Belgian's mystery band Quies. Towards the end Eddie Mulder slightly becomes Steve Howe displaying some slide guitar as well. Next to the 'longer' tracks also several short pieces on acoustic guitar have been recorded which kind of breaks the album into seperate parts. The intimacy of "Spectrum Of Colours" to me is rather similar to Camel's Snow Goose with all bass duties also delivered by Eddie. Although the music of Trion is different to that of Flamborough Head, the album does end with the sound of the crow so the link with FH's latest album One For The Crow is nevertheless made. Trion has made it clear not to perform live with this project whilst Tortoise started out as a test for the recording equipment of the band. The end result surely is something to be proud of both where recording quality and compositions is concerned. For sure a classic of the future!

Tortoise (5:25) / The New Moon (7:59) / Hindsight (3:33) / Radiation Part 1 (1:27) / Jemetrion (6:05) / Radiation Part 2 (1:16) / The Seagulls (5:53) / Hurt (1:47) / Tribulation (7:03) / Spectrum Of Colours (3:17) / Endgame (5:39)

Edo Spanninga - flute, oboe, strings, organ, cello, vibe, Mellotron samples, Elka leslie
Eric Mulder - acoustic and electric guitars, bass
Menno Boomsma - drums

Tortoise (2003)
Pilgrim (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin NL

Added: December 14th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

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Language: english


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