Untrapped Tiger explores sonic freedom.
Adecade into the career of London math rock trio Three Trapped Tigers, Matt Calvert – nominally their guitarist, though he seems increasingly interested in electronica and synths – makes a solo instrumental foray. It’s an intriguing showcase for his diverse talents as he largely eschews gadgetry for acoustic instruments, which then aspire to emulate electronic sounds. Thus strings and woodwind arrive in disguise as drones and glitches: an approach which may sound cerebral on paper, but sounds more engaging among the teases and twists of Typewritten. As musical director for Goldie’s live band, as well as a Heritage Orchestra regular, Calvert can draw on a range of impulses, and the album flits from the classical flavours of Nothing To Envy to Mute Heart’s duel between alt-jazz-funk rhythms, with guitars you might find on a 70s John Martyn album. Harmonics feature heavily, but the overall flow never gets complacent. In fact, the finale of Ghost Ship almost comes as a welcome respite from all the busy work, at last allowing the musician to relax into a breatheeasy, post-hip-hop groove of what was briefly called chillwave or vaporwave. It’s a cool, cool river. CR