Trapist"If Trapist are a power trio, they’re running on an ancient car battery rather than the national grid…Brilliant stuff."
– Peter Marsh/BBC
Trapist, a Vienna based trio, is Joe Williamson on bass, Martin Siewert on guitar, and Martin Brandlmayr on drums. The group formed when a friend, Silvia Faessler, invited them to play a concert at the Rhiz in Vienna. That concert and their first meeting became their debut CD on Hat Hut. It was not until several weeks after this first meeting when the group decided to continue working together and came up with their name. The name came from the Trappist fraternity whose devotion is demonstrated by their silence. Restraint is a key word in the Trapist musical vocabulary, thus the name felt like a good fit. They dropped a "p" allowing the word to also make an obtuse reference to trapez, the German word for the free flowing trapeze. Ballroom, their first studio album, was recorded on May 2nd 2002 at Amann Studios in Vienna. The basic tracks were all improvisations (as are their live shows to a high degree). Trapist then brought the recording to their home studios where they overdubbed and drastically edited using instruments including a vibraphone, a collection of analog synthesizers and modulators, as well as a few software-based treatments.
The trio is a group of experienced improvisers who collectively like to explore and question familiar surroundings and contexts for both art and music. They think not only about melodic and emotional elements of music but additionally look at structures and forms. Although the group is relatively young, they already have as individuals an impressive musical resume. Bassist Williamson has collaborated with Han Bennink, Evan Parker, Paul Lovens, Tristan Honsinger, Steve Beresford, Ab Baars, Johannes Bauer, Keith Rowe, Tony Buck, Eugene Chadbourne, Axel Doerner, and Dylan van der Schyff. Guitarist Siewert's collaborations include work with Taku Sugimoto, Wayne Horvitz, Elliot Sharp, Ken Vandermark, Christian Fennez, Kevin Drumm, Gene Coleman, Dean Roberts, Oren Ambarchi to name just a few. Brandlmayr also plays in Radian and has collaborated with Stefan Schneider, Andrea Neumann, Tony Buck, Christof Kurzmann, Nicholas Bussmann, Dean Roberts and Werner Dafeldecker.
Trapist are a trio whose deliberate and spare improvisation show that while they are interested in the sound of silence they have a focused energy that often escapes restraint to reveal angelic melodies resting on sinewy grooves. Their unique blend of sparse improvisation and delicate electronics is a welcome and refreshing change for fans of electronic and free music of all types.