Sound — 9
In an attempt to take the shot gun approach to creativity some bands continue to blast away hoping they eventually hit something. Træben is a dynamic collective from the Netherlands that continues to show exponential growth as they push the harmonic envelope. Is it too late to redefine modern jazz? No... Træben pulls from a myriad of influences including the harmonic movement of music from eastern Europe as well as classical and western improvisational influences and some ambient rock textures. Sounds like a bit much but this is where the release takes off as nothing is overpowering. Træben never gets in their own way but instead carefully nuances their sound into the perfect storm of colors one can hear. "Looking at the Storm" is the modern evolution of one of the finest contemporary jazz ensembles today.
Lyrics — 9
Modern jazz has languished in relative obscurity thanks to a sound that has rarely moved past the glory days some thirty years earlier. "Do You Think They're Any Good?" plays off a deceptively subtle yet rich color palette and embraces a more impressionistic approach of just where this new sound can go. "Darkest Hour" is a carefully constructed swing with an edgy rock like fire burning slightly below the surface. Immediately there is the feel of a collective, four individuals engaged in lyrical conversations and feeding off the ideas that are offered by each co-conspirator. "Half Moon" is a showcase of evocative depth and spatial interplay as the sound morphs into a cerebral realm of enlightenment.
Overall Impression — 9
Each member brings a leader's voice and a spirit of melodic discovery that moves this band into an elite status. As the music industry in the United States continues to be plagued by lagging sales, it is time to end the improvisational cold war and welcome bands like Træben to the American stage.
Træben is part of the bright future of modern jazz and "Looking at the Storm" will hopefully make landfall soon!