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The loosely descriptive genre label “nu-jazz” (not to be confused with acid jazz or fusion), has the potential to scare away listeners with its promise of clanging dissonant pianos, frenetic bass-lines and migraine-inducing drum scatterings.  Well, all of these musical traits are present here, but this is not a repulsive record, in fact it’s quite captivating. The man leading the team here is Tom O’Halloran, a respected Sydney jazz experimentalist, who has a day job as keyboardist for pop-folk idol Pete Murray. O’Halloran’s trip has a dark and complex sound, the bass and ivories twisting around one another like fighting snakes, occasionally fusing into surprising turns of melody and off-kilter grooves. O’Halloran messes with electronics here as well as the piano, giving a sophisticated white-noise element that works very well in the cacophony of arty ramblings the trio are locked into. Most impressive is the epic Mosaic, with a chaotic staccato motif that subtly gets under your skin as the piece progresses through its mood swings. This isn’t for the faint-hearted listener; Tom and his trio have given us a challenging instrumental record which requires great concentration to enjoy, but if you spend the time with it, will reveal intriguing and moving delights hidden in its layered madness.

***1/2