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Sensaround is an Australian-Scottish electro-acoustic trio, featuring Sydney-based keyboards player Alister Spence, known as the leader of his own piano trio (with bass player Lloyd Swanton from The Necks); Canberra-based samplers players and the head of the hellosQuare label Shoeb Ahmad and Glasgow-based sax player Raymond MacDonald, a music and psychology scholar and one of the leaders of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. Spence and MacDonald recorded an impressive duo album, «Stepping Between The Shadows» (Rufus, 2012), before they teamed with Ahmad as the Sensaround trio and recorded the trio debut studio album, «Isotropes» (hellosQuare, 2014. «Travelogue», the trio sophomore album, offers a selection of live recordings from the Australian tour of the trio on August 2015.

The live setting stresses the trio expansive sonic palette and free-flowing interplay in real time. The first short pieces, «Windeyer (a)» and «Windeyer (b)» sketch weird, loose textures that blend improvised ambiance, fractures rhythms that sound as made of simple toys, distant dub and spacey atmosphere. Surprisingly, both pieces sound melodic and engaging. The 29-minutes «Brunswick» deepens the ambient vein and enables the trio to sculpt a slow-cooking, unsettling texture. Here electronic bleeps, disturbing percussive touches, resonating and sustained Fender Rhodes sounds and sax musings that alternate between meditative and nervous one gel organically into a cinematic narrative. Patiently Sensaround builds the tension until the intense, noisy coda. MacDonald leads the final piece «Colbourne», soloing with a touching, melodic theme, gently abstracted with peaceful electronic tones light percussive colors. A beautiful conclusion to an arresting journey in sounds and textures.

Eyal Hareuveni 

Alister Spence (Fender Rhodes, pedals, perc), Raymond MacDonald (as, ss), Shoeb Ahmad (Boss SP-202 and SP 303 samplers, pedals)

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