Truby Trio embody everything that is sleek and polished about the European jet-set lifestyle. It’s rather sickening, actually. First of all, there’s Rainer Truby himself, the widely-hailed king of nu-jazz fusion and personal favorite DJ of downbeat tastemaker Gilles Peterson. Rounding out the Trio are Christian Prommer and Roland Appel, otherwise known as Fauna Flash, whose full-length album, Fusion, was released last year to critical praise. Working with Peter Kruder (of Kruder & Dorfmeister fame), Prommer and Appel are steadily gaining recognition for their deep, dubby atmospherics recorded under the Voom:Voom guise. Meanwhile, in addition to remixing tracks from Kruder’s delectable side project, Peace Orchestra, Truby still finds the time to team up with Kruder and Peterson in Ibiza every summer for long nights of sophisticated debauchery. And of course, Truby Trio are signed to Compost Records, the nearly faultless Munich-based label known for its high quality output, which melds elements from jazz, Brazilian beat, house, and drum’n’ bass into unique and well-crafted songs. Basically, these boys are golden, and they prove their worth here with a lovely contribution to the popular DJ Kicks series.
From the start, Truby Trio establish a mood and allow it to develop slowly. After lingering over the soothing sounds of a lonesome saxophone solo bathed in hazy organ chords in Conjure’s “Medley”, the Trio slide into “High Jazz”, their own dense and richly textured composition. Each layer of percussion ducks and weaves amongst the constantly shifting accents, taking hold and teasing the listener with glimpses of jazz piano licks here, spoken word snippets there, and soft waves of sound in between.
For the most part, each cut stands tall on its own, linked easily due to the Trio’s acute ear for continuity. An arresting bassline in “High Jazz” evolves effortlessly into the backing for Block 16’s shimmering, bossa-licked number, while bouncy keyboard work and sci-fi lasers in Slowsupreme’s “Granada” play against a contemplative melodic line and distorted sighs. As the mix swells, Truby Trio throw in increasingly up-tempo tracks. Naturally, as they are purveyors of high-class schmooze, the tempo is never such that one would feel compelled to throw one’s limbs haphazardly around on the dance floor. Even the supremely funky “One and the Same” by Modaji seems like just the thing to dance to without working up any unsavory perspiration, what with the swaggering, purposeful strings, groovy b-line and soulful vocals over a rambling acoustic guitar, eliciting a sense of retro nostalgia and controlled exuberance.
This mix peaks on a high note that perfectly captures Truby Trio’s aesthetic. Tim Hutton’s “Colours”, rerubbed by the Freeform Five, is a stunning, tasty slice of loungey brilliance, twisting the relatively sedate sounds of niteclub jazz into a pleasing combo of savvy piano, playful flute, and deep house. Using this track as leverage, the Trio descend into darker, moodier tunes, throwing the somewhat repetitive and static sounds of Voom:Voom’s “Ginger & Fred” against stuttered beats and off-kilter synth lines courtesy of their recent single “Galicia”.
Capping off this mélange of sound is Fauna Flash’s “Tel Aviv”, a smart, assertive house tune with subtle Latin rhythms, warm sax, and mellow overtones, perfectly evocative of smoke-filled lounges full of plush couches, bottle service, and sharply dressed VIPs. But what, then, does one expect from the reigning kings of class? Their contribution to the DJ Kicks series makes a strong statement for the group, branding their name on home speakers across the world with their distinctive musical blend. This is electronic fusion at its best, speaking through music of the powerful synergism between Latin, house, and jazz. An essential purchase, Truby Trio’s DJ Kicks has the potential to set dance floors abuzz and to dazzle even the most jaded world traveler.