Alternate Realities

West Side Trio

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The West Side Trio is an Electric String Trio formed by Annie Tangberg (Cello, Effects & Vocals), Vera van der Bie (Violin, Effects & Vocals) and Rani Kumar (Viola, Effects & Vocals). Their compositions can be described as fresh and cinematic. They are using various effects to alter the sound of their instruments and create their own universe.

To complete their exceptional sound, all three of them also sing. Influences of Classical, Pop and Jazz can be heard on the album. West Side Trio writes songs that may be Groovy, or reference Contemporary and Classical Music while always leaving room for improvisation. Their style could be described as Eclectic Stringdustrial.

On Alternate Realities, every song tells a story of a possibly different state, an alternate reality. What would it be like if we all moved to a different planet in the future? What if evolution would have taken a different turn somewhere? What would the world look like if you believed it to be flat? Or if you suffer from dementia? In ten songs, West Side Trio gives ten alternatives for the world around us. Every song sounds like its own little universe: one moment you’re hearing a poppy song, and the next you may be dancing in a night club during a pandemic.

“Without imagination, the world would be a duller place.” – Albert Einstein

West Side Trio is a string trio 2.0. On Alternate Realities, West Side Trio defies musical categorization by adding an endless innovative stream of colors and nuances to the idiom. Exploring all the possibilities of the instruments they signify that a string trio is also wood, voice, cables, effect pedals, and amplifiers. In short their own musical world. But what I find the most remarkable is that while investigating all these different avenues they create a world where the tune is the most important.  It is never: ‘Look what a cool effect I’ve found’ but always: ‘check how this sound enhances the mood of the music’.
– Peter Bjørnild (Producer)

With Rani joining West Side Trio during the pandemic, we were all very eager to write new material for our album Alternate Realities. There was no definition of what a “reality” consists of, so we let our imaginations do their thing: a moose stubbornly hiding in the forest, flying family members, living on another planet, flat-Earth conspiracies, shark-car hybrids and more. We wrote Evolution together, sending scores back and forth and watching the piece evolve organically from the opening theme, which is based on the word “evolution” in morse code. An electric string trio playing with lots of effects whilst improvising and singing is a challenging thing to get a natural sound out of. We’re very happy with the way everything turned out. Thanks to Frans and Peter at Sound Liaison! ”
– Vera van der Bie (Violin, Effects & Vocals)

When creating the soundscape we devoted significant time to achieving an ideal balance. We placed a Josephson C700S in the ”sweet spot” in MCO Studios’ Studio 2 before incorporating spot microphones. Our goal was to create a sound field that felt intimate yet retained sufficient depth to evoke a visual representation of the instruments. The advantage of this approach is the ability to visualize the trio in front of you, arranged from left to right between the speakers, as opposed to the more prevalent (and radio-friendly) format where the instruments are piled on top of each other. In some ways, we are old-fashioned. We may have listened to too many old jazz recordings, but as Louis Armstrong once said, ”The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician. Things like old folks singing in the moonlight in the backyard on a hot night or something said long ago.”
– Frans de Rond (Recording, Mixing and Mastering Engineer) 

Vera van der Bie – Violin, Effects & Vocals
Annie Tångberg – Cello, Effects & Vocals
Rani Kumar – Viola, Effects & Vocals

Tracklist

Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
1.
Skogens Konge
05:05
2.
Tiny Road Sharks
05:12
3.
OPA
07:36
4.
Red Sun
05:12
5.
Evolution 3.85.23
04:32
6.
Press Pause
05:31
7.
Parallax
05:30
8.
Insert Dream World Here
05:30
9.
Silence of the Apes
04:23
10.
Cogito Ergo Sum
03:49

Total time: 00:52:20

Additional information

Label

SKU

SL1062A

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Original Recording Format

Release DateJuly 11, 2023

Press reviews

Het Parool

Earthy music from another planet

De Volkskrant

Chamber music from outer space.

Snarky Puppy

They are phenomenal players, specialists in groove music, their sense of rhythm and time is unparalleled and they are able to cover all genres.

1 review for Alternate Realities

    It is very difficult to describe in words this unique album. I think it is important to listen to the album more than once. I highly recommend this album. It is a mix of contemporary music, improvisation, jazz and classical.

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