Troyka – Ornithophobia (3 stars)

Troyka – Ornithophobia

A contemporary sound which brings to mind the glory days of prog and jazz-rock

For listeners of a certain vintage, Troyka will recall the 1970s heyday of prog and jazz-rock, with their tricksy time changes, wiggy solos and maze-like structures. Ornithophobia even has a concept, being based around the winningly batty notion of giant mutant birds terrorising a post-apocalyptic London. Fortunately, the young British trio avoid the worst excesses of prog: the pomposity, the bombast, the sneering disdain for pop. Furthermore, their sound is gleamingly contemporary, fusing jazz and improv with math-rock and post-Aphex Twin electronica.

On opening track 'Arcades', Troyka mimic the cut and paste aesthetic of electronic music, making sudden shifts between atmospheric EST-style piano jazz, antsy fusion, bluesy choogle and thrashing punk. 'Life Was Transient' and 'Troyka Smash' take the next logical step, with Swedish producer Petter Eldh reconstructing the group's real-time playing into cubist prisms of spidery guitar, fragmented keyboards and micro-edited percussion. Troyka are ingenious, but likeable with it.

Ornithophobia is out now, on Naim


Troyka is a multi-textured trio with a febrile imagination, comprising Chris Montague (guitars and loops), Joshua Blackmore (drums) and Kit Downes (organs).

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