Ornithophobia: Troyka

What is no secret, dear reader, is that here at downwithit.info the Hammond Organ is highly valued. What has been hidden from you, until now, is that I once went to see Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I was sixteen. Thankfully, we are all permitted a few youthful mistakes and indiscretions. Beyond harbouring Pictures In An Exhition and Tarkus in my record collection for a couple of years, that was just about the limit of my excursions into hippy prog rock. The genre turned into a circus, on ice in the case of Rick Wakeman and his tales of Tudor royalty. Then Great Punk War broke out, the right side won and the pomp rockers went off to Switzerland to spend their royalties and receipts.

When I initially heard that Troyka were a trio and included a Hammond in their instrumentation I was keen to hear them as soon as possible and got my hands on a review copy. It was only later that I discovered that Ornithophobia was a concept album that leaned towards progressive jazz-rock rather than Jimmy Smith and Big John Patton. I was dismayed. Whilst plenty of modern jazz artists wanted to play like Bird and the great Donald Byrd cut a succession of fine albums, nobody has ever delivered a set concerning the virus induced transmogrification of men into birds, until Troyka turned up with this.

However, I had promised to listen and I did. Several times in fact.

Suffice to say that there is little on the album that fits comfortably with anything else I’ve written about on downwithit.info Indeed, there are some Hammond power chords and sounds that have lain dormant since the mid-seventies when Keith Emerson used knives to sustain long notes on his Hammond and Rick Wakeman wore a silver cape.

I can’t find much that is positive to say (except that the last track, Seahouses, is a pleasant piece). So I won’t try. Next month’s contemporary Jazz album is bound to fit better here. You can bet the farm on that!

The band etc: Kit Downes (Hammond & synths); Chris Montague (guitars); Joshua Blackmore (drums). Recorded at Eton College and On The Record Studios. Produced: Peter Eidh and Troyka. Released: 26 January 2015. Naim Records.


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