Thus, the Trio's New York debut at Manhattan's (Le) Poisson Rouge for this past February's Unsound festival was perhaps the city's most anticipated club night in some time. (Levon Vincent's closing DJ set, while obviously a deal-sweetener, was just icing on the cake.) The three principles, alongside esteemed guests Carl Craig and Francois Kevorkian, deployed what Craig, in a hilariously gravitas-laden mic break, deemed "the best set" they'd ever played. My posse and I that night tended to agree with him, and Live in New York—the document of that best set—certainly underscores what I'm sure was a popular assessment from those of us hearty enough to break our mid-winter hibernation for an evening.
The set, in fact, probably works better as an album than it did live. For one thing, there's no aloof bartender gouging you on drinks or overzealous staffer dicking you at the coat check. For another, those experiencing the show through Live in New York have the benefit of hearing Francois K's pristine mixing through a pair of good headphones. The four tracks they performed that night, as it turns out, contained far greater complexity than any concert scenario could have hoped to reveal.
Built from shards of Vertical Ascent's "Pattern"s, these "Nothing"s dive fathoms deeper, if not with the same sonar-guided precision as the originals. As shadows of familiar rhythms drift in and out of humid, tropical ambience and zappy modular synths, it's immediately apparent that the personnel's expert musicianship and production sensibilities—not to mention their palpable chemistry as a band and near-telepathic impulses as improvisors—was no studio trick. A worthy companion to one of the better techno albums of the last handful of years, Live in New York will leave you salivating for their next batch of new tracks (and perhaps kicking yourself for staying home that fateful Saturday night).