An "odyssey," indeed. A journey from Seattle to.......where? Not one man's journey, at that, but the collective expedition of five men, all of whom, save for drummer Icasiano, contributed separate TripTiks to the circuitous route. And what's the significance of dividing the so-called odyssey into three parts? I'm sure I dunno, and there appears to be no way of finding out.
But, aside from this rather fustian pretense to a musical cosmogony never explained and certainly not explicated by these eight tracks, this is a tight and tensely driven band of younger players, leaning hard into the prevailing post bop/avant winds streaming off the Pacific. From the bracing rhythmically atonality of Scott Morning's "Nothing Comes to Mind," and his darting "Obtusity" line which affords him ample space to squall on trumpet, right through to leader Pellegrin's intricately constructed solo on his own "Maze," which leads to Neil Welch's nails-on-the-blackboard tenor incantation, this a "heavy" music, played with authentically compelling commitment by all hands and embouchures. Bassist Evan Flory-Barnes contributed the insidiously brooding "Distant, Distorted You" and Neil Welch the raga-ish modular "Breathe." All other comps are by leader Pellegrin, except for "Piano Phase" which is credited to "minimalist" composer Steve Reich.
In his soberly earnest liner note, Rich Pellegrin explains that in "searching for musicians.....he wanted artists drawn to density, complexity, and virtuosity.....who were fascinated by simplicity, repetition, and groove, intense and aggressive players (who) also had a real sense of beauty and color to their playing." Yeah, well, aren't the the same musicians all band leaders are out there looking for? Tough, because it seems that Pellegrin found them--unless you're tempted to think that he might nave compiled the list of attributes after his search was over and he saw (which is what, y'know, as odyssey actually is). No matter: this is rewarding music, well worth more than just a casual listen.