MUMEx Trio Release New Album

MUMEx Trio aren’t some sort of pop act, so dispenses with those expectations right now. The four songs on their release Folds of Time spans the gamut from extensive ten minutes and longer pieces over to much shorter and traditional-minded material. Traditional, with MUMEx however, is a bit misleading. They don’t make a big deal about it, but there’s a definite fusion influence you can hear in these songs. Don’t think Weather Report, or something like that; it’s far more challenging. They keep the songs grounded, however, with familiar turns that act as sort of “hooks” for listeners.

“Traveling with Wayne” introduces us to the band’s basic formula. They seldom settle on a single time signature for long but the transitions always make sense and never strike a dissonant note. It starts off in a relatively subdued fashion but the band develops “Traveling with Wayne” from this jump-off through a variety of moods and lines of attack. The emotional peaks and valleys of the songwriting are what help sustain its length above all else. Pianist Louis Siciliano’s fleet-fingered work on the keys really helps bring it to life. The band, however, plays as an unit and with enormous vitality.

The buoyant “La Roue De La Fortune” has inexhaustible bounce without ever overstaying its welcome with listeners. The band scales down their vision with this track, it’s less than four minutes long, but it isn’t filler. You won’t find that on this release. Siciliano’s piano, once again, sparkles. He hits a romping note that doesn’t overshadow his fellow musicians and Bob Bellatalla’s bass gives the track heft. It’s never heavy-handed, however.

A standout moment for drummer Mauro Salvatore comes with the title song. His drums during the second half of the song are one of the best parts you’ll hear on Folds on Time, but his musical partners match his skill. Siciliano’s piano and Bellatalla’s bass creatively spar from beginning to end and holds your attention with ease. It’s another long track, shorter than the opener but not by much, but MUMEx Trio shows the same skill at crafting compelling extended musical narratives.

They close Folds of Time with “The Legend of Mansa”, a potpourri of the voices heard in earlier songs. It’s spiked, as well, with an indefinable sense of leave-taking appropriate for a final track. The same energy charging its predecessors lights up this track with a fierce glow and the song’s contrasts are essential for making it as memorable as it is. It’s a great way to end the release. Don’t let the longer songs turn you off. There’s so much going on during the longer cuts that you will never be bored. These are tracks crafted to satisfy the musicians above all else, I’m sure, but they are attentive to their listeners as well. Folds of Time is more than a promising first exposure to the band’s collective skill; it serves as notice that a major musical force has emerged on the scene and let’s hope they receive the notice they deserve.

Michael Rand

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