Exploring Musical Frontiers: Lyft Trio’s “Nord”

Written by | CD Reviews, News, Reviews

In the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary music, genre boundaries are meant to be pushed, and artistic innovation knows no bounds. Enter the Lyft Trio, led by the creative genius of guitarist Mario Castelberg. Their latest offering, “Nord,” the third studio album in their repertoire, is a breathtaking fusion of electronic jazz, psychedelic rock, and cinematic soundscapes that pushes the envelope of sonic experimentation.

Since their debut album “Traveller” hit the airwaves in 2018, Lyft Trio’s three members have taken divergent musical journeys. Joël Banz, known for his techno productions, and Janic Haller, a versatile sideman with a penchant for pop, each bring their unique musical perspectives into the world of guitarist Mario Castelberg’s free improvisation. The result is a musical tapestry where improvisation and composition flow seamlessly into one another, creating a harmonious whole.

Lyft Trio’s music draws from the eclectic musical influences of its members, seamlessly blending the free spirit of jazz, the ethereal aura of psychedelic rock, the electronic soundscapes, and the craftsmanship of pop. They navigate the delicate balance between consonance and dissonance, clear melodies and atmospheric soundscapes, and simplicity and complexity with remarkable finesse.

Describing their sound as a crossroads of Radiohead, Tonbruket, Bill Frisell, and Supersilent, Lyft Trio believes this comparison comes closest to encapsulating their unique musical identity.

The heart of the album “Nord” comprises eight compositions by Mario Castelberg, each narrating a distinctive mood or story. “Das Arvenstübli” beckons listeners to embark on a dreamlike journey, portraying the solitude of a snowbound mountain house. The harmonious blend of melody and groove creates a sense of serenity and relaxation. Conversely, “Aus gutem Grund” immerses us in a psychedelic and rocky soundscape, featuring a krautrock-inspired beat and whimsical scales and tones.

“Iso” and “Birds” beckon the listener back into dreamier, atmospheric realms, conjuring vast, expansive landscapes through their sweet melodies. “On Point” then offers a sharp contrast with its intricate rhythms and electronic improvisation, a brief but electrifying departure from the ethereal. “Back or Forth” momentarily abandons jazz in favor of a genial pop tune.

Lyft Trio Live | Photo by John Viorol

Closing out the album with a touch of irony, “Gefestigte Persönlichkeit” (“firm personality”) defies conventional structure, meandering provocatively before fading into silence. “Nord” as a whole serves as an impressive testament to the Lyft Trio’s musical prowess, showcasing their extraordinary ability to bridge diverse genres and evoke a myriad of emotions within their listeners.

In an era where musical boundaries continue to blur, the Lyft Trio stands as a beacon of innovation and a testament to the boundless possibilities of sound. With “Nord,” they have not only cemented their place in the pantheon of contemporary music but also inspired us to embark on our own sonic exploration, inviting us to embrace the limitless potential of music itself.

Mario Castelberg, guitar | Janic Haller, (drums | Joël Banz, Bass

Track Listing:
1. Escape (5:41) | 2. Arvenstübli (6:17) | 3. Aus Gutem Grund (4:04) | 4. Iso | 5. Birds | 6. On Point | 7. Back or Forth | 8. Gefestigte Persönlichkeit

Release Date: 1. September 2023
Format: LP | CD | Streaming
Label: Sulane

Last modified: September 5, 2023