Tabs Out | Tim Stine Trio – Fresh Demons

Tim Stine Trio – Fresh Demons

1.11.21 by Matty McPherson

My heart snapped in two when Mr. Stine of the Tim Stine Trio threw up a final copy of their 2016  Astral Spirits debut, BEFORE I could make it over to the Bandcamp. Rats! Back in late spring, the trio’s sophomore effort for Astral Spirits, Fresh Demons, appeared in a bundle along with big money players like Crazy Doberman and Otomo Yoshihide & Chris Pitsiokos. Assuredly stiff competition. Yet, Fresh Demons was unusually subtle as it was lucid; one of the rare times I could put an Astral Spirits release on and not be banished to the tool shed!

That Fresh Demons is having serendipitous repress gave me good reason to revisit the endeavors of their January 2018 studio session. The tape has a bit of a “wine drunk at the party” quality few in the AS can stand toe-to-toe with.  Perhaps you think it a fancy way of saying that the tape skirts those free noise elements that AS prides themself on. And yeah. Fresh Demons may forego noise, still packing an atmospheric tension-to the point I’ll listen listen though and literally burst out screaming, “Son of a dunn! Are they auditioning for a Spielberg reboot of The Third Man?!” 

Anton Hatwich on bass and Frank Rosaly on drums strike up the set for Mr. Stine up; their sound evokes bombed out WW2 city held in allied hands. One where all the good trades happen at an underground bazaar. Tim Stine then, is our brave detective with one modus operandus (a free-arm acoustic strum) and one objective (to root out those fresh demons! Stine’s style is fleet footed, always tumbling off of Hatwich and Rosaly’s drum n’ bass (no, not that one-the jazzy kind) that teeters on rubble collapsing, like on “VVVValley”

The downtempo tuning and airy mic’ing often sounds like Stine is caught in a real boiler of a chase. Just when you think he’ll give into a huge grandiose freakout, Stine cuts with a little sleight of hand. Finesse over sonic detour work in Fresh Demons’ favor, leaving behind 8 smooth tracks. When that focus aims for its most precise, it can arrive at a claustrophobic degree. Album closer, “FADS”, is practically the trio meeting in unison for an unnerving stranglehold on an unexpecting suspect.

So, if the criterion channel is still out of your budget and your library won’t let you peruse the noir section (“because you’re not a county resident”), I’d suggest set cracking open the vintage port, popping Fresh Demons in the hifi, and set up a fancy party for one.

Second pressing of 75 on RED cassette shells. Make yourself happy!

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