On last year’s Don’t Play It Straight, an album credited to Small Bills, the Michigan producer The Lasso fused his stuttering and syncopated drum patterns with vocals from Armand Hammer MC ELUCID. On Tri Magi, he’s pursuing a different kind of collaboration, combining his beats with drifting melodies delivered by cellist Jordan Hamilton and experimental sax player The Saxsquatch. (You can hear him discuss the album on Bandcamp Weekly.)
Throughout Tri Magi, Hamilton and Saxsquatch’s strings and woodwinds enter and depart songs like playful interstellar sprites teleporting from one dimension to the next. The album opens with the lurching funk of “Born Tempo,” where The Lasso’s subtly shuffling percussion is perfectly paired with Hamilton and Saxsquatch’s off-kilter refrains. On the slinky “Three Magi Get Paid,” Hamilton’s skewed cello lines glide over aqueous bass, while mid-album cut “Voyager Too” employs coasting cymbals and enormous blasts of sax. “City Of Grass” is a celestial space ballad, carried by pining cello lines and clusters of feverish snare. The journey comes to a calming close with “Aural Floral,” a hushed song that promises serenity and respite—before the drums drop out, the melody corkscrews, and the album comes to an appropriately warped stop.