Lind – A 3rd Ear Conversation

Lind – A 3rd Ear Conversation

Well, this is a fascinating little nugget I’ve been playing a lot since it arrived, and I’m still discovering parts I seem to be noticing for the first time. A 3rd Ear Conversation, sub-titled The Justification of Reality, Part II, is the work of Andy Lind. He seems to be primarily a drummer, but is clearly a multi-instrumentalist and composer, and his work is not in the least bit straightforward. He has invited quite an impressive cast to contribute to the album, especially in the vocal department, but most of the basic tracks are Lind alone.

Let’s take the title track as an example. One of the shorter pieces, A 3rd Ear Conversation, Lind plays everything, apart from a synth solo courtesy of Steve Hunt. It seems to be built from the drums up, and the time signature seems to change every few bars. It is an instrumental, very jazzy in approach, but written in an intricate way, with fast and complicated motifs played on various keyboards, guitar and bass. The compositional style reminds me of Frank Zappa, particularly in his latter Synclavier dominated days, and the virtuosity is dazzling. It is short and sweet, and bang on the money.

The following Redesign is similarly complex, but much longer. It goes through so many changes it is a bit bewildering, but is held together with Lind’s drumming and his low rumbling bass runs. His processed vocals render the words all but indecipherable, but to be honest, I don’t find that too worrying, as the musical flow of the track pulls you through its thirteen minutes in a blink of the eye. Easy listening it isn’t, but there are much more accessible moments.

Wounded Knees, for example, opens proceedings and is relatively easy on the ear, despite its underlying complexity. The vocals from Arno Menses (Subsignal) help draw you in, and the chorus is memorable enough, but surprises await around every corner, and nothing is as straightforward as it initially seems. Lind is nearly always busy behind his drum kit, and certainly doesn’t know the meaning of a simple rhythm.

On One Million Ways, there are so many overlaid rhythms and sounds in repeating patterns that the effect is hypnotic and almost therapeutic. Trying to figure out what is going on is difficult, but the overall sound tapestry is satisfying, and a soundscape one can lose oneself in. Lind’s vocals are dreamy and unusual, adding to the otherworldly atmosphere; quite how the music can be simultaneously busy and relaxing is a cute trick. Comfort Zone follows, and it is unclear whether Lind is testing himself or the listener – probably both. Wolfgang Zenk pulls off a suitably scatty guitar solo in between barrages of tricky power chords. Some of this is quite heavy, without ever really moving into prog metal territory, and the difficulty in categorising this album is a strength. On the idiosyncratic Move on Gently, Caro Roth provides her unique vocal textures to a fidgety jazz workout, with an impossible melody sung like scat, with Lind following her notes (or is it the other way round?), before the piece goes all heavy, then returns just as suddenly to more gentle weirdness, Roth harmonising with herself beautifully.

The last piece on A 3rd Ear Conversation is one of the most successful. Trapped in Haze is fairly succinct, at a mere six minutes, but packs in a typical number of musical ideas. Kalle Wallner (RPWL) provides some textural and freewheeling guitar here, with excellent vocals from Ben Knabe, who sings in Lind’s other main project, The Ancestry Program. Synthesiser adds an edge to the chorus, and as the song develops and becomes heavier and more dynamic, there is a brief section of harsh vocals. This soon gives way to an atmospheric guitar jangling outro. It’s a brilliant piece which has a controlled menace balanced by a very accessible contrasting lightness of touch. The lack of overt complexity makes a refreshing change to close out the album.

The fact that I’d not come across Andy Lind before now is a bit surprising, as he’s obviously, on the strength of this work, a gifted and accomplished musician who refuses to conform to established genres or stereotypes. I assume he has more interest in creating something artistically satisfying than in gaining mass approval, because a lot of this album is anything but easy listening. However, for those of us who appreciate rhythmic experimentation, time signature tinkering, and dazzling dexterity, it’s all here. It’s not just cleverness for the sake of it though; this music has a heart. It might be beating in an odd time signature, but it’s beating nonetheless. If you’ve read this far, I’d recommend taking the next step, and give it a listen.

01. Wounded Knees (8:47)
02. Lost Words (7:56)
03. This Dream (6:16)
04. A Third Ear Conversation (5:02)
05. Redesign (13:34)
06. Another Try (8:43)
07. One Million Ways (9:10)
08. Comfort Zone (6:37)
09. Move on Gently (5:28)
10. Trapped in Haze (6:03)
11. A New Day (Bonus track – download only) (4:10)

Total Time – 82:22

Andy Lind – Drums, Keyboards, Bass, Vocals, Guitars, Programming
~ With:
Gary Husband – Synth Solo (track 9)
Steve Hunt – Synth Solo (tracks 3,4 & 6)
Christian Doebke – Synth Solo (track 5)
Jan Zehrfeld – Guitar Solo (track 3)
Kalle Wallner – Guitars (track 10)
Wolfgang Zenk – Guitars (track 8)
Marek Arnold – Soprano Sax (track 2)
Mike Voglmeier – Guitar Solo (track 2)
Martin Vogelsang – Guitar (track 10)
Arno Menses – Lead Vocals (track 1)
Marco Glühmann – Lead Vocals (track 6)
Sami Gayed – Lead Vocals (track 8)
Ben Knabe – Lead Vocals (track 10)
Caro Roth – Lead Vocals (track 9)
Stefan Weyerer – Lead Vocals (track 3)

Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Germany
Date of Release: 2nd December 2023

Lind – Facebook | Bandcamp