As the erudite scholar knows, the trilogy has its roots in Greek tragedy and denotes a series of three plays. In the 20th century literature and visual arts established a wider use of the term. The movie and the video game industry later discovered the trilogy as an efficient marketing tool.
Musical trilogies are less common, though a few come to mind. Apart from series of albums identified as trilogy by critics and fans like David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy, there are series of LPs numbered from I up to III, for example the first three albums of Led Zeppelin. Furthermore, there are trilogies conceptualised as such in sound and design. And this the only type of musical trilogy that actually fits the definition of the term, as it is a set of three interconnected artworks that can be seen either as a single work or as three individual works.
The trilogy enhances the album format as no double or triple album can. Matt Elliott examplified this with his albums Drinking Songs, Failing Songs and Howling Songs. Between 2004 and 2008 the eclectic Bristolian consequently built the folk counterpart to his electronic project The Third Eye Foundation. Witnessing the release from beginning to end, every new record felt like coming home.
With a total playing time of almost three hours the Songs Trilogy is predestined for long winter nights. Drinking Songs sets the mood for Matt Elliott’s melanchloic epos which draws inspiration from Andalusia to the Ural. Failing Songs further investigates the dark soul of mankind by multiplying voices and guitars. Howling Songs completes this masterpiece of folk noir. I Name this Ship The Tragedy, Bless Her and All Who Sail With Her feels like a representative title:
In 2010 Demdike Stare released a musical tryptich which is just as dark as Matt Elliott’s Trilogy, but strikes in a rather different vain. With Forest Of Evil, Liberation Through Hearing and Voices Of Dust the Lancastrian duo lures us into a seance calling on the lord of bass. Samples from the darkest corners of the world build the shrine on which Demdike Stare sacrifice the holy goat of musick.
Sean Canty, owner of the label Finders Keepers, and Miles Whittaker, who is a part of Pendle Coven, named their duo after the witch Demdike, the ringleader of the Pendle Witches. This gives an idea of what to expect. Forest Of Evil contains two occult bangers, one of which is featured on our latest Full Moon Mix. Voices Of Dust in contrast is quite a wafting affair. Liberation Through Hearing features gothic downbeat like Caged In Stammheim:
The third trilogy that regularly fills these here headquaters with sound is likewisely situated in the leftfield of club culture. In the golden days of the Berlin club scene Stefan Betke aka Pole found the ultimate tool for his artistic intentions: a Waldorf MiniWorks 4-pole filter. Pole’s first three albums, laconically entitled 1, 2 and 3, form the holy trinity of dub techno.
The music is as minimalistic as the artwork. By radical deceleration Pole reduces electronica to the max. The three albums released between 1998 and 2000 deliver background music in the best sense of the word. The discreet sound makes you forget that you’re listening to music. A ghostly crackle accompanies these soothing variations of monotony. Klettern gives an apt impression: