Ave.To - Three Way Intersection (2008)

Ave.To
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In this age of infinite musical influences and practically limitless technology, nothing irks a listener (critical or otherwise) more than a stale product, something that's been recycled and cleverly packaged as new when it's already been done to death by others. Ave.To, a melting pot trio out of Washington, D.C., doesn't fall into this category. Their debut, Three Way Intersection, uses the songs as multi-hued quilts threaded with different tones and textures, which includes soul, hip-hop and jazz.

In this age of infinite musical influences and practically limitless technology, nothing irks a listener (critical or otherwise) more than a stale product, something that's been recycled and cleverly packaged as new when it's already been done to death by others. Ave.To, a melting pot trio out of Washington, D.C., doesn't fall into this category. Their debut, Three Way Intersection, uses the songs as multi-hued quilts threaded with different tones and textures, which includes soul, hip-hop and jazz.

Credit the trio with being ambitious if nothing else. Oddisee, Unknown and Kolai title their compositions after mundane and mercurial objects ("Sand to the Beach," "Glow Nights," "Mass Transit" and "Stank," for example) and use an aquatic, free-flowing approach in creating the pieces. Most of them move at a brisk pace, like the breezy, bass-laden "Cuz of U,"  and the horn-fringed "Future Funk."  Most are also intriguing, like "Natural," which includes a voice-over explaining the symbiotic relationship between two zodiac signs (you'll have to peep it for yourself, no spoilers here from me), and the healthy infusion of hip-hop in the outro of "Cuba Libre."

What detracts from the disk are two factors: the muted overall sound quality, which diminishes the impact that these numbers could potentially have; and, at times, the direction of the compositions seem aimless and scattered, without a climax or conclusion.  Ave.To aims to provide a narrative of sorts, but they don't always succeed at the goal, especially since so few tracks provide outright vocalization to push them along ("Loin de Toi," "Abuja"). There's also a lack of 'bottom,' an emphasis on treble over bass, which may lend itself to feeling more organic than orchestrated, but is maddening because most of the tracks could benefit from its inclusion, especially "Abuja" and "Future Funk."

So should listeners even make a pit stop at this Three Way Intersection? Well, as a music lover who champions creativity and originality, I recommend it. But for those who require more substance, Ave.To's debut may serve as only a momentary, although pleasant, detour from the norm.

By Melody Charles      

 

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