Set #13: Robert Trusko

In any artistic medium – be it music, writing, painting, sculpture, etc. – the experimentation with technique and form is essential to the development of innovative methods of expression. There was a reoccurring motif of painting music with a pallet of different sounds that ran the length of my conversation with Robert. We kept returning to the idea of musical modality. Robert’s style of layering sounds one over the other through the use of loops enables him to manipulate an eclectic combination of sounds created by a vast array of pedals. The pedals generate a range of artificial harmonics that remind me of a drip-feeding experiment, an authentic attempt to play with the fleeting language of an over-embellished truth in music. One drop, one note, at a time – bringing complicated arrangements down to a singular level. “Sometimes a mistake can be beautiful. Sometimes maybe it’s on the wrong preset or maybe it’s at the wrong volume, and it might be a totally different experience than what you intended – but that’s life.” The benefit of this constant exploration and experimentation with music is evident in Robert’s talent, style, and dexterity as a composer and multi-instrumentalist. His music is so far removed from compartmentalization. It’s expansive, it’s atmospheric, and it thrusts forward with an air of quiet propulsion.“Playing without loopers and percussion tends to make me want to play more spacious.” Robert explains, “I think one of the challenges of this instrument as a bass is that the nature of the bass isn’t always the most expressive instrument out of the bunch. So for me doing things by myself is nice because I can express things the way that I want to.” This desire and necessicity to be expressive is one of the driving forces behind Robert's upcoming album, First Light, an album he has been developing for some time. "I really like playing like this because it allows me to go anywhere."

When Robert isn't playing solo, he is on the move from one gig to the next throughout the week. There is something to be said about the experience one gains from being a full-time, working musician in a variety of constantly shifting jazz ensembles. The technicality of the music improves drastically, as musicians learn to dip and weave around one another on stage. “I play a lot of music with a lot of different people, and I think each thing does something different for me.” Although on most Wednesdays you will find him at the Balcony Club in Lakewood playing bass with Magga Orchestra (a modern, experimental jazz ensemble spear-headed by Gerard Bendiks), for the entire month of October he will be playing with his band, the Skinny Cooks, at the newly opened Deep Ellum Art Company. They will be holding a Wednesday night residency there from 8pm to 1am starting tomorrow October 4th.

- Brittany Griffiths