Pray for Triangle Zero Ark

Pray for Triangle Zero, Ark (Tri City Rec)

Find it: tricityrec.bandcamp.com

Over the past decade, Columbia’s Lucas Sams has amassed a wide-ranging catalog of more than two dozen releases under his Pray for Triangle Zero moniker, and his urgent, restless creativity is plainly evident with the latest offering, Ark. Eagerly dashing together disparate elements from house music and funk to avant-folk and hip-hop, the album offers a rangy but dynamic slab of electronic explorations.

In a way, the album’s playful, 18-minute centerpiece, “Groove Is in the Ark,” serves as a microcosm of what makes Pray for Triangle Zero as compelling as it is confounding. Merging scratchy synth-pop with organic funk, driving dance-beats with TV-theme song melody, the track never settles into a single groove for long. But each of the grooves it finds along the way fuses unpredictable sonic embellishments with propulsive backbeats.

The rest of the album, likewise, finds grounded grooves in far-flung influences. “Satantour II” feels like an electro-acoustic soundscape rooted in ambient folk, but winds its way into a psychedelic fusion of backwards vocal samples and warped smears of sounds across an understated boom-bap backing. “Do You Feel/Ragtime Blues” opens with a dark and driving mood that suggests Shabazz Palaces before shifting into a dubby collision of sampled sax and rattling percussion. Closing the album, “Remember,” digs deep into glitchy electronics and dense noise but still feels like a playful experiment delighting in its own audacity.

Ark never settles enough to have the infectious effects of pure pop or dance music, but neither does it venture too far into the esoteric realms of noise or experimental music. Instead, Pray for Triangle Zero offers a balancing act of willfully obscure sonic collaging and head-bobbing grooves. The album’s greatest thrills are in the wobbling uncertainty between extremes.

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