Trigg & Gusset – A Coming Together Of Electronics And Acoustic Instruments

Trigg & Gusset – a coming together of electronics and acoustic instruments

Dutch duo Trigg & Gusset talk about how their 2011 album Legacy for the Witty is characterised by cinematic eerie synth pads, slow grooves and lush melodies.

Who are Trigg & Gusset?

Bart Knol: We are Trigg (Bart Knol) and Gusset (Erik van Geer), from the Netherlands, and we both have a very broad background in music. I’m a producer, piano and synth player, and have produced a wide variety of musical styles. My personal taste for music varies from breakbeats to classical.

Jazz has a prominent place in my collection, a love of which I share with Erik. We both enjoy what could be called “nujazz” and have been to various concerts by Jaga Jazzist, Mathias Eick and Bohren und der Club of Gore. The latter, in particular, has been an inspiration for Trigg & Gusset, as many listeners will recognise.

Erik van Geer: I come from a different background with a range of influences. I studied classical clarinet for 10 years, but moved to more jazzy genres, including funk, soul, jazz, gypsy swing and klezmer, also taking up the saxophone. As Trigg & Gusset, we like to create music from scratch, while injecting a dose of improvisation into the composition.

What defines the sound of your 2011 album Legacy for the Witty?

Bart Knol: Trigg & Gusset started with a couple of musical ideas. We thought the world could use some more dark jazz, so we started combining cinematic eerie synth pads with very slow grooves and lush melodies. We also wanted to make music where electronics and acoustic instruments work together, taking an equal share in the sound. This helped us develop the typical sound of Trigg & Gusset.

Erik van Geer: So Legacy for the Witty is a trip down the chambers of dark jazz or doom jazz, as some prefer it to call. Somewhere in this darkness, light can be found and the end of the tunnel – although it’s possible that the end of the tunnel might never be reached!

How is Legacy of the Witty different to your other work?
Erik van Geer: The starting point for Legacy of the Witty was to create slow dark repetitive music with a certain amount of improvisation. However, on our second album Adagio for the Blue, we didn’t simply want to recreate the same sound, and focused more on composition and harmonies, while keeping the improvised solo’s intact. Adagio for the Blue is also a bit more uplifting than Legacy for the Witty, making it somewhat lighter and more accessible.

Bart Knol: Legacy for the Witty is dark electronic loop-based atmospheric music with improvisation. But with Adagio for the Blue, we focused more on composition with multi-voiced themes and evolving chord progressions. We also worked with a number of guest musicians. ​

And finally, how did you make the album?
Erik van Geer: In terms of recording, with live instruments, we try to record a few takes and until we have one which sounds good. We sometimes combine different takes and make samples of certain parts. With solos, the “golden take” is generally the second or third take. It just doesn’t get any better if you do 20 solo takes.

Bart Knol: Technically, we use Ableton Live as our main DAW with an RME Fireface audio interface. Most instruments were recorded with an Electrovoice RE-20 microphone. The beats are mostly a combination of chopped up samples and live percussion. For the bass, we use Moog synths or live double bass played by some great bass players we are privileged to know. The keys parts were played on an acoustic Kawai piano and a 1980 Fender Rhodes MK2. We used Omnisphere for the atmospheric synth and pads.

Is there anything else about the album that you'd like to mention? 
No matter what the approach, our main goal is just to make beautiful music!