ALBUM REVIEW: Beo String Quartet Produces Timely Cinematic Concept Record In ‘triggerLand’

A most interesting new project comes from the iconoclastic Beo String Quartet, who produces a blend of contemporary, rock, experimental, and classical music, creating a very unique cinematic sound. Their latest opus comes in the form of their 16-track concept album triggerLand, which dropped May 25th.

triggerLand draws the audience into its unique universe, taking them on a cinematic journey through a captivating blend of classical compositions and contemporary experimentation, resulting in a rich and immersive sonic experience.

The album seeks to answer the ever-important question prevalent in the United States: “How does a society move forward in the face of unwillingness to consider new conversations or opposing points of view?”

The album begins with an intro that is meant to evoke the voice of an action-film movie trailer, leading into a mysterious dimension of wonder, horror, and myth. Every instrumental track is preceded by a voiced “part” that introduces the track.

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“triggerLand teaser”

Through several “parts,” the Beo String Quartet tells the story of a young worker named Alvin, living in a peaceful town, who one day invents the bullet, thus changing the entire trajectory of his town and ultimately, the world.

Sean Neukom, the viola player of the band, says, “The fictional gun creation myth told by triggerLand is but a vehicle for addressing a larger issue.”

From the opening notes of the album, BSQ’s technical precision and tight ensemble playing are immediately apparent, providing a solid foundation for the diverse range of musical styles explored throughout triggerLand.

A standout track from the album is “Color of Money,” whose prelude states in a muffled distorted voice that after the invention of the gun, all Alvin could see was money. The track thus has a sense of urgency to it, building suspension, hinting at how greed for money could be detrimental.

“Part i: the Finding”

“Featuring the virtuosic nature of the string quartet, the principal developing material of the music is found in the quartet writing, though the drum parts also play a major role,” Neukom expressed. “Each track embodies a different style of the progressive rock, metal, or indie rock through the lens of chamber music and modern composition.”

The album ends with the self-titled “triggerLand,” where we see the creator of the gun contemplating whether to place regulations on his creation or throw himself into the face of profits, and this indecision is embodied in the final track as it comes to a halt.

Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Beo String Quartet has garnered recognition and acclaim for their exceptional musicianship and boundary-pushing performances. They were formed in 2015, and consist of Jason Neukom (violin, percussion), his brother Sean (viola, vocals, guitar, bass, drums), Andrew Giordano (violin, vocals) and Ryan Ash (cello, keyboard).

“Part ii: Wrenched”

Their discography is the reflection of their dedication to expanding the possibilities of the string quartet genre and pushing the boundaries of classical music. They actively collaborate with composers, other musicians, and artists from various disciplines, aiming to foster creativity and cultural exchange.

triggerLand by Beo String Quartet is another remarkable example of their unique take on classical music, along with delivering an important message. With daring artistic choices, the BSQ delivers a collection of thought-provoking and emotionally charged compositions. 

If you’re looking for a unique album that defies expectations and takes you on a thrilling sonic adventure, triggerLand should be on your radar.

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