Listening Room

07 Griffith HiltzArcade
Griffith Hiltz Trio
G-B Records (



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Last week, a colleague who makes beats and electronic music sampled part of an ambient-sounding guitar piece I had shared online. During the COVID-19 pandemic I have been exploring home recording and this electronic reuse of my piece made me wonder what other sonic ideas I might probe. I am not the only musician currently investigating recording technology, nor am I alone in pondering electronic possibilities like beats and live-sound samples. A brilliantly original take on these electroacoustic explorations comes in the form of Arcade, the latest offering from the Griffith Hiltz Trio. 

Concept albums with unifying themes can, at their worst, sound cheesy or forced. Arcade avoids this trap while tackling a very unique underlying theme: the video games and movies of the 1980s. This theme is realized with a plethora of synthesizers that blend immaculately with the acoustic instruments present, making this a departure stylistically from other Griffith Hiltz Trio releases and other jazz albums in general. Nathan Hiltz’s signature employment of Hammond organ pedals alongside his guitar playing may be the most unique aspect of the group, but that is to take nothing away from the saxophone work of Johnny Griffith and drumming of Neil MacIntosh. The album was recorded remotely by the group and their ample recording/production experience gives the 13 tracks unifying quirks that never sound gimmicky. This is no easy feat and commands a listen!

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