It will be difficult to find any other album which so succinctly encapsulates the essence of an artist than The Blue Fairy Mermaid Princess by the Micah Gaugh Trio. Originally recorded between 1994-1997 in various New York establishments, the record stems from fourteen hours of previously unreleased material which band percussionist, Kevin Shea, had hanging around.

It's easy to imagine how the trio construct their compositions: in the most loosely banded and improvisational manner possible; escaping in jaunts through insanity and ecstatic pleasure. All recorded live at various times, there's little production to speak of, rather, we experience the 'real' band in their weird and frantic mania accompanied by background conversation, and sometimes inspired by it (see 'Cigarettes').

Gaugh croons in deep growls to swooning cabaret, off-set by sax lilts, bass laments and percussive impulses. Their style shuns accepted boundaries of form, entirely motivated by improvised interplay. At its spine there is a fulcrum of sense to cling to where all other aspects hang from in the most spurious circumstances; sometimes piano led, sometimes bass. It can be difficult to grasp specific motifs which repeat, instead the mood and atmosphere becomes the prominent facet, allowing the reactionary conversation between percussion and vocal to jar and clash.

The record essentially exists without a recognisable pulse in the beat, which to some may be alienating, yet after a recalibration becomes a fascinating relationship. There's simply a different entry point into the record compared to more conventional constructions. The exposure of percussion as a voice seems to create vivid images that complement the vocal, and 'show' us an aspect which isn't at all familiar.

The Blue Fairy Mermaid Princess could be seen as a fairytale romance played out between instruments, and artists, in an inventive process. However, encrusted on the surface are lyrics which abstractedly pine and wallow in an odd and inexpressive manner by comparison. They offer the least of any aspect of the trio, and allude to hints of a concept which doesn't materialise, acting as a facade that diverts from any connection with the instrumentation.

As captured moments the tracks of the BFMP have a certain charm in their wild and unconstrained freedom. They tap in the unconscious, exploring dissonance and abstraction to the fullest. Trouble is, there is such a clash of aspects that the emotive sense drowns. Were the purpose of this record merely to exhibit the maniacal tendencies and sensational improvisations of the trio, then it succeeds. However, were its purpose to delve any deeper than a fractured sheen of emotion, then it extravagantly fails. By the end, we're left empty-handed with little or nothing to grasp and maybe that's the point. To be encompassed for the few moments you are experiencing them, but otherwise to disintegrate from memory.