MOSKUS — Mestertyven (review)

MOSKUS — Mestertyven album cover Album · 2014 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
snobb
Moskus is a young Norwegian trio, led by pianist Anja Lauvdal. They debuted two years ago with a well prepared chamber jazz release (it was nominated for two Norwegian Grammies). Instead of continuing in this formula that had proved profitable for fellow Europeans, EST, they instead have decided to change things up with a fully improvised second album, Mestertyven(Master Thief).

The grand piano is gone for an upright one, and the well equipped recording studio has been exchanged for a 17th century small wooden village church. No material was prepared for this recording, but lots of ideas and blueprints were already tested during their two years of improvising together.

The result is almost beautiful music that is full of space that is surprisingly tuneful, well-framed and at the same time full of light, fresh air and optimism. Almost every composition contains some traces of familiar traditions, from the Art Ensemble Of Chicago's "small instruments" sounds, to old movie tape piano tunes, but absolutely nothing comes across like nostalgia here. Angular, almost ritual rhythms combine with percussive piano buildups into a strange atmosphere. Very often this trio's music doesn't sound like jazz at all. Free-form but listener-friendly compositions are almost like modern catchy songs, tribal rhythms are Zen and rock aesthetics two in one, Ran Blake style piano is like a modern "film noir" soundtrack.

Well done music, young,fresh and modern. I am already curious what will come next.
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