Esbjörn Svensson Trio: Still
Esbjörn Svensson Trio
Leucocyte (Emarcy 00189)
Composed by Esbjörn Svensson, Dan Berglund and Magnus Öström.
Recorded: Sydney, Australia, January 17-18, 2007
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
My advance copy of this CD, the final studio project by the late Esbjörn Svensson, lists the instruments as piano, bass and drums. Yet the music on this track, and throughout the Leucocyte CD, is drenched in electronics. Svensson works here amidst a jungle of gurgles, buzzes, zings, beeps, rumbles and other assorted sounds. On top of this, a wistful, elegiac piano part eventually enters, and moves ahead with slow, stately precision. The piece follows a strict tempo, but if the beats were any farther apart, you would need to send out signal flares so one bar wouldn't get lost from the next. At times, the trio's work here reminds me of some of electro-acoustic jazz coming from the iconoclastic Erstwhile label. Yet the piano part itself is almost a New Age parody, and its juxtaposition against the electronic house of mirrors is peculiar. Imagine someone tinkling at the ivories in the parlor while downed power lines are sizzling across the carpet, and you may get some idea of the unsettling sensibility of "Still." We will now never know where this surprising phase in Svensson's career might have led. But the music on Leucocyte suggests that this artist was focused on forging ahead into new and untamed musical territory.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia