Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Esbjörn Svensson Trio, 301, 2012

This was a real big surprise for E.S.T. fans. When we heard that there are lost records belonging to Esbjörn Svensson Trio from 2007 we really felt like to have found a treasure. What does an E.S.T. fan expect from such an album? Actually, for me, if there were only a short piece of solo of Esbjörn Svensson recorded and mixed qualitatively and released 4 years later then he passed away it would be enough. Well, if you tell me that you have found so many records that can fill an album and already mixed by Esbjörn himself then I start to cry. 301 is such an album that made me cry. It was recorded during the same period with Leucocyte in the same studio; Studios 301 in Sydney Australia. In the interview of Magnus and Dan in Jazzwise of April 2012 Magnum says: “It had been sitting there all that time. Esbjörn did most of the editing on Leucocyte, so where we listened to all that material before, I was not that careful, maybe. So when we came to listen to it again I was really surprised that it was on such a level. It sounded so fresh, so I was really happy about it, that we had some good quality material for release.” It is very different than Leucocyte and other albums. I agree that you hear Leucocyte from time to time but different than all other albums you hear every album of E.S.T. in the album 301. The recording and mixing was made by Ake Linton. The recording is made at Studios 301 in Sydney. The mastering was made by Claes Persson. The mixing and mastering was made at Bohus Sound Recording in Gothenburg, Sweden. The album was released in 2012 by ACT records. The album was also printed on a double LP. As far as we have learned from Magnus and Dan in their last interviews, it is difficult to release another album from early records. That can be the last. Let me give the list of the songs and my comments: 

  1. Behind The Stars (Svensson / Berglund / Öström)
  2. Inner City, City Lights (Svensson / Berglund / Öström)
  3. The Left Lane (Svensson / Berglund / Öström)
  4. Houston, The 5th (Svensson / Berglund / Öström)
  5. Three Falling Free Part I (Svensson / Berglund / Öström)
  6. Three Falling Free Part II (Svensson / Berglund / Öström)
  7. The Childhood Dream (Svensson / Berglund / Öström)  

  1. Behind The Stars: We recognize our legendary pianist Esbjörn Svensson just after his first touch. A very deep and sorrow murmuring of him is heard. Besides, we hear very deep bass effects beating on the background. Dan Berglund sometimes use his bow to accompany Esbjörn. This is a very soft beginning for the album. Considering to what we have listened in the first track, we can say that the ambience is similar to the Leucocyte but this album is much  softer and calmer from all perspectives. The end is linked to the next song.
  2. Inner City, City Lights: The beginning is made by a sound like an openning window. The brushes of Magnus Öström play the drums over a single tone (signal-like) piano. We sometimes hear a transistor radio. The effect, to which I have called the openning window, is heard again between percussions. The double bass produces deep basses. Esbjörn starts to produce a distorted piano (he sometimes hold the pieces inside the piano again for a cold tone) A single tone of high frequency (probably produced from a double-bass played by bow) stays on the background. This background sound is the same with the one in last piece of Leucocyte Ad infinitum. This is certainly a link with the Leucocyte. There is a link with the name of this piece and one of Magnus' poems in the liner notes of E.S.T. Live in Hamburg.
  3. The Left Lane: This is a well known E.S.T. style piece. Trio simply gives the main theme in the entrance then starts to improvise by increasing the tension especially by drums. It is very meaningful that this song is here in that album. It carries lots of memories, having sounds spread over all the albums. As I have mentioned before, 301 is different from other albums for it is carrying all the history of E.S.T. It is linked to both Leucocyte and When Everyone Has Gone. I know these are last records of the group and if Esbjörn were alive they would probably release another album from another record but this last record has a real meaning to be the last one. E.S.T. calms down in this piece for the last three minutes. The last minute is a double-bass solo. The last twenty seconds is just composed of fading brush beats.    
  4. Houston, the 5th: An electronic sound is dominant in the whole piece. This composition or performance has something to do with space or spacecrafts. This may be relevant with the fact that NASA is in Houston. We rarely hear a musical partition. 
  5. Three Falling Free Part I: The end of the previous experimental electronic piece is linked to the piano solo at the entrance of this piece. The bass starts to accompany piano by long notes. Magnus Öström's percussion is granular and soft. We hear deep murmurings from Esbjörn Svensson. The trio starts to improvise after the third minute.  
  6. Three Falling Free Part II: Some beats of Magnus Öström is carried from the ending of the previous piece. This is a great solo entrance from our great drummer. He totally improvises with spontaneous movements and feelings. Listen to that partition carefully before the entrance of the piano, he is just awesome. The piano play some cold and inanimate notes here giving a little tension to the performance. One hand gives the tension by a fast partition while the other is playing a slow changing melody. The bass enters the stage with distortion like an electro-guitar. Then the body of the piece is developed. Now they can start to improvise. Listen to these great performance from beginning to end carefully. Near to the end we really feel like listening to metal music. Magnus Öström and Dan Berglund carry the song to some strange places for jazz again. Check that distortion of the bass. I have decided that they are crazy! The last notes feel like a free fall of a plane to the ground.
  7. The Childhood Dream: This is a wonderful and emotional ending to a great album. The melody carry you to your childhood. The bass and piano talk to each other very softly and intimately. 
Try these samples:
You can read my other posts about E.S.T. and their albums:

Esbjörn Svensson Trio, The Best Trio of All Times:
The review for When Everyone Has Gone:
The review for Winter in Venice:
The review for From Gagarin's Point of View:
The review for Good Morning Susie Soho:
The review for Strange Place For Snow:
The review for Seven Days of Falling:
The review for Viaticum:
The review for Tuesday Wonderland:
The review for Leucocyte:

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