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Thursday, October 16, 2008


320 KBPS

Toeing a surprisingly fine line between acoustic-jazz accessibility and electronic-music ingenuity, E.S.T. (Esbjörn Svensson Trio) is a forward-thinking Swedish trio that adds subtle, dark ambient texture (and then some) to the traditional piano-trio format. As with the group's first Columbia release, Somewhere Else Before, there is a nice mix of well-constructed tunes with catchy, often-lilting melodies. The band is at its best when playing slow, contemplative ballads ("Serenade for the Renegade" is a highlight) that have the same kind of romantic leanings as pianist Bill Evans, yet the three occasionally pick up momentum on tunes like "Behind the Yashmak," without ever abandoning the song's lyricism. The trio also does other things to keep it fresh: they bring in some simple folk music balladry, add some classical music complexity, and even touch on the creeping influence of electro rock à la Radiohead. Strange Place for Snow should add a lot of new American voices to the deafening roar that surrounds this band in Europe.

1. The Message
2. Serenade For The Renegade
3. Strange Place For Snow
4. Behind The Yashmak
5. Bound For The Beauty Of The South
6. Years Of Yearning
7. When God Created The Coffeebreak
8. Spunky Sprawl
9. Carcrash (+ hidden untitled track)

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