EST: 301 – review

(ACT)

Posthumously released albums can be little more than opportunistic outtake-trawling, but not this one. Eighteen months before the Swedish pianist and composer Esbjörn Svensson's accidental death in 2008, his trio recorded nine hours of material in Sydney's 301 Studio – some of which was released as the apparently final EST album, Leucocyte. 301 is a selection from the rest. With its extended group jams, expanded electronics and reduction of solos, the set consolidates Leucocyte's shift to a sound-texture feel more like that of Australian improv trio the Necks. It's a must for EST fans – if only for new examples of the ways Svensson's fluid, Brad Mehldau-like figures mesh with the sound of Magnus Öström's rumbling drums and Dan Berglund's dramatic bass. But it's also a thoughtfully assembled balance of elements – minimalist drones, fiercely metallic fuzz-bass noise explorations, rock thrashings in which Berglund's basslines eerily recall Cream's Jack Bruce – and a real enhancement of the EST story.

Contributor

John Fordham

The GuardianTramp

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