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Moskus: Mestertyven

 

HUBROCD2535/HUBROLP3535
Norwegian release:11.04.2014
International release:19.05.2014
 
CD/LPiTunes Wimp
 

 
 

“Salmesykkel”, the debut album of the group Moskus, received glowing reviews and was nominated for two Norwegian Grammies. In their eagerly awaited second album, “Mestertyven” (“Master Thief”), the trio, comprising pianist Anja Lauvdal, bassist Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson and drummer Hans Hulbækmo, are taking giant steps in a new direction.
 
 
The music on «Salmesykkel» had been in the trio’s repertoire long before they went into the studio, but this time they chose an entirely different approach. The venerable Atlantis Grammofon Studio in Stockholm was exchanged for Risør Church, the grand piano for an upright, and well-rehearsed pieces for untried material.
 
 
Risør Church is a cruciform wooden church built in 1647 that is used as a concert venue every summer during the Risør Chamber Music Festival. «We set ourselves up in the church with sound technician Audun Strype, without any tunes ready, but with plenty of ideas after several tours and a lot of experimentation at a rehearsal venue.» The fact that the ideas evolved then and there, and that the tunes were created while the “tape was running”, helped to give the album a very special atmosphere. The hours of recorded material were later trimmed down, resulting in an album with a far broader range, greater wealth of ideas, and more madness than the previous one. The sense of melody and playfulness that was apparent on the trio’s debut album is still very much present on their second. The decision to exchange the rich tonal palette of a grand piano for the more everyday sound of an upright might seem radical, but it felt very natural for the band. “The sound of the upright piano feels more intimate and more ordinary, and it has a different tonal palette. A little harder. The sound gives associations to old recordings that we have listened to a lot, made in cafés and restaurants. And last, but not least, we feel more equality as a trio without a grand piano. More like a unit.”
 
 
Moskus, on the trio’s new album, are fearless, intuitive and ingenious – a bit like most master thieves.
 
The LP comes in a 180g audiophile pressing, includes CD and is limited to 500 copies.
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Reviews:

  1. Pianotrion har gång på gång visat sig vara en av jazzens mest spännande konstellationer. Uttrycksmöjligheterna visar sig vara om inte oändliga så i alla fall nära på. Moskus låter det vara mycket luft mellan musikerna och mycket luft mellan tonerna. Som hos en del dikter får lyssnaren själv skapa
    sammanhangen mellan instrumenten. En avantgardistisk hållning hörs i en del av låtarna utan att det blir abstrakt, ofta fi nns ändå tillräckligt mycket som håller ihop musiken. Musikerna – Anja Lauvdal, piano, Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson, bas, och Hans Hulbækmo, trummor – hade en helt annan
    skapelseprocess under arbetet med Mestertyven än med sitt sitt debutalbum. Då var det repertoar de spelat länge som hamnade på skivan. Nu gör de precis tvärtom och skapar musiken i stunden. Att de spelat mycket ihop var förstås förutsättningen för ett lyckat resultat. Och visst ror
    de projektet i land, musiken glimmar på det speciella sätt som risktagande och lyhördhet ger. Inte alls dumt.
    - Lira (SE)

  2. Når trioen fyrer av «Fjesing» som om salige Andrew Hill skulle sitte på galleriet i Risørkirken, er det ikke noe forsiktig: «Kanskje vi kan gjøre det sånn?» over musiseringen, men et herlig bestemt: «Det er sånn vi gjør det, for f…!». Den holdningen funker som ei kule gjennom alle de 11 låtene og de 33 minuttene som moroa varer.
    - Terje Mosnes, Jazz I Norge (N)

  3. Moskus musiserer laussleppt utan tryggingsnett og med glimt i auga. Det er ei djerv og fandenivoldsk plate som fortjener mange og dediserte lyttarar.
    - Dag og Tid, Lars Mossefinn (N)

  4. Den gode og spennende melodien er hele tida sterkt til stede og måten de tre utmerkede instrumentalistene “snakker sammen», gjør de på en måte ingen andre jeg kjenner til gjør. Bruken av piano gjør at det hele låter litt mindre pretensiøst enn i skikkelig studio med ditto flygel. Litt råere og nærere på et vis. Uansett versjon – Moskus er en spennende og unik skapning som gir oss noe helt eget.
    - Side2.no 5/6 (N)

  5. “Mestertyven” er en fest.
    - Adresseavisen 5/6

  6. Mestertyven byr på musisering med både skråblikk og alvor, nærhet og distanse. Den er akkurat passe fin, rar og full av krumspring til at Moskus må ses som vår mest interessante pianotrio akkurat nå.
    - Morgenbladet (N)

  7. «Mestertyven» er både frisk, dristig og eksperimentell, men samtidig forlokkende, iørefallende og tidvis beint ut morsom. Der «Salmesykkel» var en varsom introduksjon, har Moskus nå satt en standard.
    - Klassekampen, Chris Monsen 5,5/6 (N)

  8. It’s an album that’s been well worth the two year wait. Why? Well. Mestertyven features music that’s pioneering, dramatic, melodic, ethereal, wistful and intimate.
    - Derek´s Music Blog (UK)

  9. Was sich bereits auf dem Debutalbum angedeutet hatte: Das norwegische Trio Moskus zählt inzwischen erst recht zur ersten Jazzgarnitur des Landes. Natürlich nicht nur, weil eine attraktive Dame am Flügel sitzt, sondern weil der Output der Band im Vergleich zu Salmesykkel zu weiteren Steigerungen fähig ist. Anja Lauvdal, Bassist Dietrichson und Drummer Hulbækmo belegen aufs neue, was in ihnen steckt. Ob in der freien Improvisation oder in sorgsam strukturierten Songs, die drei harmonieren perfekt und stecken sich mit ihrer kreativen Art zu spielen regelrecht an. Weibliche Intuition am Flügel ist nach wie vor eine Seltenheit im Jazz, erst recht in dieser sehr freien, schöpferischen Form, die sich wohltuend vom jazzigen Einerlei anderer Trios absetzt. Der verzahnten Interaktion wird hier erste Priorität eingeräumt und das klappt hervorragend, sei es beim dunklen Donnergrollen, bei treibenden Beats oder bei dem Summen eines emsigen Bienenvolkes. Die ganze Unternehmung wurde diesmal statt in einem regulären Studio in der Holzkirche des südnorwegischen Ortes Risør aufgenommen, was die Akteure ganz offensichtlich zusätzlich beflügelt hat. Der aufgekratzten Spielfreude nach zu urteilen war das jedenfalls eine gute Idee.
    - Sound & Image (DE)

  10. Redan debutanterna Moskus var ett originellt inslag på jazzscenen, med en egen vokabulär. Med denna andra skiva har de tagit ett steg framåt och finkalibrerat sin musik. Av den jazz som görs idag och som har pianot som drivande motor hör Moskus till den mest originella och den som når längst, både in i lyssnaren och ut i musiken.
    - Tidningen Kulturen (SE)

  11. Norwegian piano trio Moskus sounded promising on their calculated, richly detailed debut for Hubro (Salmesykkel, in 2012), but its contrastingly informal successor is a better session, mingling enigmatically stripped-down jazz phrasing, prolonged drone-like trills, blends of postbop, rock and contemporary-classical references, and an expressive percussion sound from Hans Hulbækmo Moskus that sometimes suggests Seb Rochford’s. Recorded unrehearsed in a wooden church, with pianist Anja Lauvdal on an upright, this absorbing set opens with a lurchingly jazzy eccentricity that recalls Monk or Paul Bley, develops in slow ostinatos and languidly weaving motifs (Tandem), grippingly remorseless trills (Rulings and Lille Trille) or slithery improv (Glasblasen), and at times breaks out into unapologetic contemporary jazz, such as on the dynamic Leverpostei, which launches on an exhilarating free-bass improvisation from Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson. Editing the hours of recording seems to have been as important as catching the takes, and the result is fresh, quirky and free, yet tautly coherent.
    - The Guardian, John Fordham 4/5 (UK)

  12. Moskus nennt sich dieses sehr junge Klaviertrio. Schon ihr Debut wurde 2012 für norwegische Grammys nominiert. Eher romantish grundiert war der Erstling, wie sich das für den hohen Norden gehört, doch nun überraschen Anja Lauvdal und ihre beiden Mitspieler mit einer komplett anderen Richtung. Dazu hat sie ihren Flügel gegen ein Upright-Piano getauscht, vorgefertige Kompositionen gegen die freie Improvisation und das Studio gegen eine Kirche. Man war viel unterwegs und kann sich aufs Funktionieren der Interaktion verlassen. Auch rückt so ein Stutzklavier die Spielerin ein bisschen aus dem Zentrum. Was man hört, klingt rau und ruppig nach Monk und nach Saloon. Es hat ebenso viel Ironie wie Selbstbewusstsein, denn so furchtloses Understatement muss man sich erstmal trauen.
    - Leipziger Volkszeitung (DE)

  13. Not surprisingly, some of the most adventurous piano trio music is coming out of Norway, and Moskus follow the example of In the Country, whose albums on Rune Grammofon and ACT I love. Moskus are Anja Laudval (piano), Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson (bass) and Hans Hulbækmo (drums), and their new album, Mestertyven, is their second for the Hubro label. Like its predecessor, 2012′s Salmesykkel, it’s distinguished by a mixture of seriousness and humour. They enjoy undercutting a simple tune with the occasional strange noise from the percussion department, but they never let silliness take over and some of the more intense pieces are exceptional. In the clenching phrases of the brief “Yttersvigen”, for example, you can hear how far one line of this music has come in a more or less straight progression from Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian taking “Milestones” apart at the Village Vanguard back in 1961.
    - The Blue Moment/ Richard Willams (UK)

  14. Almost every composition contains one or another tradition’s traces, from Art Ensemble Of Chicago’s “small instruments” sounds to old movies taper’s piano tunes,but absolutely nothing smells like nostalgia here. Angular,almost ritual rhythms in combination with percussive piano build strange atmosphere – very often trio’s music doesn’t sound as jazz at all: free-form but listener-friendly compositions are all modern world’s almost-catchy songs,ascetic tribal rhythms are dzen and rock aesthetics two in one,Ran Blake-recalling piano is nothing but source of modern “film noir” soundtrack. Well done music, young,fresh and modern. I am already curious what will come next.
    - Jazzmusicarchives.com

  15. Trio Moskus, whose roots are in LA’s refined mid-Sixties improvisational scene. Their skittering second album Mestertyven is even more assured than debut Salmesykkel.
    - The Arts Desk, Kieron Tyler (UK)

  16. Norwegian avant trio (Anja Lauvdal, piano; Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson, double bass; Hans Hulbekmo, drums), a breath of fresh air and remarkably charming and playful—opener “Fjesing” features scattered, pick-up-sticks drumming while a twiddling upright piano stutters and stumbles into what could be an accidental Mario Bros. homage; the following “Tandem med Sankt Peter” a leisurely stroll through the park.
    Unlike their ultra-rehearsed debut Salmesykkel, the group holed themselves up in Risør Church with sound technician Audun Strype and recorded hours of largely improvisatory material, later cutting down the excess to this trim half-hour. Album title translates as “Master Thief,” band name as “Musk.” They certainly steal your attention, and I’d say their scent is pretty sweet.
    - The Politician / Jazz Notes

  17. Unpredictability is a very appealing ingredient in music and it is a major element the group MOSKUS’ [Anja Lauvdal-p, Fredrik Dietrichson-b, Hans Hulbaekmo-dms] recording MESTERTYVEN [Hubro 2535]. Mestertyven is Norwegian for “master thief”. I probably played this short CD [33:00] over 7 times. 11 instant compositions make up this CD, a fact I didn’t realize until I began writing about this CD and read the enclosed hype. If this case of instant composing is accurate, then this is a remarkably in-tune and intuitive trio. The music ranges from spastic rhythms to lyrical ramblings and no track is longer than 5 minutes, most being well under that, leaving little opportunity to get bored. Brief as the tracks may be there is a clear sense of completeness. Rhythmic and arhythmic this group’s CD is a winner in inventive instant composition.
    - Cadence, Robert D Rusch (USA)

  18. Moskus’ sense of melody, playfulness, and humor is kept on its new album, but the unique, intimate atmosphere of the historical church and this particular recording called for an informal, adventurous approach. The intuitive, experimental version of Moskus’ sound is now a tight, democratic, and egalitarian unit…An imaginative, fearless trio.
    - Allaboutjazz.com (USA)

  19. This time they assembled in a 17th century wooden church, exchanged the grand for an upright and went for a recording session without much prewritten. Them being Anja Lauvdal: piano; Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson: double bass; Hans Hulbækmo: drums. Also known as Moskus. And by their previous album Salmesykkel, nice word, which to those of the Norwegian persuasion among us might sound as Psalmbike. And that kind of makes sense, there is the feel of psalms there and of a country ride on a bicycle. Quiet joy. The new album is called Mestertyven (master thief). It is altogether a different ride, still on a bike though. The countryside has changed and their ears have taken them out on a more roving course, a sparse theme is conjured up out of nothing much (stolen), that theme sets up a drive, a context and over and in this context the theme is played in, out, over and through. When much is said, all is done and we’re left with the subtle shading of a phial containing Nordic air. Titles are Yttersvingen (Outer circuit) which goes out around the bend, on broken rhythm, Leverpostei med Brie (Liverpaste with Brie) which could be too much of a good thing to anyone but it stumbles nicely through the changes here and manages to bring all to a timely end. Most of the pieces are open ended explorations of the particular soundworld they find themselves in whether it be the pastoral sheen of Tradisjonskvelern or the hypnotic patterns of Tandem med Sankt Peter. Glasblasern delivers an eerie tinkling scene of free flowing faeries and manages to pull that off. Jag har ett agg (I have a grudge) contains a patiently buzzing bumblebee, it is the flight of, but not as you know it. Sound is used to intensify the silence. Sounds taken at face value and used, stolen from Monk, Bley, Moondog, some Harry Partch, and shaped into little slips of something. Quiet exhilaration. Thieves want quiet, not a barking dog. They will move on to the next house. The poet alone is capable of absorbing in himself the life that surrounds him and of flinging it abroad again amid planetary music (James Joyce). Listen. (nice cover too)
    - Free Jazz Collective, Hugo Truyens