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Esbjörn Svensson Trio|HOME.S.

HOME.S.

Esbjörn Svensson

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Since the tragic death of E.S.T. leader, pianist, and composer Esbjörn Svensson in 2008, we've seen the release of the band's final studio albums in Leucocyte and 301, the E.S.T. Symphony assembled by trio members Dan Berglund and Magnus Öström with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and more recently, a pair of archival live albums from London and Gothenburg. Amazingly, none of that prepares us for HOME.S., an intimate collection of nine solo piano songs Svensson composed spontaneously and recorded in his home studio just weeks before his death. Eva Svensson, his wife and business partner, heard him composing and recording. As was her custom, she backed up his files on a hard drive; it became part of her personal archive. The files sat unheard for more than ten years. After rediscovering them, she enlisted Åke Linton -- E.S.T.'s sound engineer -- and titled them after letters in the Greek alphabet to celebrate her husband's interest in history and mythology. These nine pieces aren't outtakes or novelties but completely unheard songs that offer us the only complete album of Svensson's solo playing and composing. "Alpha" opens the album with whispered chords. The melody emerges crystalline, circular, and assonant, with just enough drama to captivate and play repeatedly. "Gamma" is a haunted ballad that spreads its architecture across pop, gospel, and folk. Its use of themes associated with Bill Evans and Bobo Stenson are not only clever in articulation, they also bridge three generations of jazz pianists. It is fair to assume that some of these tunes were composed for Svensson's ears only. That said, others seem intended for more extensive treatments by the trio. In particular, the angular, harpsichord-like "Delta," with deft lower-middle register flights and pulsing chord voicings would have been expanded by the rhythm section. Their sense of drama in presentation was almost always tempered by their imaginative timbral palette. "Theta" commences classically; Svensson's approach initially suggests a Bach sonata, but he deconstructs the harmony and stretches time signatures to the breaking point using clever ostinatos and a massive chordal playground. It never abandons the classical motif but does inject it with jazz syncopation. In the gorgeous "Epsilon," Svensson is motivated by classical harmony, but his use of pedals, sense of phrasing, and double-handed chord voicings are cinematic save for his (very) gentle humming amid the tune's flow and directional shifts. Closer "Iota" is so tender and deliberate that it sounds like an improvisation on a nursery rhyme. That said, there are canny juxtapositions of progressions and sharp arpeggios that blur together in the pianist's scalar vocabularies. Ultimately, HOME.S. offers an overflow of Svensson's unclassifiable style. His ever-eclectic approach to composition and improvisation is always original. Though some of these selections are sketches that sought further development, Eva, Linton, and ACT have provided fans with a great gift: hearing Svensson's wildly idiosyncratic, very private composing process at the moment of creation.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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HOME.S.

Esbjörn Svensson Trio

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1
Alpha
00:04:01

Åke Linton, Mastering Engineer - Esbjörn Svensson, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Sound Engineer, Piano, Artist, MainArtist - Eva Svensson, Mastering Engineer - Classe Persson, Mastering Engineer - ACT Music Publishing e.K., MusicPublisher

2022 ACT Music + Vision GmbH + Co. KG under exclusive license by Bam & Bat AB 2022 ACT Music+Vision GmbH+Co.KG under exclusive licence by Bam & Bat AB

2
Beta
00:03:35

Åke Linton, Mastering Engineer - Esbjörn Svensson, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Sound Engineer, Piano, Artist, MainArtist - Eva Svensson, Mastering Engineer - Classe Persson, Mastering Engineer - ACT Music Publishing e.K., MusicPublisher

2022 ACT Music + Vision GmbH + Co. KG under exclusive license by Bam & Bat AB 2022 ACT Music+Vision GmbH+Co.KG under exclusive licence by Bam & Bat AB

3
Gamma
00:06:08

Åke Linton, Mastering Engineer - Esbjörn Svensson, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Sound Engineer, Piano, Artist, MainArtist - Eva Svensson, Mastering Engineer - Classe Persson, Mastering Engineer - ACT Music Publishing e.K., MusicPublisher

2022 ACT Music + Vision GmbH + Co. KG under exclusive license by Bam & Bat AB 2022 ACT Music+Vision GmbH+Co.KG under exclusive licence by Bam & Bat AB

4
Delta
00:02:48

Åke Linton, Mastering Engineer - Esbjörn Svensson, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Sound Engineer, Piano, Artist, MainArtist - Eva Svensson, Mastering Engineer - Classe Persson, Mastering Engineer - ACT Music Publishing e.K., MusicPublisher

2022 ACT Music + Vision GmbH + Co. KG under exclusive license by Bam & Bat AB 2022 ACT Music+Vision GmbH+Co.KG under exclusive licence by Bam & Bat AB

5
Epsilon
00:04:36

Åke Linton, Mastering Engineer - Esbjörn Svensson, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Sound Engineer, Piano, Artist, MainArtist - Eva Svensson, Mastering Engineer - Classe Persson, Mastering Engineer - ACT Music Publishing e.K., MusicPublisher

2022 ACT Music + Vision GmbH + Co. KG under exclusive license by Bam & Bat AB 2022 ACT Music+Vision GmbH+Co.KG under exclusive licence by Bam & Bat AB

6
Zeta
00:03:19

Åke Linton, Mastering Engineer - Esbjörn Svensson, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Sound Engineer, Piano, Artist, MainArtist - Eva Svensson, Mastering Engineer - Classe Persson, Mastering Engineer - ACT Music Publishing e.K., MusicPublisher

2022 ACT Music + Vision GmbH + Co. KG under exclusive license by Bam & Bat AB 2022 ACT Music+Vision GmbH+Co.KG under exclusive licence by Bam & Bat AB

7
Eta
00:07:06

Åke Linton, Mastering Engineer - Esbjörn Svensson, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Sound Engineer, Piano, Artist, MainArtist - Eva Svensson, Mastering Engineer - Classe Persson, Mastering Engineer - ACT Music Publishing e.K., MusicPublisher

2022 ACT Music + Vision GmbH + Co. KG under exclusive license by Bam & Bat AB 2022 ACT Music+Vision GmbH+Co.KG under exclusive licence by Bam & Bat AB

8
Theta
00:02:29

Åke Linton, Mastering Engineer - Esbjörn Svensson, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Sound Engineer, Piano, Artist, MainArtist - Eva Svensson, Mastering Engineer - Classe Persson, Mastering Engineer - ACT Music Publishing e.K., MusicPublisher

2022 ACT Music + Vision GmbH + Co. KG under exclusive license by Bam & Bat AB 2022 ACT Music+Vision GmbH+Co.KG under exclusive licence by Bam & Bat AB

9
Iota
00:02:20

Åke Linton, Mastering Engineer - Esbjörn Svensson, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Sound Engineer, Piano, Artist, MainArtist - Eva Svensson, Mastering Engineer - Classe Persson, Mastering Engineer - ACT Music Publishing e.K., MusicPublisher

2022 ACT Music + Vision GmbH + Co. KG under exclusive license by Bam & Bat AB 2022 ACT Music+Vision GmbH+Co.KG under exclusive licence by Bam & Bat AB

Album Description

Since the tragic death of E.S.T. leader, pianist, and composer Esbjörn Svensson in 2008, we've seen the release of the band's final studio albums in Leucocyte and 301, the E.S.T. Symphony assembled by trio members Dan Berglund and Magnus Öström with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and more recently, a pair of archival live albums from London and Gothenburg. Amazingly, none of that prepares us for HOME.S., an intimate collection of nine solo piano songs Svensson composed spontaneously and recorded in his home studio just weeks before his death. Eva Svensson, his wife and business partner, heard him composing and recording. As was her custom, she backed up his files on a hard drive; it became part of her personal archive. The files sat unheard for more than ten years. After rediscovering them, she enlisted Åke Linton -- E.S.T.'s sound engineer -- and titled them after letters in the Greek alphabet to celebrate her husband's interest in history and mythology. These nine pieces aren't outtakes or novelties but completely unheard songs that offer us the only complete album of Svensson's solo playing and composing. "Alpha" opens the album with whispered chords. The melody emerges crystalline, circular, and assonant, with just enough drama to captivate and play repeatedly. "Gamma" is a haunted ballad that spreads its architecture across pop, gospel, and folk. Its use of themes associated with Bill Evans and Bobo Stenson are not only clever in articulation, they also bridge three generations of jazz pianists. It is fair to assume that some of these tunes were composed for Svensson's ears only. That said, others seem intended for more extensive treatments by the trio. In particular, the angular, harpsichord-like "Delta," with deft lower-middle register flights and pulsing chord voicings would have been expanded by the rhythm section. Their sense of drama in presentation was almost always tempered by their imaginative timbral palette. "Theta" commences classically; Svensson's approach initially suggests a Bach sonata, but he deconstructs the harmony and stretches time signatures to the breaking point using clever ostinatos and a massive chordal playground. It never abandons the classical motif but does inject it with jazz syncopation. In the gorgeous "Epsilon," Svensson is motivated by classical harmony, but his use of pedals, sense of phrasing, and double-handed chord voicings are cinematic save for his (very) gentle humming amid the tune's flow and directional shifts. Closer "Iota" is so tender and deliberate that it sounds like an improvisation on a nursery rhyme. That said, there are canny juxtapositions of progressions and sharp arpeggios that blur together in the pianist's scalar vocabularies. Ultimately, HOME.S. offers an overflow of Svensson's unclassifiable style. His ever-eclectic approach to composition and improvisation is always original. Though some of these selections are sketches that sought further development, Eva, Linton, and ACT have provided fans with a great gift: hearing Svensson's wildly idiosyncratic, very private composing process at the moment of creation.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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