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The Malmö-based pan-Scandinavian Eka Trio – Swedish guitarist and main composer of the trio Tomas Hörnberg, Norwegian electric bass player Anne Marte Eggen and Finnish drummer Pontus Häggblom, expands its sonic envelope on its sophomore album «O» with two guests – sax player Karolina Almgren and trombonist Göran Abelli. In addition, guitarist and main composer of the trio Hörnberg exchanged his electric guitar for a nylon stringed guitar and synth guitar.

«O» has a unique structure. It is split into four short chapters of two to three short compositions, divided with brief interludes. The dominant leisured-breezy guitar of Hörnberg’s slides into country-ish song-based territories, still suggesting nuanced and cinematic stories but now bringing to mind the sound of the seminal trios of Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny.

The first chapter introduces the updated sound of the trio. «Oumuamua» that concludes this chapter, with guest sax player Almgren, introduces a more complex, lyrical atmosphere. The second chapter even goes further with the new, leisured country-ish atmosphere, but relies now on acoustic, chamber interplay.

The last chapters are more interesting. The third chapter offers the most complex stories, especially when trombonist Abelli joins on «A Hint of Yellow» or when Hörnberg employs the vintage synth guitar on «Untold Secrets of an Imaginary Dog». The interplay of the trio finally opens to more complex, sometimes even tensed, improvised interplay. The last chapter is the most touching one, bringing it back home with its quiet, a bit melancholic spirit of «Vila, fyra bokstäver» and «When You Need to Go Home but Don’t Want To», both with Abelli who integrates naturally in Eka Trio.

Eyal Hareuveni

Tomas Hörnberg (g), Anne Marte Eggen (b), Pontus Hägglom (dr), Karolina Almgren (s), Göran Abelli (tb)

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