ENEMY is the trio of British pianist Kit Downes and drummer James Maddren with Swedish, Berlin-based double bass player Petter Eldh. The Betrayal is the trio’s third album, following the self-titled debut (Edition, 2018) and Vermillion (ECM 2022), recorded at Hansa Studios in Berlin in April 2022.
The Betrayal features Downes and Eldh as the main composers with two pieces credited to the trio. The album was recorded in a single day, and edited, produced and mixed by the band themselves, following ENEMY’s ethos of not rehearsing but playing live a lot, taking risks, always writing new music and always sounding as fresh as possible. The sound of this album is completely different from the ECM’s sound of Vermillion which was more reserved and stressed echo and reverb. The Betrayal’s sound is more compact and tight and focused on the trio’s light-speed rhythmic patterns’ urgency and intensity and the dense harmonic clusters. The 12 pieces are short and ENEMY does not attach itself too long to any idea or motif, simply let it develop, try it out, perfect it and then throw it out, before beginning this process again.
There is a strong sense of organic playfulness, almost a swinging one, in ENEMY’s dynamics, following the trio’s philosophy of «no risk, no fun», and, obviously, the close rapport that Downes, Maddren and Eldh have established over the years, with the natural, unassuming but stimulating dynamics of the trio. So the trio juggles constantly with sudden contradictions and collisions, twists and turns, without losing focus and on its distinct sound, and shines like a strong, like-minded collective.
Kit Downes (piano), Petter Eldh (double bass), James Maddren (drums)