The Norwegian piano trio Moskus – pianist and synth player Anja Lauvdal, drummer-percussionist Hans Hulbækmo and double bass player-cellist Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson, is not a conventional one. It’s fifth album, «Live på Victoria» (Nasjonal Jazzscene), marking its ten anniversary, was free-improvised and explored extended textures.
Moskus in its current incarnation focuses on the tension between the pop-ish, new-age-ish melodic themes of Lauvdal’s synth and the more elaborate and nuanced rhythmic abstraction of these themes by the imaginative rhythm section of Hulbækmo and Luhr Dietrichson, This tension between the one-dimensional, repetitive and coincidental musings of Lauvdal and the layered and clever comments and responses of Hulbækmo and Luhr Dietrichson feeds the opening piece «Første improvisasjon».
Hulbækmo and Luhr Dietrichson take the lead on «Andre improvisasjon», building a muscular, chamber interplay with the bowing work of Luhr Dietrichson and the fragmented pulse of Hulbækmo. Lauvdal introduces later on a cosmic, organ plus harmonica-like drone that immediately adds a spiritual aroma mixed with human-like voices to the tight, addictive groove. When Lauvdal settles on the piano this improvisation turns into a playful and emotional conversation between her and Hulbækmo and Luhr Dietrichson.
The longest, 36-minutes of «Tredje improvisasjon» feeds on the previous groove but dares more. Lauvdal still produces a series of simple, sparkling themes, some are nodding towards the cinematic scores of Ennio Morricone, but now the ever-resourceful Hulbækmo and Luhr Dietrichson push for a fast-shifting and, free-associative, rhythmic dialog. This interplay gravitates eventually into an ecstatic and intense, free-jazz improvisation with Lauvdal hammering the piano keys and Hulbækmo and Luhr Dietrichson providing a propulsive and highly effective pulse. Fine conclusion for this long and unwinding journey.
Anja Lauvdal (p, synth), Hans Hulbækmo (dr, perc), Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson (b, c)