Trio ELF: Amsterdam (2013)
"ELF" is the acronym of the first letters of the last names of the democratic threesome: drummer Gerwin Eisenhauer, pianist Lang, and bassist Sven Faller. The group specializes in reshaping the piano trio approach with Drum 'n' Bass, Dubstep and Hip Hop grooves, a modernization of sorts that doesn't completely turn its back on tradition.
In fact, Amsterdamrecorded live in that city's famous Bimhuis Clubopens with the delicate, acoustic "Casa Do Tom," a drifting-on-a-cloud tune that showcases the trio's gentler side. It's the second offering, "Arearea," that takes the sound out on the modern tangent. Tight and mechanistic, and aided by Mario Sutel's real time sonic manipulations, the tune could be a soundtrack for a automatic, android-manned factory stamping out complex computer parts. And the androids are dancing.
"Evet" hums into being on an eerie, reverberant bowed bass, before it shifts into a groove as tight as something Nik Bartsch's Ronin might conjure, with an electric warble backdrop. Lang's piano slipps into a fragile melody inside the powerhouse foundation of the bass and drums.
The majority of the songwriting credits are shared by Lang and Feller; Lang's "Hammer Baby Hammer" shifting out of a pounding rhythm into an almost pastoral reverie, leading back into the return of the rhythmic relentlessness, then back to Lang as his plucks out astringent notes in front of Eisenhauer's rat-ta-tat drumming, accompanied by an electric glow of manipulations. Faller's "Adria" features a softer sound. A hushed ballad, almost a whisper at first, that then explodes as the trio goes into a brief segment of the seismic permissiveness that wanes into, again, the gentle reverie of the opening.
Lang's "No Goodbyes" closes out the show with a seven minutes of supple interplay on seven minutes of understated, acoustic beauty.
Track Listing: Casa Do Tom; Arearea: Evet; Sounds in My Garden; Hammer Baby Hammer; Why? Because; 746; The Dark Sea; Down; Adria; The Man-Machine; No goodbye.
Personnel: Walter Lang: piano; Gerwin Eisenhauer: drums; Sven Faller: bass; Mario Sutel: Realtime Sonic Manipulation.
Record Label: Enja Records
Style: Modern Jazz