This Scandinavian trio recorded its fourth album in Seattle, WA featuring resident violaist Eyvind Kang and synth performer Timothy Mason lending their wares during various segments. An atmospheric engagement projecting a sense of antiquity, it's often what the musicians don't play that establishes the premise for the artful and rather haunting song-forms executed throughout their cunning playbook. Nestled within slow to moderate pulses, veiled with dark ambient characteristics and judicious use of electronics, the band renders a syndicate of otherworldly tone poems. The opening track, Long Story," is a forbearer of what follows on the remainder of the ...read more
In recent years, as ever-increasing numbers of piano-bass-drums trios have appeared on the scene and released their debut albums, it has become a truism that any such group needs to have its own unique selling point to distinguish it from the crowd. It is no longer enough to write or cover good songs and to play them well--that is not guaranteed to separate a new group from the rest, nor is adopting and adapting elements of already successful piano trios. Favourite trios to copy (or steal from) are, in no particular order, The Bad Plus, The Necks and e.s.t.--each of ...read more
Splashgirl Pressure Hubro 2011 This radiant album from Norwegian piano trio Splashgirl is unlike anything that came before it, except, in some measure, its immediate predecessor, Arbor (Hubro, 2009), whose trajectory it develops. Certainly, nothing quite like it has come out of central Europe or the US. An approximate comparative starting point would be the work of Australian trio The Necks, with which Splashgirl shares a fondness for quietness, pretty tunes, gently mesmerizing grooves and trippy electronic manipulation. But there is none of The Necks' embrace of stasis, and considerably more ...read more
Doors. Keys. (AIM)--coupled with a 2008 performance at Kristiansand, Norway's annual Punkt Festival--introduced Splashgirl as one of 2008's most intriguing new groups. Arbor affirms Splashgirl as one of improvising music's quietest ensembles.
The same core trio is back. Pianist Andreas Stensland Løwe, bassist Jo Berger Myhre, and drummer Andreas Lønmo Knudsrød all play in a number of groups showcased each year at the opening Punkt Elope mini-fest, which Løwe produces to bring attention to a vibrant young scene of Norwegian artists covering a wide swath of territory and stylistic cross-pollination. Doors. Keys. focused on piano, bass, ...read more
As exciting as Norway's annual Punkt Festival always is, there's inevitably one group that stands out as the sleeper hit--unexpected and lesser-known, perhaps, but delivering an especially memorable performance. Splashgirl's show was the hands-down sleeper hit of Punkt 08, and its debut disc, Doors. Keys., further bolsters its reputation as a group to watch. A piano trio at heart (though augmented with a pedal steel guitarist at its Punkt performance), its expansion to a sextet on selected tracks only clarifies the innate classicism that informs Splashgirl's unique approach to composition and improvisation.Pianist Andreas Stensland Lowe ... read more
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3Day three of Punkt 08 ranked as one of the strongest of the past three years. What's remarkable about the programming in the Agder Theatre is the attention to details beyond the music--though that would be enough. With lights and set design by Tord Knutsen, video by Jan Martin Vagen, and a team of Norway's best sound engineers including Geir Ostenjo, Frederik Rodberg, Kjell Morten Bruun, Elise Onseng, Phillip Moe and Mons Aasheim, Punkt sets the bar for sound and vision so high that it leaves most other festivals in ... read more