Remarkably, given that Chromola is only 1982's fifth album release, it also marks the tenth anniversary of the trio's formation. In 2007, drummer Øyvind Skarbø asked fiddler Nils Økland if the two could form a duo to play a concert series Skarbø ran. Økland agreed if they could be joined by keyboardist Sigbjørn Apeland a collaborator of Økland's for over twenty years. The trio's debut performance was on Valentine's Day 2007. The rest is history...
Despite the sparsity of their discography, on disc the trio have established a strong identity, characterised by their very lack of identity; their album tracks are minimally titled with their running times, while their album covers picture nondescript buildings rather than the musicians. And the band name is simply the year of Skarbø's birth.
Fortunately, the trio have invested far more effort in their music, always making it varied and engaging. So, on 1982 + B.J. Cole (Hubro, 2012), they collaborated with the renowned pedal-steel guitarist, while for one track on their last album A / B (Hubro, 2014) they added a wind quintet, to good effect.
Now, after such diversions, Chromola features the core trio alone, unadorned. For fans and admirers of the threesome, that is excellent news as it allows 1982's melodic blend of violin, keyboards and drums to shine, and their well-developed understanding of one another to be appreciated. In a break with past practice, Apeland mainly plays pipe organ instead of his customary harmonium (which does appear on one track) as the album was recorded in Sandviken church in Bergen. As with past changes to the recipe, the defining features of the trio remain essentially untouched and as distinct as they doubtless were back in 2007. On this showing, long may they thrive.
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