In 2022, it has been more than a decade since the influential Swedish pianist/composer Esbjorn Svensson passed. The measure of his impact can be calculated in the ongoing comparisons of up-and-coming piano trios to his groundbreaking Esbjorn Svensson Trio. Several weeks before Svensson's untimely death his wife Eva heard him recording solo piano pieces in their home. She backed up his files for posterity but would not return to those recordings for more than ten years. She teamed up with e.s.t. sound engineer Åke Linton and the end product is HOME.S.
Svensson has rarely been heard without the accompaniment of bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Ostrom and, in that, the temperament of HOME.S. is not just warmer, but in retrospect, moving. Eva Svensson titled the album's tracks after letters in the Greek alphabet, in recognition of her husband's interest in wide-ranging historical and mythical influences. "Alpha," "Beta" and "Gamma" are each plaintive but always with some cerebral element that pulls the ear in. Within the nine compositions, there are blueprints that could have been the foundation for the most challenging work of e.s.t. on Leucocyte (ACT, 2008). "Delta" and "Theta" in particular have boisterous intensity and rock-influenced energy that would be at home in the trio repertoire.
For the most part, HOME.S. is an affecting offering for the fans of the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, one that his wife describes as "getting a message smuggled over the border." It is also a different perspective of the deft composer/pianist, with everything else stripped away. HOME.S. is the only complete solo recording project from Esbjorn Svensson, though it does not represent the pianist's only recorded solo work. Svensson contributed four tracks to Solo Flights (Fairground, 1997). That Swedish release also featured the pianist on five duo tracks. HOME.S. is neither a collector's item nor a novelty; it is an exceptionally insightful, and relevant collection from Gagarin's or anyone's point of view.
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