9

Trio Elf: Music Box Music

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
German pianist Walter Lang leads something of a double life, musically. On the one hand, he fronts standard piano trios with an impressionist bent—in the mode of a Marc Copland—on recordings like Softly As In A Morning Sunrise (Hagel Neyer Records, 2005) and Eurasia (M & I Records, 2009); on another hand, he heads up Trio ELF, a group with very modernized approach to the piano trio format, one that incorporates synth-like grooves and dance club beats, and staccato hip hop rhythms.

Music Box Music is the group's sixth album, and in keeping with the precision aspect of actual music boxes—eighteenth versions of the contraptions were crafted by Swiss watchmakers—ELF's sound incorporates an often machine-like rhythmic precision, due in large part due to the inputs of bassist Peter Cudek and drummer Gerwin Eisenhauer.

Though precise, the sounds of music boxes were/are delicately pretty sounds. Lang produces that atmosphere on the opening of "Danca Da Fita," with a light plinking of the keys on a deliciously coy melody, before the bass and drum come in to supply a relentless momentum. On "Stadium," Lang opens with deep, bell tolling notes that shift—with the entry of his band mates—into a dance club groove.

Unrelenting, inflexible rhythms are often backdrops for Lang's gentler, more pastoral, more impressionist side. "Emptiness" begins with a brooding piano reverie, backed by softly mechanistic, D.J.-esque brushwork from Eisenhauer. "Tripolis" features Lang laying down a catchy melody, then changing gears to slip into an electric music box, plugged-in-at-the-club trio mode. "Salutation To the Sun" radiates hope, optimism.

Music Box Music walks a line, with perfect balance, between the modernistic, hyper-rhythmic piano trio, and the more lyrical, traditional side of the format.

Track Listing: Emptiness; Prelude To ELF Police; The ELF Police; Tripolis; Salutation To The Sun; Usain; Lullaby For A Weakling Child; Danca Da Fita; Suq.

Personnel: Walter Lang: piano; Gerwin Eisenhauer: drums; Petr Cudex: bass.

Title: Music Box Music | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: ENJA - Yellowbird


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Subtle Energy" CD/LP/Track Review Subtle Energy
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 13, 2016
Read "The Book of Transfigurations" CD/LP/Track Review The Book of Transfigurations
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "Live At The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "The Big Beat" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Beat
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Beguiled" CD/LP/Track Review Beguiled
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31" CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.