CD REVIEW: Enemy – Enemy

 
Enemy – Enemy
(Edition. EDN1112. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)


Enemy is a trio featuring Kit Downes on piano, Frans Petter Eldh (bass) and James Maddren (drums). Together they seem to be trying to take the familiar form of the piano trio down some less well-trodden paths.

Eldh wrote four of the tracks and Downes six, though it's hard to tell who wrote what: the music the trio make has a unified sound and feel. What makes Enemy stand out is their approach to rhythm: Maddren creates complex, faltering, almost stammering beats. Coupled with frequent changes of tempo, it's as if some of the tunes are almost about to trip over, without doing so.

Several of the melodies have a naive, childlike character to them, which coupled with the rhythms can be almost jarring. There are also moments of softness and beauty. Brandy features the vibraphone of Lewis Wright (with whom Downes recently collaborated on the album Duets) and brings some lovely touches. The interplay between Wright and Downes, first in unison and then as each solos, provides depth.

Two slower numbers, Ruster and Fogo, give the musicians the space to explore more sensitive areas. Fogo features an extensive bass solo from Eldh, exploring the highs and lows of his instrument. Maddren is at his most fluid and swinging, deftly driving the music along.

Politix seems to sum up the album, encompassing the different aspects of the trio seen throughout the record. It is changeable, with slow, contemplative passages, livelier playful sections, a bit of swing, and darker, heavier themes.

Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. Twitter: @patrickhadfield

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