Sun Jun 25
1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20007
The Oddgeir Berg Trio have waited four years for this "brand new day". After Before Dawn in 2018 and 2020's In the End of the Night, the third part of their trilogy around the wee small hours now opens its eyes to the light. The conceptual focus on the brighter side has made the album their most dynamic, confident and diverse collection yet.
And this despite the fact that the album was recorded under immense pressure and at the least opportune time. The trio had been planning to record new material for a while when the Norwegian government announced a lockdown. With only three days left before an uncertain future, they headed to the studio and completed the entire record in an intense session.
Remarkably, the tone of these nine new originals is hopeful and upbeat rather than gloomy and fearful. The melancholic sound world of the previous two releases is still present on the opening two cuts, “The Dream of Adam” and “Dancing through the Storm”, which seem like a direct continuation of the narrative. Once the transition is complete, however, brighter moods and energetic rhythms dominate the picture - is that solo piano intro to “Sunday Mood” possibly even a reference to 70s funk classic “Lady Marmelade”?
If previous Oddgeir Berg Trio albums made you think of ECM, the new one carves out a more personal sound. Much of this sonic signature came about in post-production. Berg remembers the process as one of careful touches: "To me, it feels like an evolving landscape. I have quite a few synths and effect pedals in my locker, but I try not to overdo things. I always ask myself: Does this add a new and beneficial dimension to the mix - or is it too much?"
Of course, neither he nor his collaborators Karl-Joakim Wisløff (bass) and Lars Berntsen (drums) can deny their Nordic nature. And so, towards the end of the album, the tune “Bring on the Night” again descends into darkness. Perhaps an album which is also about waiting for a pandemic to end had to. But in conceptual terms, this, too, is where the circle closes – now, you can put on Before Dawn and simply continue listening.
Sponsored with the Embassy of Norway