Moskus could be the perfect 21st century piano, bass and drums trio. Rather than fetishising about the acoustic purity of their sound, the virtuosity of their instrumental technique, or the integrity of their compositional structures, Anja Lauvdal (keys), Fredrik Luhr Deitrichson (double bass) and Hans Hulbækmo (drums/percussion) seem to improvise on ideas more than themes or tunes, and to change direction quickly and effectively as they go, abandoning one thought for another with a refreshing lack of fuss.
You can even imagine, instead of musical notation and dots on staves, a series of pictograms, obscure mathematical graphics or spidery Venn diagrams forming and reforming in the air as they play, the ideas rising up to bounce off the ceiling or escape out the window to be reprocessed in another context, perhaps by another group. Similarly, the music can appear as notes or sketches towards something rather than the thing itself, for in the Moskus universe there may be no such thing as a finished product, as everything remains permanently in flux and subject to further adaption and change. Even as it is articulated, a thought or musical phrase is already being reconsidered or evolving into something else. This is contingent music, hyper-alert to nuance and environment, changing like temperature or the weather just as the dynamic of the trio shifts its emphasis when roles are exchanged or the lead swapped from one player to another.
Moskus is also a piano trio that is often happy to function without a piano. On ‘Mirakler’, Anja Lauvdal’s frequent use of Yamaha or Korg keyboards summons up the ghost-voicings of an electronic past, from echoes of Sun Ra’s Solavox to Vangelis’s early-digital Fairlight and Kraftwerk’s analogue synths, as if curating a museum of bygone sounds to illustrate our nostalgia for the future. Previously, Lauvdal, who plays both upright and grand pianos on ‘Mirakle’ as well as keyboards and Hammond organ, has spoken about how Moskus feel "more equality as a trio without a grand piano”, as if the instrument carries within its innards of wire, wood and felt the whole socially divisive history of western music. “The sound of the upright piano feels more intimate and more ordinary, and it has a different tonal palette, a little harder”, Lauvdal said at the time of the trio’s second album, 'Mestertyven'- Master Thief