This album represents the most fruitful shift in Eckemoff’s career by joining her with bassist Mads Vinding and drummer Peter Erskine. Her relationship with the latter is particularly striking and achieves a clearly discernible balance of distance and intimacy throughout. Erskine’s profoundly subtle craft—sharing peerage with Jon Christensen especially in the use of cymbals—ever so delicately paints in those gaps that the piano leaves untouched in its abyss. His gestures swirl like snowdrifts, each the afterthought of something internally more dramatic. These wintry nuances crystallize in sonic postcards such as “Scents of Christmas,” “Romance by the Fireplace,” and “Freezing Point.”
TG: Cold Sun comes across to me as a distinctly airy album. Its feet touch the ground only occasionally, as in the gnarled groove of “Stubborn,” making for a, dare I say, mysterious experience. Did this album develop any differently than the rest?
YE: There was The Call as a starter. Then my group gained a double-bassist and an oboe/saxophone player, and we rehearsed actively as a band, played gigs, and performed many new compositions that actually did not get incorporated into any of the CDs yet. Then there was Advocate of Love (2008)—a mostly trio album, reflecting a somewhat jazzier feel. The Cold Sun material was formed out of my 4-year experience working actively with my ensemble. The material of this winter album required a more improvisatory approach. And I reached out to the musicians who I thought would work best for that project.
Other tracks are more abstract and prompt us into deeper listening. “Silence,” for example, is not a literal description but more an evocation of state and mind. Like fingers running through hair, Eckemoff’s notes comb the ether. “White Magic” is a subdued evocation, which blends effectively into the touching dissonances of “Snow Bliss.” Yet it is in the throes of “Winter” that we at last encounter the synthesis of the album’s many threads. Brimming with glorious leaps and bounds, as well as more subterranean reflections, it brings us delicate closure to a moody and free-flowing album that is sure to please fans of Tord Gustavsen and Marcin Wasilewski.
TG: The piano trio is clearly a comfortable format for you. What is it about the combination that appeals to you and how does it enliven your expressivity?
YE: I suspect the piano trio will always be my favorite format, because I am a skilled pianist and the piano has always been a dominating expressive source for me. However, I do like the variety of the sounds, and I get many ideas that call for different sets of instruments (that I hope to see through in the future). But the intimacy and perfect balance of timbres in the trio is the most comfortable setup that surely has my first love.