Skydive Trio-Sun Sparkle.

Label: Hubro Music

Release Date: ‘27th’ April 2018.

Three years after the Scandinavian supergroup Skydive Trio released their critically acclaimed debut album Sun Moee, this multitalented and versatile power trio return with their much-anticipated and eagerly awaited sophomore Sun Sparkle, which will be released by Hubro Music on the  ‘27th’ April 2018. Sun Sparkle showcases the different sides to Skydive Trio, who unlike many bands don’t have a “trademark sound,” and instead, they seamlessly switch between and sometimes combine disparate musical genres on Sun Sparkle. As a result, each track on Sun Sparkle is very different stylistically, and also in terms of mood tempo and texture. This is no surprise given the three members of  the Skydive Trio’s reputation for making ambitious and innovative music.

That has been the case throughout the long and illustrious careers of the members of the Skydive Trio who, for many years have among the leading lights of Scandinavian music scene. It features the combined talents of Finnish drummer Olavi Louhivuori and Norwegian bassist Mats Eilertsen and guitarist Thomas T. Dahl, who have all enjoyed successful careers as bandleaders, co-leaders and sidemen.

Mats Eilertsen

The most experienced member of the Skydive Trio is bassist Mats Eilertsen was born in 1975, in Trondheim, Norway. That was where Mats Eilertsen first discovered music, and specially jazz music which soon, became his passion. However, Mats Eilertsen wasn’t content to just to listen to music, and was soon learning to play the bass, which eventually  resulted in him enrolling on the prestigious Jazz Program at the Trondheim Musikkonservatorium. 

That was where he met future Skydive Trio guitarist Thomas T. Dahl in 1995, when the both joined a new band the Dingobats. Over the next couple of years, Mats Eilertsen juggled his studies and played with the Dingobats. However, after graduating from the Trondheim Musikkonservatorium, Mats Eilertsen embarked upon a career as a professional musician. 

In 1997, Mats Eilertsen made his debut as a sideman when he played on Jacob Young’s sophomore album Pieces Of Time. This was the first of over 130 credits that Mats Eilertsen has amassed over the next three decades. During that time, he’s worked alongside Sverre GjørvadTord Gustavsen, the Hakon Kornstad Trio and Solveig Slettahjell’s Slow Motion Orchestra. Mats Eilertsen has also worked with many international stars including Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny and Kenny Wheeler. However, this is only part of the story.

Forty-three year old Mats Eilertsen is a veteran of many bands including the Alexi Tuomarila Trio, Groups Of Friends, Helge Iberg’s Jazz-Kammer, the Mark Solborg Trio, Nils Økland Band, Nymark Collective, Tord Gustavsen Quartet and Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. Mats Eilertsen was a member of Dingobats and the hugely influential band Food, and played on their first five albums between 1999 and 2007. By then, Mats Eilertsen had embarked upon a solo career which he was juggling with his other projects and work as a sideman.

Mats Eilertsen had released his debut album Turanga in 2004, with Flux following in 2006 and Short Stories in 2007. This was followed in 2009, with the critically acclaimed Radio Yonder on Hubro Music. Over the next seven years, Mats Eilertsen was busy with other projects, collaborations and working as a sideman, so his fifth album Rubicon wasn’t released until the summer of 2016. It was well worth the wait, and was a reminder of one Norwegian music’s most talented sons, who in 2017 played an important role in the sound and success of the Nils Økland’s critically acclaimed album Lysning.

Thomas T. Dahl.

Another of Norwegian music’s most talented sons is guitarist Thomas T. Dahl who was born in 1973, and enrolled on the Jazz Programme at the University of Trondheim in 1993. The same year, Thomas mad his musical breakthrough, with Krøyt.

Two years later, Thomas T. Dahl joined another band, Dingobats which featured future Skydive Trio bassist Mats Eilertsen. Now a member of two bands, Thomas T. Dahl had to juggle his studies and his musical commitments.

In 1998, Thomas T. Dahl had just graduated from the University of Trondheim, and Krøyt’s debut album, The New Dingobats Generation was well received by critics. However, when Krøyt returned in 2000 with their sophomore album Low. Not only was Low released to critical acclaim, but won a Spellemannprisen, the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy Award. 

This wasn’t the end of the celebrations. In 2000, Thomas T. Dahl won the Edvardprisen Prize for his composition Silent. It seemed that Thomas could do no wrong. However, he wasn’t for resting on his laurels.

Meanwhile, Thomas T. Dahl continued to play various bands over the next few years, including  Dingobats, Bergen Big Band and BMX. H also found time to produce HighasaKites, the Eivind Austad Trio, Knut Kristiansen and Bergen Big Band. However, nowadays, much of Thomas T. Dahl’s time is spent working in education,  and specially the Greig Academy in Bergen, where he’s an associate professor in music.

Olavi Louhivuori. 

Drummer and percussionist Olavi Louhivuori is the youngest member of Skydive Trio, and was born into a musical family in Jyväskylä, in Central-Finland, in 1981. So it was no surprise when Olavi Louhivuori decided to study drums and composition at the prestigious Sibelius Academy. 

This was an important part of Olavi’s musical education, which he put into practise with the Joon Toivanen Trio, the Ilmilekki Quartet and the Sun Trio. Each of these bands won the accolade Young Nordic Jazz Group, and since then, Olavi Louhivuori’s career has flourished.

Olavi Louhivuori has toured and recorded with the legendary Polish trumpet player Tomasz Stanko, and has also played with Anthony Braxton, Marilyn Crispell, Susanne Abbuehl and Kenny Wheeler. That is not all. There also Olavi Louhivuori’s recording career to consider.

He’s released solo albums, collaborations and released albums with a variety of different bands. This included the Finnish experimental Jazz ensemble Oddarrang who have released a quartet of albums between 2006 and 2016. Their debut album Music Illustrated won the Emma Prize in 2007, which is the Finish equivalent of a Grammy Award. 

Since then, Olavi Louhivuori has been a member of the Ilmiliekki Quartet, Joona Toivanen Trio, Sun Trio and Tomasz Stańko Quintet and has also found time to lead the Olavi Trio who have released two albums 2011s Triologia and 2015s Oh, La Vie! By 2015, the thirty-four year old drummer was one of the leading lights of the Scandinavian music scene and had joined Scandinavian supergroup. Skydive Trio.

That is the case on Launch, a dramatic, driving slice of post rock where the rhythm section are responsible for a repetitive motif provides a backdrop to the searing, scorching and shimmering guitar that soars above the arrangement. They set the standard high on Sun Sparkle, as Skydive Trio make a welcome return

Straight away, there’s an element of drama to Convoy, despite Skydive Trio playing within themselves and eschewing power. Instead, cymbals shimmer and rinse while the bass is plucked and the guitar glisten and glimmer. By then, it sounds as if Skydive Trio are paying homage to Pink Floyd, before the rhythm section create a hypnotic and dramatic backdrop while the guitar weaves in and out adding layers of beautiful, pensive, poignant and filmic music. Although the guitar takes centre-stage, and plays a leading role, it can’t exist without the rhythm section during this carefully crafted cinematic soundscape which is full of beauty and drama, but also has a poignant ruminative sound.

Again, the drums on Apollo add degree of drama as the tempo rises, but don’t overpower the rest of Skydive Trio. Instead, the rhythm section become one, and add a dark, dramatic backdrop. This is very different to the glistening, shimmering guitar that takes centre-stage as  guitarist Thomas T. Dahl casts his spell. Later, he fires off brisk, urgent licks as the guitar is played with speed, fluidity and accuracy unleashing searing, blistering rocky licks. By then, the trio is playing as one, before washes of lysergic guitar and provide a contrast to the dramatic rhythm section. Together, they continue to create a widescreen, filmic sound that producers of Nordic noir should embrace.

Just Thomas T. Dahl’s wistful guitar glistens is played slowly on Engine Rest. Soon, it’s joined by Mats Eilertsen’s standup bass which played deliberately, and provides the perfect counterpart to the guitar. Effects are used as it shimmers and glistens and with the bass creates a beautiful, understated and melancholy track where Skydive Trio once again prove that sometimes less is more.

Again, it’s just a chiming guitar that opens Descending before the bass enters and soon is joined by cymbals and drums. The rhythm section again eschew power, playing within themselves and in a straight line. Soon, Skydive Trio take a diversion it’s all change. There’s a more thoughtful, and slightly darker sound as a fleet fingered guitar solo is part of this multilayered and rocky arrangement where Skydive Trio open the throttle and enjoy the opportunity to play with speed, freedom and fluidity. In doing so, they showcase their skill and versatility whilst showing another side to their music. 

Slow, spacious describes Surface Stride as the guitar shimmers and reverberates as the rhythm section play slowly and deliberately. They literally creep across the arrangement, as short drum rolls, hissing hi-hats and a deliberate bass leave room for the guitar. Effects are added to runs and solos as washes of glistening and shimmering guitar are sprayed across the arrangement. This is effective and adds to this dramatic, atmospheric and cinematic soundscape. It’s sure to send the listener’s imagination racing.

As Spruce unfolds, Thomas T. Dahl’s subtle, chirping and spacious guitar takes centre-stage as it adds the chordal refrain, while  Mats Eilertsen uses a bow to play the melody on his double bass and Olavi Louhivuori’s drums mark time. Together, they play their part in what’s the most beautiful tracks on Sun Sparkle, and what’s probably the finest moment of Skydive Trio’s career.

Very different is Ascending where Thomas T. Dahl’s guitar distorts  and he tames the tiger. Meanwhile, the drums are louder as they combine with the electric bass which has a heavier sound on this genre-melting track. Elements of heavy rock, psych, improv and folk combine as Skydive Trio lock into a groove and create a fist pumping anthem-in-waiting.

Skydive Trio then drop the tempo on Sun Sparkle where Thomas T. Dahl gives one of his finest performances. His playing is retrained as his guitar chirps and chimes as he crafts his finest hour on Sun Sparkle. Beauty is omnipresent on this meditative track where Thomas T. Dahl’s playing is restrained as he channels the spirit of Jimi Hendrix and draws inspiration from Carlos Santana, John Martyn and Bill Frisell. Meanwhile the rest of Skydive Trio play their part in the sound and success of the track, by playing within themselves and eschewing power during a breathtakingly beautiful six-minute epic.

Wish I Was Who? (Camera Off) closes Sun Sparkle and finds Mats Eilertsen switch to standup bass as drummer Olavi Louhivuori gives an another restrained performance as the arrangement shuffles along and Thomas T. Dahl’s guitar shimmers and twangs. In doing so, it plays its part in ruminative and melancholy sounding track that has partly been inspired by folk music, and is also beautiful and memorable.

After a three-year wait, Skydive Trio will return on the ‘27th’ April 2018 with Sun Sparkle, which will be released by Hubro Music. Sun Sparkle is Skydive Trio’s much-anticipated and eagerly awaited sophomore album, and the followup to their critically acclaimed debut album Sun Moee which was released in 2015. Now Skydive Trio make a triumphant return with Sun Sparkle.

The multitalented and versatile power trio Skydive Trio showcase the different sides to their music on Sun Sparkle. Unlike many bands, Skydive Trio, don’t have a “trademark sound,” and instead, they seamlessly switch between and sometimes combine disparate musical genres including avant-garde, folk, improv, Nordic Wave, post rock, psychedelia and rock on Sun Sparkle. As a result, each track on Sun Sparkle is very different stylistically, and also in terms of mood tempo and texture.

Many of the tracks on Sun Sparkle are best described as multilayered, and this is a result of overdubbing. Sometimes, layers of guitars and percussion were added to the ten tracks recorded by Skydive Trio. Sometimes, what was recording during the overdubbing sessions was very subtle and will only reveal itself after several listens. This is all part of Skydive Trio’s latest musical tapestry, which is veers between anthemic, atmospheric and beautiful to dramatic, melancholy, poignant and ruminative. 

Much of the music on Sun Sparkle has a widescreen cinematic sound that sounds. It’s as if Skydive Trio were recording the soundtrack to the latest Nordic Noir blockbuster, when they recorded Sun Sparkle, which is guaranteed to set the listener’s imagination racing. However, Skydive Trio’s cinematic opus Sun Sparkle is also full of beauty and drama, and is the fitting followup to Sun Moee, as this talented and innovative Scandinavian triumvirate make a welcome and triumphant return.

Skydive Trio-Sun Sparkle.


  1. Sebastian Knight

    Your blog is really excellent. I’ve referred to it many times as you seem sometimes to be the only person on the planet reviewing albums like these.

    The contextual info you give is helpful as well, filling in the picture more of the musicians.


  1. Mats Eilertsen » SkyDive Trio

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