Following the posthumous release of Leucocyte in 2008, only months after the untimely death of pianist Esbjörn Svensson, it seemed as though that album would represent e.s.t.’s final studio statement. Now, nearly four years later, 301 has emerged. It was recorded during the same sessions, whilst the Swedish trio were touring around Asia and Australia. The disc is named after the 301 Studios in Sydney.
This is no sweeping-up of studio off-cuts. This is one of e.s.t.’s greatest albums, and even arguably their ultimate work, in every sense of the word. It represents a colossal achievement, as they take their final bow. The 2007 material might be extremely varied in tone and approach, partly out of necessity, doubtless governed by the available recordings, but this circumstance works to the album’s advantage. It’s a summation of where the trio had been, and also of where these perpetually evolving players were heading next. [...]