Salmesykkel (HUBRO 2518CD/3518LP), the debut album of the group Moskus, received glowing reviews and was nominated for two Norwegian Grammies. In their eagerly-awaited second album, Mestertyven (trans. "Master Thief"), the trio, comprising pianist Anja Lauvdal, bassist Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson and drummer Hans Hulbækmo, are taking giant steps in a new direction. The music on Salmesykkel had been in the trio's repertoire long before they went into the studio, but this time they chose an entirely different approach. The venerable Atlantis Grammofon Studio in Stockholm was exchanged for Risør Church, the grand piano for an upright, and well-rehearsed pieces for untried material. Risør Church is a cruciform wooden church built in 1647 that is used as a concert venue every summer during the Risør Chamber Music Festival. "We set ourselves up in the church with sound technician Audun Strype, without any tunes ready, but with plenty of ideas after several tours and a lot of experimentation at a rehearsal venue." The fact that the ideas evolved then and there, and that the tunes were created while the "tape was running," helped to give the album a very special atmosphere. The hours of recorded material were later trimmed down, resulting in an album with a far broader range, greater wealth of ideas, and more madness than the previous one. The sense of melody and playfulness that was apparent on the trio's debut album is still very much present on their second. The decision to exchange the rich tonal palette of a grand piano for the more everyday sound of an upright might seem radical, but it felt very natural for the band. "The sound of the upright piano feels more intimate and more ordinary, and it has a different tonal palette. A little harder. The sound gives associations to old recordings that we have listened to a lot, made in cafés and restaurants. And last, but not least, we feel more equality as a trio without a grand piano. More like a unit." Moskus, on the trio's new album, are fearless, intuitive and ingenious -- a bit like most master thieves.