Scorch Trio

Brolt!

by Jennifer Kelly

23 June 2008

 

The classic power trio line-up—electric guitar, bass and drums—takes a mesmerizing swerve to the left in this third album from the Norwegian avant-jazz-rock trio. Guitarist Raoul Björkenheim, inspired as much by Zappa and Hendrix as Sonny Sharrock,  works naturally in rock idioms, from the rapid-fire bursts of tangled, shredded notes of “Olstra”, to the brief, heat-stroked wah wah of “Hys”, but he also broadens the palette with the creaking bowed sounds and slow-evolving sustained tones of “Gaba”. Likewise, drummer Paal Nilssen-Love keeps stormy, tumultuous time (even when the time-signature is uncertain), but also knows when to delivers a rapturous fever dream of a solo, as the opening to “Hys” shows. Under, but not quite covered, Ingebrigt Häker Flaten’s bass pulses in fast, terse counterpoint, and rising to the fore in “Graps” with virtuoso speed and musicality. Slower, quieter, “Burning” turns the strings of an electric guitar into a hammered percussion instrument, eliciting uneasy rattles and plucks from a velvety scrim of silence. The tension, and the volume, builds gradually, as wild swathes of feedback merge with abstract twangs and pings. Still whether soft or loud, rock-leaning or disorientingly genre-free, Brolt! has the immediacy and heat of a live show, recorded in single takes on vintage equipment.

Brolt!

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Topics: scorch trio
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