The opening notes of Luggumt
have justifiably provoked comparisons with Jimi Hendrix. Guitarist Raoul Björkenheim gives an emphatic nod to the psychedelic rock god, then takes the electric guitar to places even he might never have reached had he lived as long. Luggumt
, the second recording from this Finno-Norwegian trio, begins with an undiluted jolt of aggressive sonic energy and then moves on to gentler statements, all daringly exploratory and bravely expressive. Later on, the ghost of Hendrix (or maybe Robert Johnson seriously plugged in) is invoked and off they go again for another romp. Scorch Trio renders free improvisation with Marshall stacks, a raft of effects, booming electric bass and forceful arena drumming.
Björkenheim is a very serious, disciplined musician who likes occasionally to turn the volume knob immodestly high, plug into a small music shop's worth of pedals and really let his hair down. He has plenty of technique, a variety of guitars, good taste and a nearly inexhaustible palette of sounds that draw from his mastery of tunings, fingering methods and electronic effects. He has found a pair of comrades who boldly go wherever he wishes, allowing him plenty of stellar space while handling their end of the bargain with alacrity.
Björkenheim, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love have combined to create a potent sound, redolent of earlier times yet pungently unique. Scorch Trio has found a receptive niche on the European festival concert stage, drawing audiences from a wide age range. The popular listening audience in the US, having long ago surrendered any will to listen to serious music, remains oblivious, but this may change. The sheer force of the music could propel it to some degree of notoriety. Based in New York since 2001, Björkenheim also waits for the individual recognition and success he deserves here. If there's any justice, he'll receive it very soon.
Personnel: Raoul Bjorkenheim (electric guitar, electric viola da gamba), Ingebrigt H