Scorch Trio: Melaza (2011)
Rosaly is undeniably capable of high octane power on aggressive outpourings like "Bambalán," wailing with reckless abandon, while Norwegian Ingebrigt Haker Flaten's frenetic bass and expat Finnish guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim's stuttering but electrically charged guitar build to a degree of jarring intensity. Still, equally, there's something less inherently dense about Rosaly; despite its largely in-your-face nature, Melaza feels, somehow, more intimateeven during flat-out assaults like "Iesnú!, the disc's longest track, at over ten minutes. Beginning in complete freedom, with Björkenheim adopting a grittier tone, it gradually coalesces into a thundering rock groove somewhere in the vicinity of Jimi Hendrix, but with far more attitude and a significantly wider vernacular. The trio ultimately breaks back down into tumultuous chaos, Flaten's jaggedly distorted electric bass more an underlying presencefelt, rather than heardwith repeating pulses containing no apparent harmonic center.
Scorch Trio's idea of dynamic pacing means that even quieter tracks like "Orita" are not for the faint-at-heart. Rosaly colors the more subdued improv with greater delicacy, while Flaten creates pulsating dissonances and Björkenheim, sporting a cleaner tone, ebbs and flows with close voicings stemming from linear ideasnotes sometimes bent beyond all recognition. The title track emerges with a thundering, 10/4 bass linethe disc's closest tie to song formthat, bolstered by Rosaly's fluid groove, creates a context for some of Björkenheim's best playing on the disc, as he moves, with unfettered abandon, again into a Hendrixian realm of searing notes, angular power chords and whammy bar-driven swoops. Switching to an (uncredited) electric viola da gimbri on "Raitru," Björkenheim contributes softer colors on this more spacious and near-lyrical free piece; the calm before the storm of "Iesnú!."
Björkenheim has been busting boundaries since the late 1980s, with Finnish drummer Edward Vesala and Krakatau, while Flaten came a few years later, with artists ranging from Ken Vandermark to Bugge Wesseltoft. Rosaly hit the scene later still, but despite the age gap, Scorch Trio's unifying element is a collective aversion to convention and orthodoxy, while incorporating everything from metal density to more expansive free jazz. Furthering the trio's distinctive cross-genre pollination, Melaza is a challenging listen, but its focus and unconstrained expressionism suggests where power trios like the Jimi Hendrix Experience might have gone, had it dispensed with its allegiance to simple song form; instead, taking its rock-hard psychedelia into the realm of absolute and utter spontaneity.
Track Listing: Relajo; Bambalán; Fajao; Orita; Melaza; Estinche; Raitrú; Iesnú!.
Personnel: Raoul Björkenheim: electric guitar; Ingebrigt Håker Flaten: Fender bass; Frank Rosaly: drums.
Record Label: Rune Grammofon