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Raoul Bjorkenheim and eCsTaSy: eCsTaSy

Read "eCsTaSy" reviewed by Dave Wayne

For me, guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim is one of those musicians whose albums are always the subject of eager anticipation. His playing is both emotionally cathartic and intellectually gratifying. His highly-charged, utterly distinctive and immediately recognizable sound has been at the center of a number of fascinating cooperative groups over the past few years, including Scorch Trio with Paal Nilssen-Love and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, the quartet Krakatau and ad hoc groupings with the likes of Hamid Drake, William Parker, Bill Laswell, ...

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Raoul Bjorkenheim / Bill Laswel / Morgen Agren: BLIXT

Read "BLIXT" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

Few musicians are more aware that music has no borders, and--more than anything else--that the word “genre" is anathema, than Bill Laswell. The bassist has been uncompromising in this regard throughout his career and was not about to be undone for this musical adventure. Consequently, on the brilliantly crafted BLIXT, Laswell has partnered with an old cohort, guitarist Raoul Björkenheim, and a slightly newer one, drummer Morgen Ågren. Together, they are involved in the creation of some of the finest ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Raoul Bj

Read "Raoul Bj" reviewed by Wilbur MacKenzie

Raoul Björkenheim/William Parker/Hamid DrakeDMG @ The Stone, Vol. 2DMG-ARC2008 Scorch TrioBrolt! Rune Grammofon2008 BoxStudio 1 Rune Grammofon2008 Los Angeles-born, Finnish guitarist Raoul Björkenheim spent the better part of this decade living in New York City before returning to Finland, regularly blazing his way through exuberant sets ...

INTERVIEWS

Raoul Bjorkenheim: Guitarist Between Two Continents

Read "Raoul Bjorkenheim: Guitarist Between Two Continents" reviewed by Anthony Shaw

Raoul Bjorkenheim is a guitarist born and brought up in the States by his Finnish mother. After completing studies at Berklee he has spent most of his professional life between the two countries, working with the likes of Finnish percussionist/composer Edward Vesala or progressive producer/bassist Bill Laswell. He achieved recognition on both sides of the Atlantic in the early 1990's with his own band Krakatau with two stunning recordings Ritual and Alive, the former now being rereleased on Cuneiform. The ...

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Raoul Bj: Shadowglow

Read "Shadowglow" reviewed by Rico Cleffi

There are moments on Shadowglow where Raoul Björkenheim and Lukas Ligeti achieve such an intuitive balance that it's hard to tell who's playing what. Björkenheim is a percussive guitarist, Ligeti a melodic drummer who plays the kit (and a variety of other percussion instruments) with remarkable fluidity. Björkenheim is capable of making his guitar sound like a thumb piano, a gamelan, or a sandstorm. The two players are clearly listening, and the music breathes and swells accordingly. Noisy ...

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Raoul Bj: Ritual

Read "Ritual" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Finnish-American guitarist Raoul Björkenheim is more or less the definition of iconoclast, which is especially notable given the fact that he attended one of the biggest jazz factories in the United States, Boston's Berklee School of Music. Berklee has employed and produced its share of guitarists (including most prominently alumnus John Scofield and professor Pat Metheny), but none sound even remotely like Björkenheim. He's uniquely noisy, focused, and open to lessons from genres as disparate as death metal and free ...

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Raoul Bjorkenheim: Apocalypso

Read "Apocalypso" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Born in Los Angeles, CA and a longtime resident of Helsinki, Finland, cutting-edge guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim has carved out a successful and somewhat entrepreneurial musical persona in the Euro progressive rock scene. He first came to prominence with the late drummer Edward Vesala's Sound & Fury band, while subsequently creating the avant-garde and widely acclaimed quasi-free jazz/rock unit Krakatau. Subsequent to his performance on Finland-based UMO Jazz Orchestra's Electrifying Miles CD and a recent ambient-based outing with guitarist Nicky Skopelitis, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Raoul Bj: Apocalypso

Read "Apocalypso" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Guitarist Raoul Björkenheim wields his instrument like a knife on the ironically double-entendred Apocalypso. Sometimes he stabs, other times he engraves; or he might twist and jab, or simply scratch. Maybe it's just a Finnish thing, but brightness and Björkenhim just don't go together. The story behind this composition is relatively brief: in 1994, the Helsinki Juhlaviikot Festival commissioned him to write a piece for a hundred guitars. They managed to compromise at 42 musicians instead. His group performed Apocalypso ...


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