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Reviews 2115

In tracks like “Gun and the E-Kid” and “For the Air” it’s late-oughts Melvins crossed with mid-’80s Sonny Sharrock; she may be drawing some lessons from Motorpsycho, a long-running Norwegian hard-rock band that has been derivative of a great many things. In terms of Technique her playing has some Jimi Hendrix and John Scofield in it; there are quiet dips where you can hear her acoustic bassist, Ellen Brekken, loud and clear. Incidentally, this record sounds so good that it almost gives the band an unfair advantage.
New York Times (UK)

Those who don´t follow the genre might be surprised to learn that in recent years Norway has produced some of the best jazz artists in the world. Much of it is jazz that is less mired in the past though, and shuns purism to instead embrace other genres as electronic, hiphop, ambient and heavy rock to forge a brave new future for the genre. So when they site Nirvana and Hendrix as influences as well as Miles Davis, you´re primed for some complex heaviosity. They don´t dissapoint. From the precision Jimmy Page-like playing on "Ashes" and the Sabbath-influenced "For The Air" through to the same heady exotic intensity of the aforementioned Davis at his freeform best and on to the cover of The Melvins´ "Blood Witch", these three twenty-something´s play with scorching ability. Recorded almost entirely live, fans of everything from Cream to Omar Rodriguez-Lopez to contemporary stoner rock should rightfully be impressed by "Shoot!", not least because Mollestad is a guitarist who can play like the devil.
Classic Rock Presents Prog (UK)

Scandinavia has long been hip to the heavy rock/jazz hybrid. Guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen leads this bunch, whose debut - instrumental, apart from a few muffled shouts - carves a riff-ridged canyon through a landscape stalked by the ghosts of Hendrix, Sabbath and Goblin, balancing monolithic density with flights of cool, modal jazz. A cover of Melvins´ "Blood Witch" shows where their sympathies lie, but so too does the acoustic bass on an ECM-styled "Doom´s Lair". 4/5.
Uncut (UK)

Norwegian electric guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen and her youthful rhythm section perfectly straddle the divide between jazz-schooled virtuosity and mondo heavy thrills. Their questing instrumentalism is disciplined, the hot licks and cool breaks further enlivened by a joyous holler through Melvins chestnut "Blood Witch. 4/5.
Mojo (UK)

This resourceful young Norwegian guitarist delivers a killer jazz-rock fusion, recalling the scrappiest of Sonny Sharrock's comeback material infused with tones and riffs from postpunk and hard rock, and she pulls it off with an incredibly light touch, avoiding both excess and shtick. She's one to watch for sure.
Chicago Reader (US)

There´s been something of a trend for guitar trios coming out of Scandinavia in recent years. First, Scorch Trio blew the doors off with their exploive blast of free-fusion, making it possible for Bushman´s Revenge to roll through with their slightly more swinging take on jazz-rock. Norwegian guitarist Hedvig Mollestad´s trio is notably different again - and not just bacause she and bassist Ellen Brekken are rare feminine presences in a decidedly macho enviroment. The best tracks on this debut capture a swaggering blues-rock with curling riffs not unlike early Rush´s take on Led Zeppelin style cock-rock. Elsewhere, she touches on the funky fusion of John McLaughlin´s Fourth Dimension, powered by Bekken´s nimble bass, and she does a pretty convincing metal pastiche too, with drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad´s slothful 4/4 hi-hat summoning Black Country doom.
Jazzwise (UK)

It´s possibly fair to say, while clearly being simultaneously bitterly unfair, that were a fresh-faced young jazz-rock band to emerge from the performing arts academies or conservatoires of Britain, they would be regarded with the same degree of "uncool" suspicion that any such rising stars from our educational establishments are met with. Clearly not so in Oslo, where the musical academy clearly bleeds sheer cutting-edgeness... Their debut is a 40-minute blast, which effortlessly melds jazz with the heavier end of guitar rock to evoke a classic power trio sound, albeit with occasional jazzy diversions into nimble standup bass or a short drum solo. "Gun and the E-Kid" kicks off with a classic whiplash riff, "For The Air" resembles Black Sabbath with Bill Frisell guesting and there´s even a cover of Melvin´s "Blood Witch" for good measure. They must teach good things in Norway´s schools.
Rock-a-Rolla (UK)

We're liking this Nordic notion of 'jazz fusion', all right. The heavy duty debut from the Hedvig Mollestad Trio comes to us from Norway's Rune Grammofon label, who specialize in such things - the 'death jazz' of Supersilent, for instance, and also the likes of Scorch Trio, Ultralyd, and Bushman's Revenge - the latter of whom even covered Motorhead on their latest disc. Well, not to be outdone, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio cover the Melvins, here! That ought to give you an idea of where they're coming from, jazz-wise. These guys - actually, two gals and one guy, on electric guitar, bass and drums, respectively - are a skronky power trio who rip it up instrumentally, their tunes twisty, turny, and full of distortion and feedback. In other words, they rock, rollercoaster style, reminding us of AQ instrumental faves Stinking Lizaveta at times, and eponymous guitarist Hedvig Mollestad has a dash of Nels Cline in her playing. Though the band members are all jazz-trained musicians, their brand of fusion is heavy on the grungy rock side of the equation, though they tone it down for the moody meanders of "Doom's Lair" and "The Valley" amongst a few mellower moments. Not to be counted among those moments, of course, is that Melvins cover (the chunky, rockin' "Blood Witch" from A Senile Animal), the only song here to feature vocals. All in all, this is catchy stuff, as far as noisy noodling jazzrock goes! Recorded live in the studio with minimal overdubs, capturing a lot of raw energy and jaunty glee indeed.
Aquarius (US)

Okay, she doesn’t have the name or the look of a Jeff Beck or Jimi Hendrix, but Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen is the most exciting guitar player I have heard this year. I hate having to say this, but image is everything in music today - and this stunningly beautiful Norwegian woman plays like a soul possessed. It is hard to believe that Shoot! is the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s debut recording, because it is a master class in how a group can meld rock and jazz in 2011 without sounding hopelessly retro… Shoot! is my pick for debut album of the year, and for guitar aficionados especially, it should not be missed.
Blinded By Sound (US)

These young Norwegians' power trio sound is ultra-heavy, but incorporates jazz harmonies. The leader, Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen, is a guitarist who sounds as happy to riff as to solo; occasionally Bill Frisell's sound shows its influence. This is blatantly obvious on the closing track, the relatively quiet "The Valley," but shines through briefly in other moments as well, such as the first half of "No Encore." Bassist Ellen Brekken plays both acoustic and electric; Ivar Loe Bjornstad is the drummer. The trio crunches brutally, but also uses extended harmonies and asymmetrical meters. A cover of The Melvins' "Blood Witch" pays tribute to one of the guitarist's idols.
Big Takeover (US)

Shoot! was released last year. I initially passed over it, lost as it was among an apparent glut of undoubtedly proficient but overly nostalgic Nordic power-rock. But I went back to it after picking up on Mollestad’s contribution to El Doom, and I’m glad I did because it’s an excellent album. Every track here has its own flavour, and Mollestad explores diverse moods. There’s measured, ‘clean fusion’-style jazz licks à la John Scofield on “Doom’s Lair” or Bill Frisell on “The Valley”; then there’s a raucous take on Melvins’ grindhouse postpunk, with a cover of their “Blood Witch”. That track has the album’s only vocal, and it’s a raw one at that. Mollestad’s trio is a formidably tight outfit, playing with the elasticity of a great jazz band yet harnessesing the power-surge aesthetic of hard rock. Witness the snappy way they lock into the mighty riff of “Sidetracked”, only to make room for Brekken’s lovely double bass solo. The rhythm section play independently in free time on the lively “Ashes” where Bjørnstad gambols around Brekken’s bass workout while Mollestad’s guitar alternately carries the melodic head and stokes the forward momentum with concise riffs. “For the Air”, by contrast, is initially unwieldy, ploughing a deep Sabs riff through a thicket of abrasive guitar abstractions, before a freewheeling melodic breakout unexpectedly lifts the mood. All of the tracks here are concise and packed with fresh ideas, and the trio’s buoyant elasticity keeps everything box-fresh.
Dalston Blog (UK)

Bandet er også en slags legemliggjørelse av et berømt musikalsk samarbeidsprosjekt som aldri ble noe av: Miles Davis og Jimi Hendrix snakket som kjent om å lage musikk sammen, omtrent da Miles spilte inn "Bitches Brew" (1970). Men så døde Jimi. Davis ga deretter ut "A Tribute To Jack Johnson" (1971) og "On The Corner" (1972), den siste litt mer funky, men ellers i beslektet stil. I dette soniske farvannet bakser Mollestad trio komfortabelt omkring, samtidig har nymotens ting som grungen, hardrocken og indie-innstilingen åpenbart fått synke ordentlig inn. Selve lyden fortjener også å bli nevnt. Skiva er spilt inn live i Ocean Sound Recording i Giske, mastret hos Athletic Sound i Halden, og låter tørt, nært og tydelig. Her er verken graut eller svulstig hi-fi klang, to feller jazzrockere litt for ofte går i. Og hele tiden dukker de opp, de små vendingene og bruddene, de nye rytmene og melodilinjene. Platen er stappfull, uten å virke overlesset, verken lydmessig eller rent musikalsk. Suverent gjort! "Shoot!" er en plate som kommer til å leve lenge.
Morgenbladet (NO)

"The festival´s standout: Extremely heavy, she perfectly knitted with spare drumming and a double bass grounding. A consummate performance, it showed musical skill doesn´t stifle creativity. Turning around, I saw people standing with their mouths hanging open. Incredible".
The Arts Desk (UK)

Im Hedvig Mollestad Trio hat sich eine Gitarristin aus Ålesund zusammengetan mit Ellen Brekken, einer Bassistin aus Tynset, und dem Drummer Ivar Loe Bjornstad, der aus Surnadal stammt. Allesamt noch unter 30, hat bisher nur die blondmähnige Leaderin, Empfängerin des Jazz Talent of the Year-Preises 2009, schon kleine Spuren hinterlassen, mit dem Görenquartett VOM und an der Seite von Hilde Marie Kjersem. Respektbekundungen für Nirvana, Motorpsycho und Hendrix und mit 'Blood Witch' ein Melvins-Cover verraten die dezidierte Rockrichtung von Shoot! (RCD 2115). 9 stramme Instrumentals mit tuffen Statements von Mollestad Thomassen, wie ihr vollständiger Name lautet, geben 9 gute Gründe, sich neben Halvorson, Mendoza und Allroh  einen neuen Namen zu merken, wobei die Norwegerin besonders bei 'For the Air' neben der Heavyness auch vorführt, dass sie die richtigen Krallen hat. Bei 'Doom's Lair' legen die Drei ihre lyrische Ader offen, Brekken wechselt dafür zum Kontrabass und zeigt, was sie beim (nicht nur) Rypdal-Bassisten Bjørn Kjellemyr gelernt hat. 'The Dead One' erweist sich als quicklebendig, gespickt mit gitarristischer Gunslingerei aus der Hüfte. 'No Encore' ist im Mittelteil eine einzige Trillerorgie. Den Melvins wird mit Schreigesang nachgeeifert. 'The Valley' jedoch walzt zuletzt im Blumenkleid still verliebt durchs Gras.
Bad Alchemy (DE)

Einstmals, bevor sie sich im Windschatten des elektrischen und elektrisierenden Miles Davis durch endlose Selbstreproduktionen in ihrem Kern ad absurdum führte, hieß diese Musik Jazzrock und war kurzzeitig sehr beliebt. Kein anderes Genre des Jazz hatte so ein frühes Verfallsdatum. Jeder macht seins, hieß fortan das Diktum, und die Lager trennten sich wieder. Doch tauchen regelmäßig Unerschrockene auf, die trotzdem die Gitarren in Anschlag bringen, idealerweise im Trio mit Bass und Drums. Die junge Norwegerin Hedvig Mollestad ist so eine, die zwischen Heavy Metal und gebremster Ballade mal ins Museum führt, dann aber wieder durchaus heutig zupft und rupft. Und dann ist das auch wieder genau die richtige Musik.
Leipziger Volkszeitung (DE)

Frau Mollestad gibt ganz schön Gas. Die Gitarre klingt nach brachialem Rock, sie windet sich, spuckt Feuer, lässt die Feedbacks vibrieren. Aber das scheinbar Grobschlächtige hat durchaus Form und Stil. Es wird nicht eindimensional gebrettert, stattdessen untergraben Jazz-Harmonien und angeschrägte Linien den klasisschen Rock-Fundus oder wird der harte Impetus mit minimalen und zarten Klanggebilden – nicht Balladen-Kitsch – kontrastiert. Mit einfachen Motiven kehrt Mollestad immer wieder zum Wesentlichen zurück. Das gilt auch für den elektrischen Sound, den sie souverän handhabt. Es geht ihr um Ausdruck, nicht um technische Kapriolen. Die norwegische Gitarristin stellt auf ihrem Debütalbum sozusagen ein klassisches Rocktrio vor, dass sich mit Jazz-Affinität auf instrumentale Fahrt begibt. Dabei spielen die Bassistin und der Schlagzeuger mit ihrem Drive und ihrem Feeling eine wichtige Rolle. Mollestad nennt Nirvana, Melvins, Jimi Hendrix, Motorspycho und Miles Davis als wichtige Musiker, und für die Bassistin ist Terje Rypdal ein Vorbild. Die Namen sind nicht einfach Hülsen. Sie geben eine ungefähre Richtung vor. Man könnte auch sagen: ein sehr zugängliches Jazzalbum für Heavy-Rock-Fans. 4/5.
Jazz´n´More (DE)

Das Hedvig Mollestad Trio in der klassischen Besetzung (Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen – Gitarre, Ellen Brekken – Bass, Ivar Loe Bjørnstad – Schlagzeug) hat sich Musik in ihrer reinsten Form verschrieben. Ihr aktuelles Album “Shoot!” ist komplett instrumental. Jazz und Heavy Rock treffen hier in einer äußerst interessanten Mischung aufeinander. Kennengelernt hatten sich die drei Musiker auf der Musikakademie in Oslo. Nachdem Hedvig Mollestad den JazzAward auf dem Molde International Jazzfestival gewonnen hatte, holte sie Ellen Brekken und Ivar Loe Bjørnstad mit ins Boot. Alle hatten sich der Rockmusik verschrieben, waren im gleichen Maß aber auch Jazzfreunde. So kam es zu der außergewöhnlichen Kombination zweier unterschiedlicher Genres. ”Shoot!” ist ein musikalisch gutes Album, dürfte jedoch nicht jedermanns Geschmack sein. Wer allerdings das Gitarrensolo eines Liedes als den Höhepunkt empfindet, ist mit diesem Album gut bedient.
Nordis (DE)

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