On ”Luggumt”, guitarist Raoul Björkenheim´s Scorch Trio play with even more intensity than on their self-titled debut CD. There is plenty of contrast, though. ”Synnja Vegga” is beautifully skeletal piece and ”Brennj Fynnj” skittering and intricate, but one of the reasons this collection is so successful is that Björkenheim really leads from the front, his playing galvanising his fellow trio members. On the title track, Håker Flaten turns to wah-wah fuzz bass and, in tandem with Björkenheim´s buzzing guitar, introduces it like one of those ominous, snarling live improvisations by King Crimson circa 1973. The bassist then switches to an ebullient, irregular pulse, while Björkenheim turns up to 11, flips his wig and launches off into a wah-frenzy. Here Scorch Trio come over like Lifetime, or maybe Mahavishnu Orchestra at their most unfettered. As Nilssen-Love starts to lock into a superspeed pattern punctuated by clattering rimshots and towering snare rolls, they demonstrably share the cerebal grasp of abstracted form and flow, allied with the ecstatic freedom that characterised James Blood Ulmer´s Music Revelation Ensemble. That´s lavish praise, but it´s thoroughly deserved.
This is the second dynamic disc from Scorch Trio and we haven't heard a power trio this amazing since the Jimi Hendrix Experience or Cream or maybe even the Nels Cline Singers! ”Luggumt” explodes right from the beginning and is an immensely powerful offering. When we played it loud in our store last Saturday afternoon, everyone in the store (including guitarist Andy Summers from the Police) jumped and screamed with delight saying, "Who the fuck is this!?!" This righteous platter begins and ends with a fire-spitting electric guitar power trio eruption that will knock you off your feet. The three central pieces quiet things down a bit, yet remain spirited and inventive throughout, often spooky and filled with suspense. Raoul really knows how to make his guitar talk, scream and blast away the doldrums of modern life. Ingebrigt and Paal are a perfect match and also never cease to amaze us as well.
Bjørkenheim borrows from as different sources as John McLaughlin and Sonny Sharrock but without stealing from any of them. The rhythm section is one of the tightest in free music, and in trio with Raoul they revolt against the power of the habit. ”Luggumt” is a raw display of a musical direction sadly hidden for many, and a living documentation of impro. Superior! 6/6.
For those of us thinking that the raw power in guitarbased rock music disappeared sometime in the seventies, or that jazzrock drifted away in endless soloing, the second album from Scorch Trio is a very welcome acquaintance. They are masters when it comes to follow the energy flow and to build up towards a climax and then pull back when that is needed. Raoul Bjørkenheim is stripped of exhibitionism and attacks the sound pallette of the guitar from many different angles, while Nilssen-Love delivers intense freeform drumming and Håker Flaten is a solid but flexible base. 6/6.
The trio continue where they left off with their critically acclaimed debut album, with powerful, heavy jazz. Distorted guitarsound and unstoppable drive from bass and drums give an impression of a full blow-out at first listening, but after a while one senses sveral layers of dynamics, also in the heavier tunes. A bluesy tune like ”Furskuntj” does justice to comparisons with Jimi Hendrix, but that is only one of several possible references in this varied expression.
Now we don´t need to speculate any more. Now we know what Jimi Hendrix could have delivered had he fought his way out of the hippie clothes and into the free sound of Miles Davis, jazz and experimental rock. Scorch Trio shows us this road on their second release, ”Luggumt”. What makes it so liberating to lend ears to ”Luggumt” is the wonderful combination of old tricks and new ideas. Hereby recommended to anyone who can imagine a musical meeting of Jimi Hendrix and Supersilent.
One listen to “Kjøle Høle” on Scorch Trio's sophomore effort, ”Luggumt”, and you quickly realize that this may be one of the most aptly-named groups on the scene today. Blistering in its intensity, the trio combines the searing energy of a rock power trio with the broadest freedom and exploration that jazz has to offer. Kind of like Jimi Hendrix meets Albert Ayler, but with a more elastic Scandinavian time sense.
Bjørkenheim´s playing is edgy to the bone with a power any rock band will envy him. On top of that he is a very searching improvisor who is constantly challenging himself, his bandmembers and not least us who are invited to listen. Their debut album more than suggested that this was a trio that would find it´s own territory somewhere between free jazz and free rock (is there such a thing?), and with ”Luggumt” comes the confirmation. Both rock clubs, jazz clubs and festivals should line up to hire this explosive package, a more vibrant musical piece of dynamite will be hard to find anywhere these days.
There is a leaden, desperate sense of transcendence to the trio´s performance as though they are intent upon grinding everything into dust before they depart. There´s an exhilarating grandeur to workouts such as “Kjøle Høle” and “Furskunjt”, and a spine-tingling thrill to the ghost town ambiences of pieces such as “Sunnja Vega”.
Finnish composer Raoul Björkenheim has teamed up with Norwegian rhythm duo Håker Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love to form one of the most powerful trio's you'll ever lay ears too. When the three form together they create Scorch Trio, which becomes an unruly monster that is barely contained within a recording studio. They pump out a molten blend of rock and jazz that only be described by their name alone. On their second release, these three musicians create a dense piece of work that will not only knock you over with their talent but will also hook you with their subtle textures and understanding of composition. Any fan of Don Cab, Nels Cline, John Coltrane, or Miles Davis will feel right at home with Scorch Trio. It's an amazing and exhausting ride, but I'll be damned if I didn't reach right over, press play, and ask for more.
Finnish composer and guitarist Raoul Björkenheim burns it up with this power trio tour de force. But don´t expect Cream or Hendrix. Neither jazz nor rock nor a hybrid thereof, Luggumt represents a new direction in guitar music. Another triumph for this fine Norwegian label.
Björkenheim is in very fine shape, switching from Hendrixian anthemic playing in the title track to Mahavishnu Orchestra era McLaughlin speed fusion in Kjøle Høle, the high-octane number of the set. That 15-minute chunk alone is worth the price of admission, with its sizzling guitar lines and thunderous rhythm section. Flaten and Nilssen-Love seem to grow tighter every year and their performances here exemplify the fact that they have become one of the most exciting free jazz rhythm sections this side of William Parker and Hamid Drake. The strength of this trio resides in the ability of all three musicians to freely experiment and fall back on fusion jazz positions in a seamless way, and they do it better here than on their first album.
This second meeting, Luggumt, follows on the footsteps of the aforementioned initial encounter, yet this six-song program looks to varied terrains that are bookended by two epic, sonic blowouts. From the outset, the trio blazes briskly on the rollicking, “Kjøle Høle”, commencing with a trashy, Hendrix-inspired guitar riff that signals that the listener better buckle his or her belt. Björkenheim literally pulverizes his agonized, yet indefatigable guitar, as Nilssen-Love's tumultuous drumming coaxes further scrumptious abuse and Håker Flaten keeps the loose rhythms pumping along. Finally, the group concludes this dense program with another astonishing performance, “Luggumt”. Commencing with Björkenheim's extended lines, the group eventually locks in as Nilssen-Love and Håker Flaten work up a fine lather, over which molten guitar soars and glides with an overflowing vigor. Luggumt, then, is another strong release from this wonderful avant-fusion cooperative that is truly in a class of its own.
Rounded out by the formidable rhythm section of bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love (both members of Mats Gustafsson's the Thing, among countless other credits), Scorch Trio produce a particularly ornery form of incendiary fusion, a hybrid strain that bears nearly as much resemblance to overdriven rock trios like Cream or Band of Gypsies as it does to avant-jazz guitarists such as Sonny Sharrock and Nels Cline.
While Björkenheim's playing reveals a strong kinship with Sonny Sharrock and John McLaughlin, Hendrix's presence looms most vividly on this outing. “Kjøle Høle” erupts out of the gate with a blues-based, free-form attack, all flailing drums and searing guitar rawness, Björkenheim at one moment channeling Robert Fripp's piercing tone and in the next annihilating it with burning squalls of psychedelic wah-wah. The intensity level is volcanic and, while the track threatens to derail in its most frenetic moments, the trio holds it together with the rhythm section somehow managing to follow the guitarist's incendiary lead. When the piece winds down to a scorched close, it echoes Coltrane's A Love Supreme as it enters calmer waters during its last quarter. After that ear-splitting overture, the relative calm of the introspective “Synnja Vegga” comes as a relief, with the trio conjuring an explorative soundscape of creaks, groans, and scrapes. The cover's dark skull etching offers a visual analogue to the playing within, so be forewarned: Luggumt is one challenging and occasionally ferocious trip that continually shifts between episodes of control and chaos. Cross the wailing spirit of Hendrix with the experimental adventurousness of Coltrane and Miles and you'll have a pretty good impression of its bold and intense sound.
Scorch Trio play with a phenomenal resilience. After hearing James Blood Ulmer and Last Exit more than fifteen years ago I´ve been looking for someone that could create the same explosive fusion between the freedom in jazz and the energy in rock music. Funnily enough it took a Finnish-Norwegian trio to find it. Scorch Trio build their music from free improvisation but have an enormous concentration in their long, sweeping sound attacks. Talk about power trio! Absolute world class.
Free interplay at the highest level.
As you would expect from the name, Scorch Trio is on fire for much of the six-song ”Luggumt” (Rune Grammofon). Featuring Finnish guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim and the Norwegian rhythm section of bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, the trio is all about energy and freedom. "Kjole Jole" and "Furskunjt" splatter at 100 miles per hour, with Bjorkenheim playing like a combo of Jimi Hendrix at his most psychedelic and John McLaughlin on ”Love Devotion Surrender”. But the group slows down on "Synnja Vegga," which is ambient sound-sculpting, and on "Brennj Fynnj" and "Snaekje Rojnd Naevinj," which are meandering, mostly quiet free pieces, with the guys playing little phrases and answering, echoing or complementing each other. ”Luggumt” is often excellent, especially Nilssen-Love's stunning drumming and Bjorkenheim's gorgeously ugly guitar tones, but the album can be overwhelming in its intensity and abstraction. Small doses are recommended for a maximum buzz without the hangover.
Norwegian bass player Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and Finnish/American guitarist Raoul Björkenheim are the ultimate improvising power trio. Ferocious, yet subtle and supremely gifted, they would never dream of just playing a backbeat; instead they deliver maximum rock kicks and peak on the title track as a sort of superspeed blur.