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Vinyl, 12 May 2008
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The Nordic threesome began life as the rather more difficult to pronounce Björkenheim/Håker Flaten/Nilssen-Love, but soon saw sense and assumed their present moniker. It's difficult to imagine a group with a more fitting name, such is the intensity of their improvisation. The thing that's most likely to grab new listeners (by the throat) is the fearsome energy with which they play. Following in the wake of that comes the sense of sheer detail: moment to moment this music is dense with information. Imagine slicing a cross-section through it though and there's every chance that an elegant structure will be revealed.
Scorch Trio's music is as knotty as their surnames. It's full of gnarly, gristly improvisation that requires thorough mastication to digest. The overused phrase power trio does this music little justice. Epic opener Olstra begins with thrashing drums and angular shapes courtesy of Finnish guitarist Raoul Björkenheim and proceeds to ratchet up the mayhem for the next ten minutes. More becalmed pieces such as second track Basjen are like the proverbial blasted heath, a burnt offering rich in blackened sediment. Its successor, Hys, kicks off in a flurry of Nilssen-Love's drums, is mercilessly butted by Håker Flaten's bass and worried senseless by Björkenheim's restless guitar.
The three men reach certain strange moments in their music, whether becalmed or hyper-intense, that prompts this listener to wonder just how they manage to combine such abstraction with so much thrilling exhilaration. This is music descended from electric jazz, especially Miles Davis, and also Jimi Hendrix. It's both ever-changing and somehow still at its very centre. 33 minutes of additional tracks are only available on the vinyl release... plea to record company Rune Grammofon: how about an MP3 download for these tracks? --Colin Buttimer
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Top customer reviews
Through utilising skeletal psyche-rock melodics that exist on the periphery of the bulk sound, the trio tone down the unforgiving turbulence usually associated with free-jazz and lock the listener in, whilst (of course) incessantly bombarding them with collapsing instrumentation and sci-fi electronic skree. Occasionally they slow things down and morph into an ambient recess that allows one to gather themselves in preparation for the next onslaught, an onslaught that builds subtly and intricately from the roots.
From the subtle Eastern-tinged brushes and scraps of `Basjen' to the drone-laden, occult psyche jazz soundscape that adorns the closing sections of `Gaba', `Brolt!' is an impressively varied album that keeps on pushing the boundaries of fusion. The stomping and angular military-esque passage found towards the end of `Olstra' shows the trio's rock influences rise to the fore whilst adding a refreshing, energy-creating dynamic whilst `Hys' takes these rock influences and puts them through a freak-jazz blender. The track commences with a fantastically warped and fractured staccato guitar structure under which a deep-fried, out-of-focus melody drifts before fusing with clustered percussives and gaining a heady momentum which will leave space-hippies in cosmic climbs. It is this finely crafted fusion of rock dynamics into the molten free-jazz brew where Scorch Trio create their distinctive and elaborate sound, a sound that swings between tightly clustered, micro-noodling valleys and cosmic, destructo-jazz peaks, and is complimented by a clean, focused and cool Norwegian aesthetic. As always the vinyl version is recommended, but not only to juice out that extra analogue warmness but also because it contains 4 extra tracks covering 33minutes. (KS)
For fans of: Parson Sound meets Mahavishnu Orchestra meets Last Exit
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