Friday, October 14, 2011

Bill Laswell, Raoul Bjorkenheim and Morgan Agren - Blixt (Cuneiform, 2011)

Blixt, the jazz fusion/progressive rock trio of Bill Laswell on bass, Raoul Bjorkenheim on guitar and Morgan Agren is a powerful one filled with tricky lead statements and intricate improvisational sections. Laswell is famous as a legendary producer and musician on the “downtown” improvisational scene in New York city, while Bjorkenheim, late of Finland (an improvisational hotbed all its own filled with great composers and musicians) has had his profile rise with tenures in the fusionesque band Krakatau and The Scorch Trio as well as an excellent disc he cut in the company of the great rhythm team of William Parker and Hamid Drake. The trio jumps right out of the gate, going for the throat with “Black Whole” developing a fast and torrid cosmological groove that threatens to engulf the musicians in energy. They shift gears into the percussion centered interlude “Moon Tune” speaking of a lunar influence that casts a diffuse blue light over the proceedings. “Shifting Sands Closing Hour “ and “Ghost Strokes” take the musicians to a more abstract direction, developing spooky landscapes of smeared guitar and drums with rumbling, ominous bass underneath. The group drops it back into overdrive with “Drill Beats” “Storm” and “4-4-4-4-2-2-2-5-2.” These are short tracks of great intensity, where the group is able to stop and turn on a dime almost telepathically, The Ramones of intricate jazz fusion, hit hard and fast and take no prisoners. Despite the complexity of the music, it remains quite listenable and enjoyable for a wide range of music fans. Whether a fan of punk rock, jazz fusion or progressive rock, there is something for everyone here. Blixt -

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