Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Hedvig Mollestad Trio - Smells Funny (Rune Grammofon, 2018)

The Hedvig Mollestad Trio is made up of Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen on guitar, Ellen Brekken on bass and Ivar Loe Bjornstad on drums, and they deftly meld rock and jazz music from the most complex fusion to the heaviest of metal, with hints of free music and  psychedelia. This is their sixth album, and the music has been gaining confidence and complexity all the way, especially on this album which is very successful and should be accessible for both fans of open eared jazz and rock 'n' roll. "Beatsie, Beatsie" opens the album with raw rocking feedback, physical bass and tight drums, where riffs gradually build, almost architecturally, with guitar solos sparking off of them and taking flight, soaring over the powerful rhythm section, leaving streaks of neon colors in the sky. They really blast off near the end, driving the music hard and embodying the powers of nature, before returning to the original theme. Slashing guitar and percussion hit hard right from the opening, giving "First Thing To Pop Is The Eye" a foundation in violent sweeping movements, which propel the music around a fulcrum of taut bass. Tight repetitive themes build momentum, allowing them to explore at length, percolating bass and drums supporting long lines of bold electric guitar, which can still lash like a whip when necessary. They build to a blistering collective improvisation, playing as a full bore power trio, ripping apart the musical firmament with force and finesse, with a crushing drum led finale. On "Sugar Rush Mountain" there is a full and robust sound with excellent bass playing allowing the drums and guitar to really stretch out and go for it, with the leader's guitar emitting sparks of fire and electricity in a spellbinding solo over elastic bass and insistent drumming. The trio improvisation is excellent, the band knows each other well and this lends to a thrill ride of powerhouse playing at terrific volume and speed. "Bewitched, Dwarfed And Defeathered" combines grinding remousseless guitar and drums in a  thick sludge, oozing forward, with binding bass, and massive riffs like mountains to be scaled. Guitar snakes out with long sustaining snarls, and a much earned bass solo that is a powerful force in its own right. The guitar soon returns with over the top power and speed, shredding at a phenomenal pace, before gliding back into the heavy riffs that return the tune to the primordial soup from whence it came. "Lucidness" is the longest track, free sounding and spontaneous, building upon smears of guitar, nervous drums and bass, gradually gathering volume and pacing, with excellent interplay between the musicians as the complexity of the improvisation grows. The music takes on an exploratory bent, and the trio challenges themselves to dig deeper and push harder, reaching for a performance of transformative metamorphosis, where tags like jazz and rock fall to the wayside and all becomes one. Smells Funny - Rune Grammofom.com

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