Scorch Trio - Luggumt
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Scorch Trio
Luggumt

I'll be the first person to admit that I don't have a really deep knowledge base in regards to jazz music. I've listened to most of the releases that are regarded 'classics' in the genre and while I like work by some of the heavy hitters (Coltrane, Miles Davis, etc), there's also work by each of them that just doesn't do much for me. In essence, I just sort of pick and choose, and although my background and knowledge on the subject is sorta rough, that has also helped somewhat steer me away from the conventional wisdom on ocassion (which has been a decent thing).

The Scorch Trio is a young group of artists from the musically-fertile region of Scandanavia. Each member of the group (Raoul Björkenheim, Håker Flaten, Paal Nilssen-Love) also play in between 3 and 10 other projects and combined they're some of the most prolific musicians in the modern jazz scene in their locale (or even worldwide). As the title of their group may imply, they like their jazz on the hot side of things. This is not soothing background music to put on in your swinging bachelor pad, rather it's jazz music married to rock music (in some cases very hard), and the trio wrench out some seriously involving stuff over the course of six tracks and 45 minutes of running time.

Recorded live in their studio with no overdubs and edits (to analogue tape), Luggumt is raw, ripping sound. Bookended by two longer and heavier tracks, the album builds itself into a frenzy quickly with "Kjøle Høle," as Björkenheim absolutely shreds his guitar for almost 13 minutes while Nilssen-Love attacks the drum kit with such ferocity that it sounds like he at times has 4 arms. It's a hell of a workout, and fortunately some of the middle tracks on the album take things down a notch. "Synnja Vegga" sounds like the polar opposite of the first track, as Björkenheim's guitar scrapes and noodles at times make it sound like his instrument is slowly falling apart while only spare bass notes by Flaten enter the mix and percussion is even more sparse.

"Snækje Rojnd Nævinj" is one of the only other cooldowns on the album, and even it has an eerie sense being comprised of nearly all guitar fretnoise and squeaks over a meandering rhythm section. Elsewhere, "Furskunjt" rips things up again with very limber basslines and frenetic drums under more awesome guitar work. On the closing, album-titled "Luggumt," the group even lulls one into a false sense of security for the opening of the track before slowly ratcheting things up for a blowout finale that is harder than anything else on the rest of the release and will leave you pushing rewind over and over to send the spiking workout through your veins again. As I mentioned above, I don't know a ton about jazz, but I do know what I like and Scorch Trio hits me in just about all the right places. As the almost death-metal skull drawing on the cover suggests, this is heavy stuff and I've been spinning it like crazy.

rating: 8.2510
Aaron Coleman 2004-12-21 00:00:00