Blixt — Blixt
(Cuneiform Rune 335, 2011, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-04-01As it says on the cover, Blixt is Raoul Björkenheim, Bill Laswell, and Morgan Ågren. And in case you weren't aware of it, they are all monsters on their instruments. But technique alone does not make successful music, and the history of music is filled with terrible albums by good musicians. This one starts of with "Black Whole," and it quickly becomes apparent that these guys are taking the "monster" metaphor a little more literally than they had to. They are fierce, aggressive, and frightful, three apocalyptic horsemen sweeping through the village leaving destruction in their wake. But it's not pure bluster — there's real depth and subtlety to these tunes. And in between the fiery moments, there are periods of calm — they know how to use space. I'm reminded of the first incarnation of Tony Williams' Lifetime, as on Emergency! only without any keyboards — this has a similar edge to it. Björkenheim has quite an arsenal of effects, everything from distortion to wacky ring modulation, and Laswell has his own rack of sound manglers — I almost feel sorry for poor Ågren with just a drum kit, but he does enough with it that the music never lacks for inventiveness. For every passage in a tricky odd meter, there is a floating moment of atmosphere where such things as beats are only rumors, not to be completely believed. This is an outstanding entry into the crowded ranks of power trios, one that's sure to make frequent appearances in my player.
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more