Exposé Online banner

Raoul Björkenheim / Ecstasy — Doors of Perception
(Cuneiform Rune 443, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-02-06

Doors of Perception Cover art

For the third outing with his Ecstasy quartet, Raoul Björkenheim continues to delve into the possibilities of electric guitar combined with saxophone, upright bass, and drums. This highly improvisational material is primarily defined by the distinctive playing of the musicians involved. Björkenheim’s guitar is likely well known to our readers, as we’ve been covering his recordings for 20 years now, going back to Krakatau. Whether waxing meditative with a clean tone and unusual voicings or bursting out with a raging wall of distortion, he is one of the most original guitarists in any genre. Pauli Lyytinen plays saxophones of several sizes, from bass to soprano, as well as wood flute, and his work is analogous to what Björkenheim does on the guitar, taking advantage of the full range of the instruments and presenting a balance of melodic and edgy tones. Two of the album’s highlights come from his use of less common instruments: his wood flute on “Surf Bird” is lovely, with a fluttery, um, bird-like quality that works well on conjunction with the sparse, echoing guitar parts, not at all resembling typical surf music; and on “Talkin’ to Me?” he goes for the deep low end with a bass sax part that provides a gritty doubling of the bass line to back a nasty guitar lead that nods obliquely to the blues, then takes off with a tortured solo of its own. There are also occasional effects used on the saxes for additional variety. Jori Huhtala doesn’t take the spotlight often with his bass playing, though his role is absolutely essential for the music to function, providing both a tonal and a rhythmic anchor. Markku Ounaskari is a very interesting drummer, providing a little extra touch of unexpected color to several of the tracks by venturing beyond the typical ways of playing a drum kit. It’s hard to tell exactly what he’s doing without watching him, but there are lot of sounds that do not seemed to be produced by simply hitting a drum head or a cymbal with a stick. And for another virtue, Doors of Perception consists of ten tracks, all under six minutes, for a total of only 43 minutes — a perfect taste of invention that never outlasts its appeal and never ventures into lengthy soloing. Yet another win for Raoul Björkenheim.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Raoul Björkenheim

More info
http://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/doors-of-perception

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Elka Atanasova - Winds of the Rhodopes – Back in the early nineties, when the Bulgarian Women's Choir was making the rounds, a diminutive but fire-breathing 19-year-old violinist from the same country released this promising debut work. How...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues