Finnish guitarist Raul Bjorkenheim towered in Krakatau's albums
Ritual (Hieronymous, 1988 - Cuneiform),
Alive (Hieronymous, 1989),
Volition (ECM, 1991), and
Matinale (ECM, 1993).
Bjorkenheim's guitar was in high demand during the 1990s. In particular, he
joined Paul Schutze's Phantom City for Site Anubis (Big Cat).
Revelator (Innerhythmic, 1998), containing four lengthy jams, was
a collaboration with Nicky Skopelitis, but unusually laid-back and even sleepy
for Bjorkenheim's standards.
Apocalypso (Cuneiform, 2001) was scored for thirty guitars, eight basses and four drumsets, all played by him in person.
The Scorch Trio was formed by guitarist
Raul Bjorkenheim with the rhythm section of
bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love (both members of the Thing with saxophonist Mats Gustafsson).
Their free improvisation is documented on
The Scorch Trio (january 2002),
Luggumt (january 2004) and Brolt! (october 2007 - Rune Grammofon, 2008).
After Live In Finland (december 2016),
Nilssen-Love was replaced by drummer Frank Rosaly on
Dmg @ the Stone Volume 2 (Dmg/arc, 2008) was a collaboration with bassist William Parker and percussionist Hamid Drake, and
Blixt (Cuneiform, 2011) was a collaboration with Bill Laswell.
Box Studio 1 (2008) was him with Trevor Dunn (bass), Stale Storlokken (keyboards) and Morgan Agren (drums).
The Scorch Trio of guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim, bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten and drummer Frank Rosaly recorded Made In Norway (may 2011) with guest multi-instrumentist Mars Williams.
Frank Rosaly composed the two suites of
Centering And Displacement (Utech, 2012) according to a complex
algorithm that mixes computer manipulation and chance.
His Malo (february 2015) was no less challenging, manipulating assorted
percussion with electronics.
Raoul Bjorkenheim recruited Pauli Lyytinen (saxophones), Jori Huhtala (contrabass) and Markku Ounaskari (drums) for Ecstasy (Cuneiform, 2014) that contains: El Pueblo Unido, with an anthemic Gato Barbieri-esque melody by Pauli Lyytinen's sax and a thundering, jarring guitar solo; the dissonant noir vignette Through the Looking Glass; and especially the dadaistic percussive orgy Subterranean Samba.
Out of the Blue (Cuneiform, 2015),
contains some surprises:
the sophisticated shuffle for gamelan metallophone and ancient oboe A Fly In the House of Love, which is the exact opposite of the metal-jazz for which the quartet was best known;
the ten-minute subliminal suspense of Zebra Dreams, a shroud of
sparse sounds against a tense paleo-African beat of percussion and guitar staccatos from which a lyrical saxophone aria slowly rises.
Another exotic pearl, OLJ, is perhaps the best display of instrumental prowess: synth-like glissandoes from the guitar, polyrhythmic tiptoeing from the drums, lugubrious bass saxophone phrases.
Half of the album is not what one expects. The rest is more conventional, but
the jovial whirling swinging Quintrille wins over
the metal-jazz frenzy of Uptown.
Heads and Tales toys with a half-baked circular melody that coalesces only at the end in a visceral crescendo.
However, there is much more to enjoy in the "exotic" pieces than in the
Bjorkenheim formed Triad with drummer Ilmari Heikinheimo and bassist Ville Rauhala, which debuted on Beyond (october 2016).
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