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9/10 Avi
 

BJORKENHEIM, RAOUL - eCsTaSy - CD - Cuneiform Records - 2013

Until receiving this release the only other recording by the Finnish-American guitarist we knew was his 2001 Cuneiform release Apocalypso, and while it was impressive - as Bjorkenheim played his demanding piece all by himself as a virtual ensemble - it was also a bit strict (and perhaps mostly of appeal to avant rock fans). Here he is leading a modern jazz quartet, and while his guitar playing is at least as dazzling with both sonics and creativity, the real ensemble playing makes it all the more lively.

eCsTaSy is amongst the rare releases that made us go "wow" (such recordings mostly come from the brave Cuneiform Records these days). The bright sonic pallet mixes the acoustic sounds of contrabass, drums and saxophones with the electric guitar driven through various effects, always to a great effect and never as a gimmick. Bjorkenheim's electric guitar rollicking feels truly animated and spirited here, and as such has a distinctive voice.

The tonal adventure is combined with tunes filled with melodic sense; tunes whose purposeful, emotional tales are told with the suspense of active, clashing rhythmic patterns and improvisational freedom. It all sounds inventively new as a whole; and even more important, it sounds honest, energized and elevating.

At times, such as on "Sos" and "As luck would have it" - when the scorching saxophone of Pauli Lyytinen co-leads the tune with Bjokenheim's guitar over punchy rhythm section - this quartet reminded us of Markus Stauss' Spaltklang. But eCsTaSy is actually more varied than any Spaltklang release, offering a free jazz styled nature adventure on "Through The Looking Glass," a tribal dance on "Subterrnean Samba" and more.

This quartet has released a new album titled Out Of The Blue in 2015, and we are extremely curious to listen to it and hear what fresh sounds the group has concocted for us this time. (9/10)

 

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ISSUE 78
ALBUM REVIEWS

(A-B)  (B-D)  (D-G)  (G-K)  (K-M)  (M-P)  (P-S)  (S-ST)  (S-W)  (W-Z)

ADOLFO, ANTONIO
Tema

ALBEZ DUZ
The Coming Of M

ARCHEMORON
Sulphur and Fir

ARKADIA
Unrelenting

ARMONITE
The Sun Is New

ARS MORIENDI
La Singuliere N

ASHEN HORDE
Nine Plagues

BJORKENHEIM, RA...
eCsTaSy

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