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Raoul Björkenheim Ecstasy: Doors of Perception (Cuneiform)

When the Finnish-American guitarist Raoul Björkenheim formed Ecstasy with saxophonist/flutist Pauli Lyytinen, bassist Jori Huhtala and drummer Markku Ounaskari, the idea was that the group would concentrate on playing its leader’s compositions. Seven years and two albums later, things have changed; seven out of 10 tracks on Doors of Perception are credited to all four … Read More “Raoul Björkenheim Ecstasy: Doors of Perception (Cuneiform)”

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Raoul Björkenheim ECsTaSy: Out of the Blue

Critics have heaped lavish praise on guitarist Raoul Björkenheim’s curious brand of improvised jazz, and understandably so, even if commonly drawn parallels (Ayler, Coleman, Coltrane, Mahavishnu, Hendrix, Fela, et al.) only serve to underscore the audacious yet ultimately elusive nature of his music. Out of the Blue, the second recording by his stellar Finnish quartet … Read More “Raoul Björkenheim ECsTaSy: Out of the Blue”

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Raoul Björkenheim: eCsTaSy

“El Pueblo Unido” has a simple, folky melody that could be inspired by guitarist Raoul Björkenheim’s home in Finland. Delivered by an electric guitar and tenor sax and a free-rolling rhythm section, however, it sounds like nothing less than a lost Ornette Coleman theme delivered by Sonny Sharrock’s Ask the Angels band. Yes, comparisons are … Read More “Raoul Björkenheim: eCsTaSy”

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Raoul Björkenheim/Bill Laswell/Morgan Ågren: Blixt

This audacious power trio delivers the sort of sonic blast that hasn’t been felt since bassist Bill Laswell’s ’80s bands Massacre and Last Exit. In Finnish guitar wiz and sonic provocateur Raoul Björkenheim, Laswell has found the perfect replacement for the late Sonny Sharrock in his ongoing mission to shock and awe. Swedish progressive-rock veteran … Read More “Raoul Björkenheim/Bill Laswell/Morgan Ågren: Blixt”

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