Laswell/Björkenheim/Ågren: Blixt

International supertrio bring the noise.

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The rule of averages dictates that instrumental albums tend to favour subtlety and finesse over sheer volume, but this threesome are having none of it. These seasoned campaigners are capable of playing at the more delicate end of the spectrum, but here they clearly revel in the primordial joy of making a right old racket. Heavy-duty rhythms are the order of the day – locking down the kind of grooves first patented by Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience – then extemporising furiously over the top.

Bill Laswell’s work in 80s prog-punk behemoths Massacre is a key text throughout, the bassist finding a worthy foil in Finnish guitar sorcerer Raoul Björkenheim. Factor in maverick Swedish drummer Morgan Ågren, and you have high-grade sonic mayhem.

Both the corrosive Black Hole and Cinque Roulettes are as forbidding but it’s the more dissonant, leftfield stuff that tends to really hit the mark. Shifting Sands Closing Hour is full of artsy intrigue, its Eastern percussive tics reminiscent of late-period Japan.

And hats in the air for Invisible One, 11-plus minutes of scatty jazz, fusionist rock and a heaving dollop of the downright weird.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.