Having studied avantgarde composition at the Royal Northern College of Music, Roy Powell went from accomplished jazz pianist in the 1990s with a string of acclaimed releases to Nordic relocation, embracing a proggier direction via power trio Interstatic and the Euro-US quartet Naked Truth.
Mumpbeak’s second release, like its 2013 debut, sees Powell once again channelling his considerable energy through a guitarpedal enhanced Hohner E7 Clavinet from which springs expressive sounds ranging from diaphanous, fairy-dust twinkles through to ballsy distortion, pitch-bends and dayglo wah-wah that would make Hendrix envious. Powell’s lithe tunes employ melodic hairpin bends that evoke early electric Chick Corea and, surprisingly perhaps, a light touch of cerebral complexity not unlike Gilgamesh’s Alan Gowen. A flamboyant soloist, he makes impressive leaps across the octaves in wild, powerfully contrasting pieces, driven by Elephant 9 drummer Torstein Lofthus’ dazzling cymbals and the low growl of Lorenzo Feliciati’s inquisitive bass which threads this mix of prog and jazz rock together. With a scorching Hammond organ raising the emotional temperature, Mumpbeak’s intensity proves unstoppable.