I arrived at the Hedvig Mollestad Trio because I’ll try anything presented on Norway’s Rune Grammofon label – and here I’ve found the third full-lengther from a rocking-good trio that combines jazz shapes with all manner of shred guitar, on this one they’re at their heaviest – but it’s heavy in a Sonny Sharrock kind of way, bits of John McLaughlin in there too – guitar extrapolations, each tune – or workout, rather – feels like a pulling away of layers, rather than the all-too-often piling up of layers that you have perhaps just come to expect from guitar albums.
Liquid Bridges and, in particular the closer here La Boule Noire, tap into the doom of those early Sabbath records – and the versions of that Sabbath sound that Buzz from the Melvins has made his own. But there’s still something inherently jazz-esque about the way Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen and her drummer Ivar Loe Bjornstad and bassist Ellen Brekken interact, a push/pull between the hard-rocksteady rhythm section and the broken-offf/smashed-down shards of Thomassen’s guitar.
She’s an extraordinary player – particularly because nothing on Enfant Terrible is particularly song-ish, yet nothing comes off as just an exercise; these as instrumental pieces similar, in a sense, to the ferocity of Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, Sharrock – as mentioned, and some of the fusion-funk moments on those early 1970s Miles Davis recordings.
Has Thomassen arrived at the sound that Hendrix would have found if he’d have stayed alive to work in any of this mythic line-ups, the one with Paul McCartney, the one with Miles Davis? Well, that’s an absurd hypothetical, obviously – but fuck it, I’ll answer it. She’s coming close to what that sound might have been, yes.
And Enfant Terrible is a thrill-ride – just six songs, all averaging around the six-minute mark. It’s a blast. A whirling dervish of jazz-meets-rock-and-fucks-standing-up-right-away. A kick-ass set of noises.