Krokofant: Krokofant II (CD/LP)
This young, semi-improvising power trio – Tom Hasslan (guitars), Axel Skalstad (drums) and Jørgen Mathisen (saxophone) – typify a new and invigorating movement currently sweeping across the Nordic region: hard boiled improvisation and strong instrumental personalities bolted onto rock beats and driving rhythms. Equally powerful on record and on stage, Krokofant pull no punches, sounding off like some unholy three-way marriage of early 70s jazz rock (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Terje Rypdal, Ray Russell), the sprawling progressive odysseys of King Crimson and Henry Cow, and the fierce heat of Peter Brötzmann’s harsh free jazz ensembles. If last years debut was a fresh breath of youthful energy, this follow-up shows a trio very confident of their abilities. They ally a strong discipline with wide, exploratory arcs, Tom’s agile guitar and Jørgen’s snaking sax are always fighting to break out, just held in check by Axel’s tough, rhythmic tumble. Only 22 years old, the young drummer is something of a sensation, combining pure energy with superior technical skills. This is a trio where you can hear the individuals pushing each other to new hights while keeping the solid group foundation intact.