Hedvig Mollestad is properly trained in jazz music, but when working with her Trio, she pushes into darkly funky territory that is more influenced by heavy psychedelic rock. It’s a place that her gnarly guitar chops sit very comfortably, and on new studio album Black Stabat Mater, her sound is outright flaring. On Rune Grammofon.
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Most artists on the Rune Grammafon imprint artists know both how to play and then destroy jazz, and Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen is no different. A member of the sometimes minimal, often freeform group Trondheim Jazz Orchestra but primarily involved in the rather psychedelic trio of her own name, her music spreads through an endless slew of experiments. Her trio double down on instrumentation, and as such you could just as well look at ‘Black Stabat Mater’ as a fine garage rock record: guitar, bass and drums drive her towards something like Motorpsycho with zero fucking frills and a whole lotta solos.
On “Approaching”, Thomassen’s raucous and unwinding solos seem attached to some course-correcting SatNav, constantly deliberating through the frets before coming back into the groove of the piece. It’s a seven minute showcase in how to segue without completely trailing off the point, and then it’s fucking done. This record is full of line blurs between weird and traditional rock music, with the opening, drum-thrashed chord of “on arrival” recalling the metal dread of Kayo Dot as much as it does the triumphant intros of the Who. The piece descends into a noisy and abstract wash of psychedelia, but it’s sandwiched between two pieces of rhythmic and boilerplate psych rock.
Thomassen can do a lot, and her trio ultimately sound maximalist in whatever style they’re playing: I’m more drawn to the droning rock of a piece like “40” than I am to one of the soloed filibusters, because these near-silent moments draws atmosphere far better than the rockin’ out ever could. All in all, this record is defined by its heaviness, whether it shouts or whispers.
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