Twangy blues jam meets musique concrete and soaring gothic soundscapes in cult trio’s transgressive mockery of the upper class.
Then, as the long, riverine meanders of guitarist Even Helte Hermansen get into their stride, and the effects-pedal expressionism of his chosen settings thickens timbres into a growling axe-attack, things become chewier and more challenging. It’s like Cream playing Coltrane (Alice or John), remixed by Arne Nordheim or Karlheinz Stockhausen. By the time you get deep into the heart of the album, past rumbling audio-sculptures, tamboura drones, found-sound samples, the twangy blues jam and a soaring gothic soundscape, it can be hard to be sure where one instrument ends and another begins. The overall ambiance might also seem closer to a film soundtrack or art installation than a normal collection of tunes. It’s a kind of sonic journey, moving the art of the trio on to the contemporary zeitgeist of noise, drones and filmic FX.
Although this is very much a trio album rather than a guitar showcase, Hermansen’s shockingly comprehensive skills and nifty customised hardware can’t help but join the dots connecting several disparate reference points, from historical guitar heroics to Sonic Youth to contemporary noise bands. The range of influences also travels a long way from the usual jazz and rock signifiers, to the Beatles’ ‘White Album’, say, the film scores of Ennio Morricone, and the experiments of Supersilent or Jan Johansson. By the end, Bushman’s Revenge – whose 2012 album ’Never Mind the Botox’ irreverently mixed together tunes by Ornette Coleman, The Pixies, Black Sabbath and Sun Ra – remind you of no one so much as themselves. Convincingly, the trio have created their own distinctive signature: a genre of one.
Unlike some previous Bushman’s Revenge albums, there are no special guests, but the normal paramenters of the trio are expanded through the inclusion of several other instruments, with drummer Nilssen doubling vibes and Wurlitzer electric piano while bassist Nergaard covers organ, toy piano and percussion. Hermansen plays percussion as well as his barrow-load of guitars, and all three members add ‘electronics’. Pleasingly, ‘Et Hån Mot Overklassen’ ends as it began, with a lyrical, electronically enhanced prelude leading into a sensitively played jazz tune. We have come full circle.