Somnambule - Writing About Music

Raoul Björkenheim & Lukas Ligeti ~ Shadowglow

Shadowglow is an album of improvised duets between guitarist Raoul Björkenheim and percussionist Lukas Ligeti recorded for the new Finnish jazz label Tum Records. Throughout the course of its 65 minutes Björkenheim coaxes, tears and bows a vast range of sounds out of his guitar: from needling stabs, superfast runs and angry squalls to notefalls like scree scattering down a mountainside. At times his tone is all (heavy) metallic howling, at others it’s the spirit brother to a mbira. Ligeti is Björkenheim’s equal at every moment, playing with a subtlety and attention to sonic detail which sees every hit, brush and tap contribute to the dialogue. In the process he evokes the sound of a stream, the noise of a nomad festival, the patter of rain on tin roofs using instruments such as Chinese tam-tams and Korean Changgo drums. Shadowglow’s moods negotiate the eery and the ominous, the fierce and the gleeful, the tender and the jagged. Both players pay stringent attention both to each other and to the soundworlds they’re creating. These explorations may sound momentarily forbidding, but concentration pays manifold dividends as it welcomes the listener into strange, foreign lands. Although this music was recorded in New York City, its shifting locus appears to range from the empty lands east of the Finnish/Russian border to the African interior.
Colin Buttimer
February 2004
Published by Jazzwise magazine