Thou Shalt Boogie!
Formed in 2003, the Oslo-based trio Bushman's Revenge (named after a type of mouth-searing hot sauce) are upfront about their love for the progressive rock of Cream and Jimi Hendrix, the galactic jazz of Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Sharrock and Alice Coltrane, plus the raw power of Black Sabbath and The Pixies. Thou Shalt Boogie! is their sixth album for Rune Grammofon, a relationship that began with 2009's You Lost Me at Hello (RCD 2083CD/(RLP 3083LP). Its velvety, warm sound was captured at Athletic Sound in Halden, Norway, close to the Swedish border -- a legendary tape-only studio with a 30-year history. Although there are three rooms separated by glass, they kept all the doors open "so essentially what you are hearing is everybody in one big room," says guitarist Even Helte Hermansen. Even. Superbly-paced, and poised in the indefinable zone between composing and improvisation, Thou Shalt Boogie! achieves a fine balance between brute heaviosity and meditative bliss. Even Hermansen brought various ideas for chord sequences and melodies into the studio, but the group collectively make them their own, adopting an "everybody solos, nobody solos" approach. One of the two long set pieces on the record is the 17-minute "Baklengs Inn i Fuglekassa," which includes the shimmering drone of an Indian sruti box halfway through -- an innovative touch that transports the track to an unearthly plane. The working title of Thou Shalt Boogie!, Hermansen reveals, was Yoga. "The idea was to do a more meditative record than we previously have," he admits. "The drone is a small tip of the hat to Alice Coltrane. Her Journey in Satchidananda is one of my favorite records of all-time. I wanted to have some kind of tribute to her on there." Although Bushman's Revenge is essentially a trio (with Rune Nergaard, bass, and Gard Nilssen, drums), they were joined by keyboardist David Wallumrød, whose Hammond organ tones provide silky washes of background color. The band included him on a tour in early 2013 and he stuck around. "The band has never been tighter and we're having more fun than ever," says Even. "The point is to keep moving -- forwards, backwards, sideways, up or down, it really doesn't matter as long as you're in motion."