Anatholi Bulkin Trio – Initiation

Initiation Anatholi Bulkin Trio
Star People Records
John Barrett

Anatholi walks slowly, and carries a big axe. On a spare background he struts, with different tones as the occasion arises. A bluesman one moment, a rock star the next, he does a lot with a little guitar – and passes the initiation.

The title cut slams hard; snaky notes with a ton of fuzz. As cymbals roll the lines go faster; for an instant he sounds like Hendrix. Hard to describe – it’s a jazz solo with rock distortion. “Wings” flies to the islands: sunny notes dance with the tom-toms. This also gets loud, hurting the mood a little; Reingold’s bass bends softly, and restores the sunshine. So far, more “interesting” than good; the parts are nice but don’t seem to fit. That will soon change.

“Children” takes gentle notes and weaves them simply; a reflection, with a hint of sadness. At times it sounds folkish; by contast, “Folksong” is breezy pop – sweet jangles and a spotlight for Reingold. As the bass meditates, Bulkin adds metallic chords – almost a dulcimer. “Tripitaka” cruises with late-night funk: a fat bounce on the bottom and a theme like “Axel F.” Anatholi has a guitar synth, and uses it better than any I’ve heard – sleek, but with muscle. The solo trembles high, and the drummer keeps busy; it’s a wonderful mood.

“Pintor” is another slow cruise, not a samba but that same feeling. Cool notes creep upward, the drum fills are sweet – a day to relax. “House 418” brings the dirty blues with a steady march. (It’s technically not a blues, but that mood!) Just enough distortion, and a good heady twang – he sounds like a rockish Grant Green. “Presence” has more of the synth (fast and futuristic), and “Mrs. America” blooms upward with wispy chords – the perfect end to a perfect day.

The disc is uneven (the weak tracks are his loudest, and they’re mostly in front) but the group is solid, and his introspections lovely. Worth your time.

Rating: *** ½. Try “Children”, “Tripitaka”, “Pintor”, and “Mrs. America”.

Songs: Initiation; Wings of Light; The Underdog; Children (Life Is An Open Sky); Tripitaka; Planet Hollywood; Pintor; House 418; Eternal Affairs; Folksong; Presence; Mr. & Mrs. America.

Musicians: Anatholi Bulkin (guitars); Jonas Reingold (acoustic and electric basses); Anders Hentze (drums).

For more information visit the Anatholi Bulkin Web Site