Ropeadope

Olli Hirvonen - Displace (CD)

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Release Date: 08/30/2019
On Displace, his latest album and first for Ropeadope, Olli Hirvonen introduces a highly personal, pathbreaking vision of guitar heroism. The virtuosic rapid-fire phrasing of Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell meet the complex compositional ideas of Tim Berne and Matt Mitchell. The immersive sonics of My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields share space with meditative acoustic soundscapes that call to mind Ralph Towner and Oregon. Postbop and prog influences press up against Hirvonen’s years in a noise-rock outfit. 

When Hirvonen mentions how much he digs Ben Monder, it yields an Aha! moment—not because he sounds so much like Ben, but because they’re both similarly complete musicians: technical masters who employ chops only in the service of good ideas; jazz guitarists who view rock as a great musical and sonic concept rather than an excuse to turn up. What else would you expect from a victor of the prestigious Socar Montreux Jazz Electric Guitar Competition who grew up obsessed with Deep Purple? 

The full breadth of Hirvonen’s voyage comes into play on Displace, a quartet album with pianist Luke Marantz, bassist Marty Kenney and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell. But rather than a pointed, willful fusion of disparate genres, Hirvonen’s mission is to meld the different music he loves—and yes, that includes not only Deep Purple but Iron Maiden too—as organically as possible. “I started finally accepting my different influences from back in the day,” explains the guitarist, 30. “I wasn’t consciously trying to combine everything. I was more just accepting what is already there.”

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Displace

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