Raoul Björkenheim's fiery guitar playing first appeared in 1985 on Edward Vesala's "Bad Luck, Good Luck", featuring Tomasz Stanko and Juhani Aaltonen. The drummer's seminal album two years later on ECM, "Lumi", brought him to the attention of the global jazz community and led to recordings on that label for Krakatau, a finnish quartet which toured Finland and Europe avidly during the 90's. Björkenheim subsequently made many new connections, recording and performing with artists like Bill Laswell, Paul Schütze, Toshinori Kondo, Mats Gustafsson, Lukas Ligeti, Hamid Drake, William Parker and Scorch Trio with Paal Nilssen-Love and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten.
Calling his concept "Investigative Guitar", Björkenheim's curiosity is constantly challenging him to come up with new sounds and playing techniques which borrow from rock, jazz and a wide array of ethnic influences. This curiosity has also led him to compose for guitar, string quartet, big band and symphony orchestra, as well as scoring several films.
Ville Rauhala (b. 1976) began playing the bass already in his teens and has performed professionally since the year 1994, with his first groups including blues and jazz influenced Groovy Eyes and Hot Pants as well as the roots rock group Stringbeans. Rauhala studied the double bass with Pauli Tammiaho from the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra during 1995-2007. In addition, he has studied ethnomusicology at the Tampere University during 1995-1998.
Besides Black Motor, Rauhala has performed and recorded with various other artists and groups focusing on improvised music, including saxophonist Masa Orpana, saxophonist Petri Nieminen, trombonist/accordionist Kusti Vuorinen, Rakka, Olmarin Unioni and many others. Rauhala also frequently performs as a theatre musician in Tampere and as a studio musician in the field of popular music, having recorded with vocalists Ville Leinonen, Pate Mustajärvi and M. A. Numminen, among others. He has also collaborated with singer/songwriter Janne Laurila and guitarist/vocalist Pauli Hanhiniemi. In 2006, Rauhala joined Hehkumo, a popular group in the field of modern folk music featuring Hanhiniemi as its vocalist and has recorded two albums with the group. He also performed with Hehkumo in the musical Anna Liisa (Minna Canth) that had its first night in 2011.
Ilmari Heikinheimo (b.1988) is a drummer/percussionist & composer, who despite his young age has already worked for several years with major figures in the Finnish progressive jazz/improv scene. He has collaborated with the likes of saxophonists Jorma Tapio, Pepa Päivinen, Tane Kannisto (in Sound and Fury), Jone Takamäki and Sakari Kukko; guitarists Jimi Sumen and Hjilmar Jensson (IS); bassists Uffe Krokfors, Sampo Lassila (both former members of Krakatau),and Antti Hytti; trumpeters Antero Priha, Mika Mylläri and Verneri Pohjola, among others. He is currently working with several groups, including more mainstream styles like progressive rock and afro/funk. He has also made music for short films.
Combining polyrythmical and rubato phrasing in his explosively dynamic and lyrical style, Heikinheimo brings melodic dimensions to his drumming, as well as a keen sense of tonal color.
Björkenheim, Heikinheimo and Rauhala have found willing accomplices in each other, mixing a vast array of influences and multi-directional approaches, allowing the music to radiate directly from the heart, unchained!