Nov 27 2016
There is nothing ordinary about the music of Geir Sundstøl. Not his dreamlike compositions. Not his singular expressionism on pedal steel. His choice of instrumentation is anything but conventional, and when he needs something unavailable, he sits down and invents it from scratch out of sheer imagination. Some of this talent is due to his vast experience in a diverse array of projects. Some of it is due to a creative drive that clearly has no concept of obstacles or boundaries. His newest album Langen ro benefits from all of that, and it’s why it’s one of the most enchanting albums to come out all this year.
All the compositions are originals, aside from two. Sundstøl gives the funhouse mirror treatment to the melody of folk tune “Gråtarslaget” and, at the other end of the pop culture spectrum, a rendition of “Tony’s Theme” that is more laid-back than the title-character of Scarface ever conceived of being.
At its core, Sundstøl has a trio of himself, keyboardist David Wallumrød and percussionist Erland Dahlen with a number of guests. But really, this album is about piecing together any personnel and instrumentation required to fill out Sundstøl’s unique imagery of jazz improvisation, Nordic folk, ambient minimalism and chamber music. There is no core, really. It’s about imagery and the vision it sources from. The music is mesmerizing, not catchy, experiential, not immemorial. It’s music to be lived in the moment and only in the moment, but Sundstøl, thankfully, makes that moment last a very long time.
This is a seriously captivating album.
Your album personnel: Geir Sundstøl (pedal steel, six string bass, banjo, xylophone, bass drum, cymbal, harmonica, cümbüs ̧ National Duolian, Shankar guitar, 5-string banjo, Moog MiniTaur, log drum, maraccas, pump organ, pianochordia, concert harp, marxophone, tubular bells), David Wallumrød (piano, Wurlitzer, Clavinet D6, Prophet 5, whistling), Erland Dahlen (blossombells, snare drum, metal plate, marching toms, xylophone, mini xylophone, musical saw, bass drum, Schulmerich handbells, finger cymbal, metal spring, frame drums, steel drum, lego case, whistling) and guests: Nikolai Eilertsen (bass), Martin Langlie (drums, percussion, processed percussion, modular synth), Erik Sollid (violin) and Martin Winstad (bass drum, timpani, cymbals, triangle, log drum, shekere, satellite bell, woodblocks, cowbells).
Released on Hubro Music.
Listen to another album track at the label’s Soundcloud page.
Music from the Oslo, Norway scene.