All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Extended Analysis

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

24

Stein Urheim: Stein Urheim: Stein Urheim

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Things are looking up for Bergen-based Stein Urheim, a musician who, on the basis of Stein Urheim—his second release on Hubro after the vinyl/download-only Kosmolodi (2012) and third as a leader following his 2009 debut, Three Sets of Music—seems interested in just about anything with strings...and a few without. Beyond his own career, which includes work with Gabriel Fliflet´s Åresong and a guest appearance on The Last Hurrah!'s 2011 Rune Grammofon debut, Spiritual Non- Believers, his Stein and Mari collaboration with Mari Kvien Brunvoll—an electro- acoustic singer who, since enthralling a group of international guests at a church showcase, continues to garner significant attention— has been gaining ground of its own, the duo's sophomore record, Daydream Twin (Jazzland, 2013), narrowly missing out on a Spellemannprisen (Norwegian Grammy) ultimately awarded to singer Susanna Wallumrod's admittedly stellar collaboration with Ensemble neoN, The Forester (Susanna Sonata, 2013).

Stein Urheim picks up where Kosmolodi left off, with Urheim expanding his arsenal even further, adding charango, banjo and analog synths to an already large array that includes, in addition to various guitars, the Chinese gu qin, Norwegian langeleik, Greek bouzouki and Asian tamboura, in addition to flutes, harmonica and, of course for just about any young Norwegian musician, a bevy of effects. The opening to "Kosmoloda"—one of five originals recorded in the deepest, darkest Norwegian winter at the climactically cold but acoustically warm wooden home of legendary violinist Ole Bull—sounds very much like a modern update on Robert Fripp's innovative Frippertronics, first heard on No Pussyfooting (DGM Live, 1973).

But such ambient qualities are quickly moved to the background, as Urheim introduces an acoustic guitar that sounds more like Bill Frisell's solo excursions on recordings like Ghost Town (Nonesuch, 2000)...except even that reference point quickly dissipates as Urheim introduces additional layers, including what sounds like a fretless bass but may be something else, the droning colour of a tamboura, effects that flip lines in to reverse and more. That the primary voice of acoustic guitar—occasionally played with a slide—at one point becomes the only voice, as Urheim then begins to rebuild his layers from the ground up, is just one of many devices used to turn a simple premise into a wondrous one, filled with color, melody, harmony and its own sense of languid forward motion.

Co-produced by Jørgen Træen—regular Jaga Jazzist collaborator and a producer with an uncanny ear for finding things in straightforward music that he then chops up and reshapes into something that, more often than not, is better than what he began with—Stein Urheim also sounds terrific. Every one of its many layers is crystal clear, while contributing to a whole that is absolutely greater than the sum of it parts, as Urheim brings together everything from Americana to Tex-Mex, hints of jazz that incorporate bop- centric phrases and ragtime changes, and electric guitars that move from clean and warm- toned to grittily overdriven—and an overall sound world that is, at one moment, dry and direct while, at another, wet and atmospheric.

Urheim casts a broad net, exploring multicultural influences, minimalist concerns, freewheeling improvisational dispositions...and plenty of blues and folk. An album that magically takes these multifarious sources and coalesces them into a remarkably unified whole, Stein Urheim is an album—and a name—that anyone interested in the broader potential of things with strings will find easy to love...and difficult to forget.

Track Listing: Kosmoloda; After The Festival; Watch The View; Beijing Blues; Great Distances.

Personnel: Stein Urheim: guitars, flutes, harmonica, slide tamboura, fretless bouzouki, gu qin, mandolin, langeleik, charango, banjo, analog synths, effects; Jørgen Træen: modular synth and effects.

Title: Stein Urheim: Stein Urheim | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Hubro Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Extended Analysis
Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: August 4, 2018
Read Wodgi Extended Analysis
Wodgi
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 4, 2018
Read In Memory of Lou Gare Extended Analysis
In Memory of Lou Gare
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 3, 2018
Read GRANITE Extended Analysis
GRANITE
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 2, 2018
Read The Last Night At The Old Place Extended Analysis
The Last Night At The Old Place
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 1, 2018
Read The Vintage Years 1970 - 1991 Extended Analysis
The Vintage Years 1970 - 1991
by John Kelman
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "GRANITE" Extended Analysis GRANITE
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 2, 2018
Read "Wodgi" Extended Analysis Wodgi
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 4, 2018
Read "Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981" Extended Analysis Trouble No More - The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" Extended Analysis Anthem Of The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: August 4, 2018
Read "In Memory of Lou Gare" Extended Analysis In Memory of Lou Gare
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 3, 2018
Read "The Last Night At The Old Place" Extended Analysis The Last Night At The Old Place
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 1, 2018