Prolific. That’s a word that is often used to describe musicians. Often that’s an exaggeration. Not in the case of Geir Sundstøl.
Since his career began in 1988, Geir Sundstøl has featured on 260 different albums. This includes the albums he recorded as member of Rovers, and then Morris. Mostly, though, Geir Sundstøl has worked as the musical equivalent of a hired gun.
For much of his career, Geir Sundstøl has worked as a session musician. However, he’s no ordinary session musician. Most session players stick to one instrument. Not Geir Sundstøl. He describes himself as a guitarist and self-taught multi-instrumentalist. Geir Sundstøl can play guitarist, mandolin, pedal steel, banjo, dobro, marxophone and harmonica. There is, it seems, no end to Geir Sundstøl’s talents. That’s one of the reasons why so many artists have dialled Geir Sundstøl’s number.
This includes not just the great and good of Norwegian music. No. Geir Sundstøl has travelled far and wide recording albums.
He’s featured on album by everyone from A-ha to Henning Kvitnes, Lillebjørn Nilsen, D.D.E., Lynni Treekrem, Tim Scott, Onkel Tuka, Mulens Portland Combo and Lars Martin Myhre. Then there’s albums by Bjarne Brøndbo, Blister, Savoy, Jørun Bøgeberg, Bjørn Eidsvåg,Rita Eriksen and Nils Petter Molvær. Each and every one of these artists know Geir Sundstøl’s number. No wonder. He’s one of the most versatile musicians in music.
Unlike some session players, Geir Sundstøl can seamlessly switch between musical genres. He’s just as comfortable playing blues, country, jazz, pop, rock and roots music. That’s why he’s been asked to accompany everyone from deLillos to Di Derre, to Hangnal and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, who came across Geir in 1993.
The first time Jimmie Dale Gilmore came across Geir Sundstøl was at the 1993 Down On The Farm Festival. Before long, the pair were touring America. One night, film directors Joel and Ethan Coen were at one of the concerts. They were working on a new film, Fargo. However, they were still fleshing out the characters, and were looking for inspiration. When they saw Geir Sundstøl, the Coen brothers had their inspiration for Gaear Grimsrud, Peter Stormare’s character in their 1996 movie Fargo. By then, Geir Sundstøl had spent eight years recording and touring the world.
Nineteen years later, and Geir Sundstøl is still working just as hard. He’s worked on 260 albums and toured the world several times. However, there’s something he’s still to do, release his debut album. Geir Sundstøl will rectify this on 18th September 2015, when is released on Hubro Music.
Furulund is a much anticipated album. It’s the long-awaited debut album from Geir Sundstøl. Recording of Furulund took place at Geir Sundstøl’s home studio, Studio Intim. That’s where the eight soundscapes were recorded. They’ve been described as “atmospheric and evocative.” Geir Sundstøl played the majority of the instruments on Furulund, which was was recorded entirely in analogue. However, joining Geir Sundstøl on Furulund were some of his musical friends.
This includes Bernhoft keyboardist David Wallumrød. He’s joined by two drummers, including Erland Dahlen. He and Geir Sundstøl were members of both Nils Petter Molvær’s group and Morris. The other drummer Michael Blair, has accompanied Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and Lou Reed. They joined Geir Sundstøl at his home studio, Studio Intim.
It features many unusual instruments which Geir Sundstøl has collected over the years. Many are rarities. This doesn’t stop Geir Sundstøl using them on Furulund. It features eight instrumental soundscapes composed by Geir Sundstøl. Once Furulund was completed, it was mixed by Bård Ingebrigtsen at Amper Tone Studio, and was mastered by Helge Sten at Audio Virus Lab. Only then, was Furulund ready for release.
Furulund had been a long time coming. Geir Sundstøl’s career began in 1988, twenty-seven years ago. After working on 260 albums and touring the world several times, Geir Sundstøl was at last ready to release his long awaited debut album Furulund, which I’ll tell you about.
Din Gamle Arak opens Furulund. Just a lone, folk-tinged guitar plays. Soom, it’s joined by a shimmering steel guitar. They play their part in what’s an understated soundscape. However, an understated, wash of music can be heard in the distance. It’s panned left, and threatens to unfold. However, it’s a curveball. Out of nowhere, a cinematic sound unfolds. Bells chime, drums sound and guitars combine with the marxophone. By now, it sounds as of Geir Sundstøl is providing the soundtrack to a Spaghetti Western.
One has to listen intently to Furulund. In the distance, sounds stirs. Gradually, the arrangement builds. A piano plays. It’s joined by a country-tinged guitar and drums. Meanwhile, percussion plays in the background. By then,the music is moody, melancholy and thoughtful. It washes over their listener. Soon, their wallowing in its pensive beauty.
Just like previous tracks, the introduction to Punsj sparse and spacious. This seems to deliberate. The listener can’t help but wonder what direction the arrangement is heading? A lone country-influenced guitar plays. Soon, a myriad of percussion and sound effects are added. They punctuate the arrangement effectively. Their interjections makes sense. Whether it’s the guitar, percussion, weeping pedal steel or bells that chime, they’re dropped in at the right time. Geir Sundstøl’s alternative orchestra create a moody, wistful soundscape. It sounds as if it belongs in a Wim Wenders movie like Paris Texas.
Bells chime and a weeping pedal steel combines on Englehviin. Meanwhile, the wind blows and a guitar plays. Plink plonk percussion joins the bells and pedal steel. So do drums and sci-fi sound. Drums add an element of drama. However, the pedal steel is the most atmospheric and evocative sound. It tugs at your heartstrings in this cinematic soundscape.
A keyboard is played slowly and deliberately on Svi. Despite its understated sound, it’s moody and broody. Especially when shimmering guitars and organ are added. They add to the dark, moody and mesmeric sound. It has a country influence. Later, Eastern percussion is added briefly. Having appeared, is disappears, only to reappear later. By then, a searing guitar, and bass cuts through the arrangement. They’re joined by a weeping pedal steel and percussion. Together, they create a dreamy, fuzzy and lysergic soundscape.
Ry Cooder. That’s who I think of as Kamelsnurr unfolds. It’s just Geir and his slide guitar. Washes of music dissipate into the distance. That’s until he’s joined by another guitar and drum. Its raison d’être seems to be to add drama. It certainly succeeds in doing so. Especially with when it’s aided and abetted by the marxophone and percussion. They create a cinematic soundscape. All the listener needs to supply is their imagination, and they can direct the film that accompanies the moody, dramatic and wistful Kamelsnurr.
Washes of distant music sweep in on Sheriffen av Rotterdam. They’re spacey, as they shimmer and glisten. Again, Geir combines his trusty guitar and rumbling drums. While washes of guitar shimmer and shiver, drums rumble like distant thunder. Geir’s banjo adds a sense of urgency, on a track that’s mostly, beautifully mellow and atmospheric.
Dagens don’t closes Furulund, and is a combination of influences, including Ry Cooder, the Cocteau Twins and Buddhist music. The latter comes courtesy of the bells that ring out. Later, there’s a noticeable country influence. It’s down to Geir’s slide guitar. It takes centre-stage this moody, minimalist soundscape. Just like Din Gamle Arak, which opened Furulund, it sounds as if it belongs on a 21st Century Spaghetti Western. This seems a fitting way to close Geir Sundstøl’s long-awaited debut album Furulund.
It’s taken Geir Sundstøl twenty-seven years to get round to recording and releasing Furulund. It’s been well worth the wait. Furulund is a stunning debut album, featuring eight instrumental soundscapes. Geir Sundstøl plays most of the instruments himself. That’s apart from the drums and keyboards. Some of his musical friends add these parts. They play their part in what’s one of the best debut albums of 2015.
The music on Furulund is variously atmospheric, beautiful, broody, cinematic, dramatic, dreamy, ethereal, melancholy and moody. It’s capable of taking the listener on a journey. All the listener needs to supply is their imagination. Geir Sundstøl supplies the music.
Sometimes, the music sounds as if it belongs on a Spaghetti Western. Another track, Punsj, sound as if they belong on a Wim Wenders soundtrack. Other influences include the Cocteau Twins, Brian Eno, and Buddhist music. Add to this, ambient, Americana, blues, country, folk, post-rock and rock. Each and every one of these influences are part of the sound and success of Furulund, which will be released by Hubro Music on 18th September 2015.
Furulund is one of the best debut albums of 2015. The best way to describe the music on Furulund is cinematic. That describes the musical journey that is Furulund. It features eight soundscapes that last thirty-five magical minutes. Geir Sundstøl takes the listener on a cerebral and cinematic journey on Furulund, his long-awaited debut album which is sure to be one of the albums of 2015.