Geir Sundstøl-Brødløs.

Label: Hubro Music.

Since Geir Sundstøl’s career began thirty years ago in 1988, he’s been the equivalent of a musical hired gun and has featured on over 300  albums. This includes the albums he recorded as member of Rovers, and then Morris. Mostly, though, Geir Sundstøl has worked as a session player over the past four decades

Geir Sundstøl is no ordinary session musician though. Most session players stick to one instrument, but not Geir Sundstøl who describes himself as a guitarist and self-taught multi-instrumentalist. He can play everything from guitar tp mandolin, pedal steel, banjo, dobro, marxophone and harmonica. There is, it seems, no end to Geir Sundstøl’s talents a and that is one of the reasons why so many artists have dialled his number.

Over the past thirty years Geir Sundstøl has worked with the great and good of Norwegian music, and has travelled far and wide recording albums and touring.  That is what life is like for Geir Sundstøl who can seamlessly switch between musical genres and is just as comfortable playing blues, country, jazz, pop, rock and roots music. However, spending so much time working as a session musician meant Geir Sundstøl wasn’t able to embark upon a solo album until relatively recently.

In September 2015, forty-six year old Geir Sundstøl released his much-anticipated genre melting debut album Furulund to widespread critical acclaim. The cerebral and cinematic Furulund was a tantalising taste of what Geir Sundstøl was capable of.

Buoyed by the success of Furulund, Geir Sundstøl returned in 2016 with his sophomore album Langen Ro. Plaudits and praise accompanied the release of what was another ambitious album of innovative music from Geir Sundstøl who was keen to make up for lost time.  

Now two years later Geir Sundstøl returns with his third album Brødløs which has just been released by Hubro Music. Brødløs marks the welcome return of Geir Sundstøl 

Although Brødløs has much in common with  Geir Sundstøl’s first two albums, it’s also a quite different album. Geir Sundstøl explains: “When we started recording, I didn’t have any specific plans other than I knew I wanted it to be a sad album. Sad is good.”

To record his “sad album,” Geir Sundstøl and his eclectic array if unusual and exotic instruments headed into his custom-built home studio, Studio Intim, where he was joined by some top Norwegian musicians. This included drummer Erland Dahlen and pianist and keyboardist David Wallumrod. Geir Sundstøl also invited a new name to join the session.

This was percussionist and tabla player Sanskriti Sherestra, who Geir Sundstøl first saw playing with Bugge Wesseltoft’s New Conception of Jazz. He was so impressed with the young musician that he invited  Sanskriti Sherestra to play on Brødløs.

“I’ve learned that it’s good to invite at least one stranger to every session. I knew all the male musicians from before, and it’s easy to fall into certain routines when you know your fellow players, but we who know each other will behave differently when there’s a new person present. I didn’t know Sanskriti Sherestra from before, and had only heard her once, but I’d always wanted to play with tablas and I knew she was the one.”

The new band entered the studio and began recording Brødløs, which was the most ambitious album of Geir Sundstøl’s solo career which he named after his hometown.

“The album title is the name of the area in my hometown of Halden, where I grew up. Directly translated, it means “out of bread”, but perhaps penury would be a better translation. From what I’ve been told, the name goes back to WW2. Hard times.”

Brødløs which is Geir Sundstøl’s much-anticipated third album is captivating genre-melting album where a myriad of musical influences can be heard. Think of Brian Eno’s ambient albums with a guest appearance by John Coltrane while slide guitarist  Geir Sundstøl showcases his considerable skills on an album that conjures up pictures of Indian, Outer Mongolia, the familiar Norwegian landscapes and the Lone Star State, Texas.

The music on Brødløs is atmospheric, cinematic and rich in imagery as the listener hears what sounds the horses trot along drawing a trap or carriage. This could be anywhere  where there’s a horse-drawn culture. Meanwhile, layers of music combine and became part of the eight tracks on Brødløs. These tracks feature elements of ambient avant-garde, country rock, electronic jazz and traditional Indian music on an album where a myriad of exotic, unusual and tradition instruments became part of a rich musical tapestry,

It sounds as if John Coltrane has been joined by David Bowie and Brian Eno’s when they recorded Warszawa and Ry Cooder when he accorded the soundtrack to Win Wenders’ Paris Texas. Add to this the sound of legendary pedal steel player Sneaky Pete and the influence of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells and  Ennio Morricone’s Days Of Heaven, Cinema Paradiso and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on Waterloo which closes Brødløs. 

It’s a carefully crafted album that is vibrant and rich in detail, with subtleties and nuances that reveal themselves with each listen. They’re part of what’s a truly ambitious and innovative album Brødløs, which has been well worth the two year wait. Geir Sundstøl’s groundbreaking and genre-melting third album Brødløs is a widescreen cinematic epic which is without doubt the guitarist and musical hired gun’s finest hour.

Geir Sundstøl-Brødløs.

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