Stein Urheim’s self-titled on hubro

4th November 2014

Label: Hubro

Urheim shows off his talents on this album which acts as a showcase for his influences from a swamp-style, sleazy guitar sound on the first track, Kosmoloda to a distinct John Fahey/Leo Kottke, finger picking melodicism with a frighteningly catchy later section on the 11 minute epic, After The Festival.

Throughout the album, however, there is one over-riding theme. A certain simplicity and patience. Urheim always appears to be ‘in the moment’. Giving his full attention to each note from his guitar while pacing his work to allow secondary sounds to take a full part in the music. The vibration of a string, the knocking of the guitar body.

When it comes to a track like After The Festival, however, the full majesty of Urheim’s oeuvre is on display. Here, we have a distinct playfulness that delicately tip-toes over the elements of the instrumental with a fine skipping suite of finger work, there is a beautifully subtle yet complex notational sequence that fits easily into the sunshine presentation. This deceptive simplicity will sometimes fall into a psychedelic melange of backwards guitars and synth-based washes that screw up the soundstage into a dream-like trip, only to return once more.

I reviewed the vinyl version but the CD version (a silver disc is included in a vinyl pack) received similar care and attention.

A fine multi-instrumentalist, Urheim is a complete show-off on this album, treating us to moments on the banjo, fretless bouzouki, slide tamboura, langeleik, charango and a host of additional guitars.

Both sumptuous is terms of instrumental skill and imaginative delivery, Urheim has constructed a breath-taking musical construction that will delight and intrigue.