On his third solo album for HUBRO, string magician Stein Urheim, based in Berlin, Bergen and Strandebarm, really gets serious about honing his complex expressive skills. His previous album garnered excellent reviews internationally, and has become a force to reckon with among listeners.
Urheim plays an impressive number of string instruments on the album, but we can also hear several tracks featuring vocals, harmonica, pocket cornet and tape experiments, while producer Jørgen Træen makes a contribution on modular synth. Urheim has had an interest in Norwegian folk music for a long time. Together with Benedicte Maurseth he won first prize in the “open class” category in the National Contest for Traditional Music in 2013, and on “Strandebarm” he interprets a Norwegian fiddle tune for the first time on an album.
In the course of his life as a musician Stein Urheim has gathered impressions and input from a musical world that knows no boundaries, and on this album he presents some of the most exceptional and exciting treasures he has discovered along the way – all filtered, naturally, through his distinctive musical temperament. This is strikingly personal music, which could most likely not have been made at any other time in history.
The tonal point of departure for the compositions on this record is reminiscent of French music of the early 1900s and American ragtime and standards of the 1920s and 30s. The soundscape combines acoustic and electronic elements to generate a compelling result. Urheim is thoughtful and meditative without being withdrawn or sombre.
“Strandebarm” was recorded in Strandebarm Church, not far from the house where Urheim has stayed for long periods of time in recent years. This space was chosen primarily because of its inspiring acoustics, and the music was recorded, as on the previous album, by sound technician Audun Strype. The recording was finalised and mixed at Duper Studio in Bergen by technician and producer Jørgen Træen, who also collaborated very successfully with Urheim on the previous album.
“Strandebarm” is Stein Urheim’s third release as a solo artist, and also his third release on the HUBRO label. He has also released three critically acclaimed duo albums on Bugge Wesseltoft’s Jazzland label, together with vocalist and instrumentalist Mari Kvien Brunvoll. Urheim has also been a member of Gabriel Fliflet’s band Åresong and HP Gundersen’s critically lauded drone band The Last Hurrah.
On Sunday 20 March Stein Urheim will present a new commissioned work, “Travelling With the Natural Cosmolodic Orchestra”, at the Voss Jazz Festival together with Per Jørgensen, Kjetil Møster, Mari Kvien Brunvoll, Ole Morten Vågan and Kåre Opheim.
All music by Stein Urheim (TONO) except:
Oh So Nice (lyrics by Kurt Vonnegut)
Produced by Jørgen Træen and Stein Urheim
Executive producer: Andreas Meland
Acoustic instruments and electric guitars recorded January 2015 in Strandebarm kyrkje
Recording engineer: Audun Strype
Editing, mixing and mastering: Jørgen Træen at Grotten/Duper Studio, Bergen, Norway, September/October 2015
Dragene over Tempelhof mixed by Stein Urheim in Shöneberg, Berlin October 2014, edited and mastered by Jørgen Træen October 2015