Stein Urheim is a Norwegain musician who specialises in pluckage, usually of stringed instruments like guitars, tamboura, bouzouki, mandolin, banjo and several others. He also plays flutes, harmonica and analogue synths, so he’s pretty accomplished. This is his second solo album and first international release. So far so obscure I know, but the opening track ‘Kosmoloda’ sounds familiar nonetheless, it starts off not unlike Robert Fripp’s ambient Frippertronics and then adds Ry Cooder in Paris Texas mode acoustic guitar.
Crisp, reverberant strings, cavernous soundscapes and a vibe that brings to mind another Cooder piece, Meeting by the River with VM Bhatt – one of audiophile label Waterlilly’s finer moments. The range of instruments ensures that there is a good variety of timbral diversity on this album, and this mixed with Urheim’s ability to avoid navel gazing makes for a rich and colourful experience. Sometimes there are perhaps too many ideas in a piece but rather than seeming like an attempt to show they feel like the fruits of a restless mind, one that constantly seeks fresh pastures. If you enjoy a very nicely recorded acoustic instrument or two alongside some very unusual ones this is well worth a spin.