Kim Myhr

Bloom
Hubro CD 2578

Like words from another language whose English translation doesn’t convey their exact meaning, the idea of calling Norwegian guitarist Kim Myhr’s Bloom a solo session largely doesn’t do it justice. Rather than a compendium of tunes showcased on a particular stringed-instrument, acoustic or electric, Myhr, whose credit include membership in ensembles such as MURAL and Circadia, uses overdubbing and electronic processing to create an euphonious suite during which he plays electric 12-and 6-string guitars, acoustic 12-string guitar and zither. Setting the scene at the top with electronic drones and dobro-like resonance mixed with fierce down strokes from the zither that could come from a dulcimer, the hovering textures are alternately menacing and soothing. Performed with folksy twanging stitched to wave-form oscillations, the five tunes could be termed space-age mountain music.

A studio creation, brainstormed and recorded over a six-week period, the guitarist put together the sounds with lapidary skill and like a child first learning to ride a bicycle follows a protracted path on more difficult sonic terrain as the CD advances. By “Swales Fell”, the midpoint the trail route is not only soars skywards as if he was bicycling on a half pipe ramp, but with added brush strokes and harp-like glissandi cosmic tones from what could be a variety of other stringed instruments also fill the lesions left among buzzing guitar tones.

Mixed with throbbing, chromatic motion, the climatic and concluding “Milk Run Sky” cannily introduces more novel sound suggestions. As rubbing zither timbres chop the theme with the power of Heavy Metal drum beats, the melody is carried forward by rasgueado string lines that shakes off dissonant cross tones from other overdubbed guitars. Field recordings of birds add to the distorted string lattice-like work which evolves alongside a concussive beat. Integration is finally achieved when percussive string strumming takes up enough aural space to persuasively continue the sounds, perhaps infinitively, past the track ending.

No rural ‘round the fireplace music unless the fireplace is situated on an interplanetary rocket, Myhr’s achievement is to blend the flexibility of Free Music, the seriousness of Flamenco and the beat of Hard Rock into a suite is as affecting as it is original.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Sort Sol 2, O Harizon 3. Swales Fell 4, Peel Me 5.Milk Run Sky

Personnel: Kim Myhr (electric 12-and 6-string guitars, acoustic 12-string guitar, zither and electronics)