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Spiritual Non-Believers

RCD 2109CD RCD 2109CD

This is the new project from HP Gundersen; well-known producer, artist, musical partner, creative force, teacher, mentor and music enthusiast from Bergen, Norway. He has produced some 50 albums, probably best-known for Sondre Lerche's debut album Faces Down and Madrugada's monster hit "Lift Me." After stumbling over Stephen Stills' "secret tuning" as used on "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," HP has dedicated the last couple of years to explore what he calls drone guitar, music based on open, in this case modal, guitar tunings offering a fuller sound world and polyrhythmic possibilities not achieved with standard tunings. It soon became an obsession and he would sit at home for hours and days just playing as a means of meditation and for his own mental health. Friend and singer Heidi Goodbye would come to visit and ended up becoming so hypnotized by his playing that she just had to become involved. Heidi, also from Bergen, travelled to Denmark at the age of seventeen to study jazz vocal for two years. On returning home she was considered something of a sensation, but couldn't identify with a role in the jazz world and became more interested in American roots music, old country music and blues. The Last Hurrah!! is not merely HP and Heidi, but also an artist collective with different line-ups for various occasions, whether it's for recording or on stage. Others who have been intrigued include Jon Irabagon, dubbed the greatest saxophone talent in the U.S. since John Coltrane and Michael Powers, the blues guitarist, both having played with HP. Spiritual Non-Believers is a lovely mix of acoustic drone guitar, cosmic raga, pure pop and the very local take on country music so special to the west coast of Norway. The half-hour centerpiece of the album is based on a dark, sordid and bizarre story, in stark contrast to the almost high-spirited, feel-good atmosphere of most of the music. "The Ballad Of Billy And Lilly" is bookended by "Mother Nature," a cover from the 1970 album by Norwegian cult band Oriental Sunshine and "Melodi Grand Prix 73," an unlikely but sweet mix of bossa nova, surf music and Steve Reich. HP Gundersen: acoustic drone guitar, slide guitar, pedal steel, percussion, vocals; Heidi Goodbye: vocals; Alex Grieg: acoustic bass; Stein Urheim: tambura, harmonica; Geir Svendson: percussion; Stein Inge Brækhus: percussion; Willy Corneliussen: drums; David Vogt: violin; Henrik Paulsen: electric guitar; Lillian Samdal and Karoline Skuseth: backing vocals.