There are, and have been, quite a few exceptional experimental guitarists around, but we can´t recall an album sounding anything like ”The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers”. With his third album Stian Westerhus (33) is not only challenging and stretching the limits of his instrument but also comes up with an extraordinary piece of music that has more in common with modern contemporary music than just being a leftfield ”guitar” album. Tellingly, he claims that he ”can´t just be a guitarist”. In spite of having studied jazz in the UK as well as in Norway he also has a remarkably nonacademic approach to making music, something he shares with many Norwegian musicians of his generation.
It´s not imperative for Westerhus to make the guitar sound like anything other than a guitar, it´s simply his instrument of choice to express himself musically. At the age of thirteen he saw Jimi Hendrix on TV doing ”Star Spangled Banner” at Woodstock and since then there´s been no looking back. Growing up in a musical family with a mother listening to Elvis and singing along to Beatles and a father listening to classical music he soon ended up somewhere inbetween with Hendrix and King Crimson making early impressions. But he won´t admit to having any heroes, preferring to take in as many influences as he can so he won´t be confined to one genre or style. His way of working is very intuitive, both when recording and playing live. Nothing is planned and he tries to avoid thinking about what´s going to happen. With close to 200 travelling days a year, he´s probably one of the hardest working musicians in Norway, also finding time to record and play concerts with other projects like Puma, Monolithic (with Motorpsycho drummer Kenneth Kapstad), his duo with Sidsel Endresen and as a member of Nils Petter Molvær´s trio.
He´s also an in demand producer after having produced Pelbo´s ”Days Of Transcendence” and Nils Pettter Molvær´s ”Baboon Moon”. Most of the material on this album was recorded at the Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, a tomb soundwise known for it´s 20 second natural reverb, generally known for enormous wall paintings about the circle of life. The temperature inside is kept at 5 degrees Celsius to preserve the paintings in the best possible way. We have recently named Stian Westerhus the most exciting guitarist on the Norwegian experimental music scene, but with ”The Matriarch...” he has taken a great leap forward and produced a unique record that, together with his international activities, should get him the reckognition he so thoroughly deserves. A fantastic achievement on all accounts.
Shine, The Matriarch, Silver Sparkle Attraction, Like Passing Rain Through 9 Lives, Unchained Sanity On Broken Ground, Forever Walking Forests, Kept On Shoulders, Guiding The Pain, The Wrong Kind Of Flowers
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