It could be the soundtrack to a film, but it’s not. If that film existed it would juxtapose shots of blasting sun with extreme close-ups of squinting eyes. It would convey an impression of time being suspended, while cuts to a clock show time is, in fact, running out. Norwegian guitarist Geir Sundstol has appeared on nearly 300 albums, with this, only his third as leader, a stunner. The flair for evocation is underpinned by a deeply affecting melancholy, and his breadth of influences is encapsulated in six minutes of brilliance that, once heard, will haunt you and have you craving to hear it again. In this two-song medley the Gothic gloom of David Bowie and Brian Eno’s Warszawa (from Low) runs into the dignified anguish of Alabama, John Coltrane’s anthem to victims of racism.
Among Sundstol’s vast array of instruments, acoustic slide guitar is his primary weapon, played with a sparseness that has loneliness seeping from every note. The surrounding textures are laden with surprises that swiftly assume an air of inevitability, such as Sansskriti Sheresta adding her tablas to the sounds of David Wallumrod’s analogue synths, and a guest appearance from trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer.