Norwegian drummer-composer Stian Lundberg has played in about 70 albums, has been a studio and theater musician and toured with local bands such as Johndoe, The South, Moving Oos, Ida Jenshus, Rasmus og Verdens beste band, Charlie Rackstead & the Stickelsbergen Ramblers, Klaus Sonstad and Balkan Brasserie, before he decided to play his own music. His sophomore album Eplerose reflects his love for the jazz-rock fusion and features him heading a quartet with bassist Bjørn Marius Hegge, keyboardist Vegard L. Bjerkan and guitarist Alexander Pettersen.
Lundberg says that he never locked himself in or defined himself to a particular genre and that he wanted «Eplerose» to sound like quasi-ambient contemporary music, jazz and a kind of rock. The seven pieces on the new album rely mostly on Lundberg’s rhythmic patterns and leave enough space and time for his comrades to improvise.
The fusionist pieces invest in acrobatic interplay and lack strong melodic themes or cohesive structures. Lundberg’s other pieces work better. The most impressive one, «Doggrose», with the delicate guitar work of Pettersen and the rare, light and hypnotic percussive touches of Lundberg, offer a suggestive, sensual soundscape. «Bulkemispel» and «Sølvmure» pay their respects to the seminal guitar work of Ry Cooder, but later slide into fusionist clichés.
Stian Lundberg (dr), Vegard L. Bjerkan (keys), Alexander Pettersen (g, lap-steel), Bjørn Marius Hegge (el.b), Kyrre Laastad (perc)