The Single Vinyl is the first edition pressing of 500. Includes CD.
The 2LP version is limited to 300 copies, includes a Live Album featuring young Sax giant Jon Irabagon.
‘The Last Hurrah!! have seduced me – the bastards!’ – The Wire. A song begins at the beginning, goes on to the end and then stops. A chant is about aligning yourself with the rhythms of the universe. The goal of The Last Hurrah!! is to create songs that slot into a cosmic pattern – no beginning, no end, just a steady flow of eternal ecstasy. The Last Hurrah!! is the project of Norwegian guitarist HP Gundersen plus a jamboree of international players and singers. Based in Bergen in western Norway, Gundersen has a long history in Norwegian music and beyond.
As a producer he discovered and nurtured the career of Sondre Lerche, one of Norway’s most successful international exports. He has also produced over 50 albums including Madrugada and Ane Brun. An encounter with a Gambian kora-playing folk musician a few years ago was life-altering and, in his own words, took him to a new level of musical understanding. Afterwards he would sit with his guitar and play the same chord for hours, lost in a sonic whirl that induced deep meditation or even sleep.
He disciplined himself to stay on one note, but found that it finally made him hear the note for the first time. ‘I shed twenty years of rust,’ he says. In 2011, his cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ on the free Mojo tribute CD Return To The Dark Side Of The Moon drew high praise from readers. His previous album, Spiritual Non-Believers, was voted album of the year in VG, Norway’s most popular newspaper; The Wire called it ‘maddeningly well executed’. HP Gundersen grew up in the 1960s, tuning in to European radio stations and having his mind blown by the sparkling melodies of the decade’s pop music, like The Byrds and The Beatles.
Notably, these two groups were among the first to absorb Eastern influences, as Gundersen has done in The Last Hurrah!!. Chinese guzheng (zither) resonates with pastoral flutes, Hawaiian guitars and the plangent tones of the Scandianvian Hardanger fiddle. Listening to the repetitive pluckings of the opener, ‘The Rush’, you can’t help but think of Steve Reich’s solo guitar trance-out Electric Counterpoint; elsewhere you’ll hear echoes of Don Cherry’s multicultural visions, the soaring harmonies of Rubber Soul-era Beatles, and the magical open tunings of folk-rockers like David Crosby and Stephen Stills and Davy Graham.
Country music meets raga meets psychedelic sugar rush. For Gundersen, the concept of universal music is a truth older than entertainment. Jamming on one chord is a highly democratic way of music making: anyone can take part. And they do: a dozen extra musicians are involved on various tracks, including jazz trained vocalist and long-time collaborator Heidi Goodbye, and the remarkable guzheng (zither) played by Yuyue Zheng.
There’s even an appearance from US saxophonist Jon Irabagon, leader of tumultuous ensemble Mostly Other People Do The Killing. Paradoxically, being restricted to a one-chord drone opens the music up wider than ever. ‘You don’t have to be an Arabian to play Arabian scales,’ Gundersen says. ‘It’s Norwegian music.’ The beauty of this ‘fake’ is that it turns out to be the real thing.
The Last Hurrah!!: their goal’s beyond…
Personnel HP Gundersen – guitars, synth, piano, Heidi Goodbye – vocals, Ivar Thormodsæter – drums, percussion, Yuyue Zheng – guzheng, Esau Pinto – bass, Alex Grieg – acoustic bass, Silje Solberg – flute, Hardanger fiddle, Daniel Birkeland – slide bass, Leslie guitar, Jon Irabagon – saxophone, Jørgen Sandvik – electric guitar, Viktoria Winge, Johanna Vatne – backing vocals
1. The Rush
2. Lonely Whistle Call
3. The Trip
4. In India
5. Harem for Tourists
6. In Japan
7. High in Hawaii
8. Where Am I Now