Stereotomy (Greek: στερεός (stereós) "solid" and τομή (tomē) "cut ") is the set of geometrical knowledge and techniques of cutting the blocks of stone to specified forms and dimensions.
This admirable and uplifting album resulted from a one-day live session, following a one-day rehearsal. Guitarist (and eponymous bandleader) Øyvind Nypan: “The charts were handed to the musicians as they arrived at the recording studio…we wanted everyone to have an open mind before we started to play. Everything is live, there are no overdubs”.
The sound of Øyvind’s guitar is rich and reassuring; it permeates perfectly. He plays with an effortless agility and in the best jazz tradition has produced an album consisting of a set of pure and uncluttered original compositions. They are bookended by the brand new opener, Heavy Hangs The Head which is a regal, imposing tango written the day before the studio session and the closing track, This Old Thing, an energetic blues with a theme written by Øyvind during his time as a student in the 90’s.
Don’t Mind If I Do opens with a bass riff by the constantly rewarding playing of Egil Kalman that is then doubled by virtuoso pianist Bernt Moen. This leads to an attractive contemporary jazz theme and super solos by Øyvind and Bernt. Piece For Peace is a mega-charming ballad which Øyvind describes as: “a gentle thought, hoping that people will find love in their hearts and no hate”. It concludes with a heart-wrenching cadenza by Bernt.
Resignated Driver, is described by Øyvind as having “a McCoy Tyner/Elvin Jones kind of feel”. The track features riveting piano and guitar solos and showcases the delightfully dynamic drumming of Ole Mofjell. The piano-less ballad Just For The Record provides mid-album breathing space, another beautiful ballad.
The Big Rumble Tumble opens with an intriguing guitar riff over ostinato piano and bass. It develops to reveal an explosive solo by Bernt, a show-stopping modernistic solo that flows into a driving medium swing tempo for Øyvind’s solo. The album’s third ballad is Paris, a track written by Øyvind on his return to Paris following the terror attacks in 2015.
Rarely have electric guitar and acoustic piano blended so well. The bands’ interplay fits like a tailored coat. The album is all-encompassing, you get sweet and mellow, you get muscle and weight. Stereotomic is an album for all seasons.