Interview, Music

‘Primitiv gitar’, solo album by Hans Martin Storrøsten

Photo: Ida Muren

Hans Martin Storrøsten released his solo album ‘Primitiv gitar’ on August 18th! Previously he released albums with among others Bare fjas og blågras, Stoll, Netland/Storrøsten duo, but ‘Primitiv gitar’ is his first album under his own name. The music on the album consists of material written by Storrøsten, as well as his interpretations of traditional tunes from Folldal, his hometown where he returned this summer after 12 years in Trondheim

Read the interview with the musician about his inspiration by American primitive guitar music, Folldal’ traditional fiddle tunes and what guitar techniques were used while working on the album.

How has returning to your hometown affected you as a musician?

It’s been just a couple months since moving back, so it’s difficult to say as of yet. But I hope, and think, being close to nature and the mountains will be a source of inspiration. Rural living also encourages one to be proactive for stuff to happen, so I would imagine that having some effect on my musical activities.

What is so fascinating about American primitive guitar music for you? Could you name some musicians that inspired you most

When music feels familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, I’m often intrigued. American primitive guitar has exactly that, it combines the sounds and playing styles from country, blues and bluegrass, music that is well known to me. But it also has a sense of exploring more the more experimental sides of music, especially when it comes to structure, form and sometimes tonality. A huge inspiration for me in the last few years has been John Fahey, considered to be the founder of the American primitive guitar style. I also love players like Leo Kottke and Bert Jansch, as well as more current artists today like Jim O’Rourke, William Tyler, Marisa Anderson and Gwenifer Raymond. 

The music on the album consists of your own material, as well as traditional tunes from Folldal – slåttar. Could you tell me about the last ones?

There’s four songs on the album which are based on traditional fiddle tunes, called slåtter, from my hometown. I’ve arranged these tunes for the acoustic guitar guitar, and they’re being used as a frame work for some longer compositions. My goal was to present them in a way that both carries the original feel of the tune, as well as bringing in some different elements of my own. Fiddle tunes / slåtter like these are so incredibly rich in details, and it’s very interesting to explore the opportunities and challenges one meets when translating these for guitar.

If we talk about your own compositions, was there any specific technique that was especially interesting to explore and develop while working on this album?

All songs on the album are being played in an open tuning on the guitar. I think that has been the main guide when composing these tunes. Tuning the guitar in different ways brings out different harmonics and sounds in the instrument, it forces me as a musician to respond to the instrument in a new way, and in turn that has an impact on the compositional process. 

You have a release concert on Friday 18.08 at Gruvekroa in Folldal. Do you have more concert dates this year?

Just a couple more solo gigs planned this fall as of yet. I’m playing support for a great artist, Anne Linn Schärer, at Trykkeriet in Trondheim on September 1st and Kvikne September 2nd. Also I’m touring a few weeks with my band Bare Fjas og Blågras later this fall. 

‘Primitiv gitar’
Recorded at Øra Studio by Kyrre Laastad
Mix: Kyrre Laastad
Mastering: Øra Mastering, Karl Klaseie

Listen to the album and get your copy on vinyl here: