Bjørn Riis

Lullabies in a Car Crash

Written by: BV on 10/11/2014 16:29:27

For those unfamiliar with the work of Bjørn Riis, much can be said about him. For some, he might best be known as a driving force behind the Norwegian band Airbag, in which he plays guitar whilst others might be most familiar with his work on the website which aims to provide yearning guitarists everywhere with tutorials, tone tips and other useful info so they can be one step closer to sounding like one of the most revered guitar heroes out there – David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. With “Lullabies in a Car Crash”, Bjørn Riis debuts as a solo artist – drawing on influences such as Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd and many others whilst distilling them into his own, dream-like progressive visions.

Opening first with the sonic collage “A New Day”, the music really begins to take shape with the album’s first long runner in the form of “Stay Calm”. Clocking in at approximately ten minutes, it displays Riis’ affinity for the heavy and the subtle – a classic light/shade dynamic used by many others before him to great results. Managing a site like “”, it is really no surprise that Riis’ guitar tones share the same ethereal, haunting and delicate qualities as those of David Gilmour. However, instead of bordering on direct knock-offs of tone, Riis infuses heavier influences into the soundscape – bordering on progressive metal in several short passages, whilst also creating vast soundscapes a la Sigur Rós in the process. Pigeonholing Riis as a Floyd-worshipper might just be too simple, and too much of a cop-out, for this particular piece of work. Although I have yet to swoon over the vocals, the structure of this musical piece is impeccable due to its highly theatrical and dynamic nature. Climaxing around the 8-minute mark, the solo displayed at that point is borderline beautiful, at some points rivalling Gilmour himself.

“Lullaby in a Car Crash” touches on many of the same dynamics as “Stay Calm” and, to be honest, much of the album in general. It is a fully immersive experience which relies heavily on a linear approach to the listening experience. Although many of these tracks sound as beautiful as they do, they’re hardly suited for individual listening sessions – in that sense, Riis has crafted an album which stays true to the progressive spirit and, in related terms, the Floyd sound from ’71 and onwards. It is, to me, quite a welcome thing to hear a man like Riis sculpt these beautiful soundscapes where, although the guitar is dominant, there is still space for lush synths, organs and subtle, yet caressing drum rhythms and bass-lines – all being distilled into a highly cohesive and sublime musical production, complete with theatrical dynamics. I can only imagine what this must be like live, but I get the sense that I would be enveloped by the wall of sounds. This album is truly well done.


Download: Stay Calm, Lullaby in a Car Crash, The Chase
For The Fans Of: Airbag, Porcupine Tree, Sigur Rós

Release date 03.11.2014
Karisma Records

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