Review – Bjørn Riis – A Fleeting Glimpse

Just when Karisma Records were about to release Airbag co-founder, songwriter and lead guitarist Bjørn Riis‘ fourth solo album, ‘Everything to Everyone’, he approached them with an idea for a new mini album. With ‘A Fleeting Glimpse’, Bjørn Riis has let his inspiration from Pink Floyd really come forth.

In addition to Bjørn Riis on vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards, the album features Arild Brøter (Pymlico), Øyvind Brøter (Pymlico), Per Øydir, Durga McBroom and Mimmi Tamba.

I’ve never hidden the fact that I am a huge fan of Bjørn Riis and he has never hidden the fact that his biggest influence has been Pink Floyd so a new mini album where that influence is free to run wild is definitely going to be up my street and, after declaring ‘Everything to Everyone’ to be his best solo release yet, my appetite was well and truly whet!

I’ll just put this out there, this mini album is absolutely marvellous but too short! Four songs that are of this high a quality is just not enough! Joking apart, let’s dig a bit deeper…

Dark Shadows (part 1) is reflective and melancholy and features the amazing vocal talent of long time Pink Floyd collaborator from the 80’s and 90’s, Durga McBroom, who adds her undoubted class alongside Bjørn’s voice. There’s a hazy feel to the music and Durga’s beautiful voice just adds to the thoughtful, mournful air. The track has a proper feel of 80’s Floyd to it, the stadium filling mega-band with an arena filling sound and Bjørn’s soulful, sultry guitar just adds sheer class. Instrumental, A Voyage To The Sun, has a real feel of early, ‘Astronomy Domine’, Floyd to it, all moody and experimental, with spooky synthesisers and an ominous overtone. It’s actually deliciously dark and creepy and the guitar almost adds some menace to proceedings with its angular, almost harsh, tone, calling forth thoughts of Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun to this mind. I’m loving its brash, in your face attitude that’s interspersed with more reflective and mysterious moments, clever stuff!

The music of Summer Meadows invokes just that, hazy summer days, meandering streams, fields of flowers and a wonderfully peaceful feeling. There’s an innocence and beauty right at its core that just lights up your soul and takes the weight of the world of your shoulders, a simply stunning piece of music and I love it. The final track on this mini album is Dark Shadows (part 2) and a return to the reflections of the opening song. There’s a slightly ominous undertone to the opening, a cryptic and enigmatic quality to the music and vocals, as if waiting for something momentous to happen. Bjørn’s jagged, coruscating guitar then cuts through the atmosphere with a gloriously sparse and simple note, a cry out to the dark from the shadows, it’s eerily brilliant in its execution and then Durga’s plaintive vocal joins in to the close out the song in true Floyd style.

Bjørn once again hits the heights with superb, emotive, wistful and nostalgic music that just hits you right in the feels. There isn’t a guitarist alive who plays with so much expression, his guitar seems to have a life, and voice, of its own and is instantly recognisable and makes this release, mini album or not, one of the best of the year so far.

Released 30th September, 2022.

Order from Burning Shed here:

A Fleeting Glimpse (burningshed.com)

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