Bjørn Riis: Lullabies In A Car Crash

Airbag’s main composer swerves into the slow lane.

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Since Airbag never even tried to hide just how much Porcupine Tree and, especially, late-era Pink Floyd meant to them, it’s no wonder that when their main songwriter and guitarist Bjørn Riis decided to take advantage of their self-imposed hiatus (with frontman Asle Tostrup choosing to travel for a year), he naturally turned to David Gilmour’s solo work for inspiration.

Then again, what else could we expect from somebody who set up a website called Unsurprisingly, his solo debut isn’t that far of a stretch from Airbag’s two lysergic albums, especially with two of that band’s members (Tostrup and drummer Henrik Fossum) in tow. While some of these six songs are quite epic in scope (the title track weighs in at over 13 minutes), as with Riis’ main outfit, he’s all about slowly but surely building atmospheres and letting the guitars float freely in a decidedly crepuscular environment. This music verges on ambient territory at times, yet there’s something even more delicate and intimate at work here, beautifully underlined by Riis’ own veiled voice. On this album, he reaps the rewards of going for emotion over sterile, six‑string wizardry.