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For over 20 years, Erik Gundel has been finely tuning his craft as a musician. Focusing early on piano and then guitar, the influence of Beethoven’s piano sonatas and the guitar playing of Jimmy Hendrix were instrumental in his approach to music. Understanding that even the wildest of musicians are masters of restraint, Erik Gundel’s work has been a balance of those two seemingly contradictory elements.
His first solo release, EP Gundel, was recorded prior to joining prog-folk quintet Motel Motel, though released after the fact. A bedroom record mostly constructed on the computer with fractions of samples (similar to the style of Fennesz), the early EP was a highly ambitious first look into Gundel’s musical vision. Mixing ambient electronic soundscapes with adventurous pop songs, the results led music blog Song by Toad to say “…it’s definitely one of the most engaging things I’ve heard in ages.”
For Gundel’s second EP, Gytare Lyre, he mostly abandoned vocals and the computer for a collection of songs utilizing the combination of acoustic guitar and loops. While in many ways different from his debut, Gytare Lyre explored the synthetic relationship between more classical acoustic instrumentation and electronics.
During the release of his first EPs, Gundel also focused much of his energy on Motel Motel, contributing a key ingredient to the band’s epic 2010 sophomore full length, Big Island.
In 2011, Motel Motel went on indefinite hiatus, allowing Erik Gundel to re-focus his energy to his solo recordings. Signing with young label Mecca Lecca, Gundel shared 3 song EP, You Brought Joy. You Brought Joy mostly returned back to the sounds of his first EP, though also injecting it with a more refined technique and appreciate for Timbaland’s production style.
Following You Brought Joy, Gundel re-focused his energy on the acoustic guitar, laying down the groundwork for his most focused work yet, A Home To Keep You. Crafted around fluttering finger-picked strings of an acoustic, A Home To Keep You is also layered with piano, pedal steel, banjo, and trumpet. Restrained and yet abundant with meticulous detail, each listen brings light to new elements adding to the richness of the recording.