Leave it up to Norwegian wonder Sondre Lerche, who I’ve been personally touting for about seven or eight years, to mess around and record an album to avoid having idle hands during the wait to record his intended album. The story goes that in the process of recording his 2007 LP “Phantom Punch” (I’m assuming…), Sondre ran into some scheduling conflicts with that album’s producer that went on for about six months. With a head full of songs that he probably didn’t have plans to record at that time initially, The Faces Down Quartet ready to go, a studio available–Duper Studio, and some soulful inspiration to guide him, he popped out “Duper Sessions”, and accidentally entered the Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz Albums Chart at #5. Whoopsy-daisy!
Sondre kind of refuses to label it a jazz record because he doesn’t feel like he followed the established rules of the art form to produce the music, but because I lack the knowledge of any music genres that sound exactly like jazz but isn’t actually jazz, we’re going to call it jazz record. A sexy, smokey room, den of sin, jazz record. There are a few covers like “Human Hands” from Elvis Costello (which also made it onto the DAN IN REAL LIFE soundtrack) and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day”, but a majority of the songs are all him, and despite Sondre’s insecurities about labeling it, you could slide this baby right into the jazz section of your music library it would be welcomed with open arms. In fact, the other jazz albums would probably buy it a Manhattan or something to properly welcome it to the neighborhood.
I didn’t choose to write about this album first (I will get around to all of them because I’ve become that fan) because it’s my favorite of his. It’s not, though a few of my favorite songs of his have come from it. I chose it because of the circumstances it was recorded under and its position in his catalog. “Duper Sessions” follows “Two Way Monologue” which was, up to that point, a tried and true Sondre-sounding release in the sense that it’s a plucky, loungey, croon-tastic pop album. The album succeeding it is “Phantom Punch”, which turned out to be a kinetic, balls-out rock record that at times sounded like it featured electric guitars being skinned alive by the teeth of the devil.
Okay, it’s not quite that serious, but the impact is pretty significant for his sound.
In October 2012, Sondre’s studio records, save for “Heartbeat Radio” for reasons I’m sure would just make me sad if I knew them, got a vinyl reissue, opening up the sound of all of his songs in ways only a record player could. For “Duper Sessions”, however, it nearly made it another album all together. The scratchy pop of vinyl’s imperfections and the natural warmth and richness that it carries put thousands of fireplaces out of work that holiday season. If you have to make a future decision about the format to buy this on, choose vinyl if possible. And if you already have it on CD or digitally, you too deserve a vinyl version.
And if you’re even further behind that and still haven’t made the decision to become a fan of Sondre yet, I’m honestly not sure about the direction you’ve chosen to take your life in.
You can find out more about Sondre by talking to me at any given time for an avalanche of unsolicited gushing, at his official website, or by following him on Twitter and throwing random Tweets at him to learn what kind of person he is from his responses. ***