Photo: Darja Štravs Tisu
Fredrik Kinbom is a Swedish lap steel player/multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter based in Berlin. Since first picking up the lap steel in 2005, his original style and sound has led to recording and/or international touring with acclaimed acts like Gemma Ray, Gurrumul, Alberta Cross, Moulettes and Ned Collette. His second solo album with the lap steel in focus, Oil (Capstan Records, 2014), received much critical praise. He has contributed as a co-writer to albums by Sarah Blasko and Gemma Ray, and has since Oil released two albums with his theatrical side project Kinbom & Kessner (featuring a stellar cast of guests like James Williamson (Iggy & The Stooges) and members of Moulettes, Hazmat Modine and Augie March).
Fredrik Kinbom mainly plays the lap steel slide guitar, but the way he plays it sounds nothing like the Hawaiian, blues or country sound most people would associate with the lap steel. He really creates his own sonic universe.
In 2019 Fredrik Kinbom started the collaboration Kinbom/Brandenburg with composer/pianist Hans-Jörn Brandenburg (Robert Wilson, Tom Waits, Kronos Quartet), to compose and record instrumental music for film, TV and the stage. The duo's first TV soundtrack - for Jean Boué's documentary "Die Unerhörten" - was broadcast on German RBB Television in August 2019. The film won a Grimme Preis award in 2020.
Fredrik Kinbom's latest solo album Songs For Lap Steel And Harmonium was released by Sotones Records on 9 November 2018. Fredrik says about the new album:
"With Songs for Lap Steel and Harmonium I set out to write and record an album where the only instruments accompanying my voice are the lap steel guitar (acoustic and electric) and the harmonium, or pump organ. Both are instruments dear to my heart, and both are sort of on the garbage dump of history (as their respective heydays are long gone). But my music does not look to the past. Nor does it interest me to play the kind of music these instruments are mainly associated with, but rather to tap into their rich textures and combined expressive potential and create my own kind of soundscapes and songs."
Fredrik spent eight intensive months in his Berlin studio, surrounded by an array of lap steel guitars and three vintage harmoniums (the oldest being more than 110 years old, and the "newest" a US Army field organ from WWII), writing, exploring and recording. The result is a beautiful, cohesive piece of work and a highly original artistic statement.
Music blog Global Texan Chronicles - in addition to naming the song/video "Krumme Lanke" their "Number 1 Avant-garde Pick for 2019" - wrote of the album:
"Complicated and beautiful. A significant work of art that transcends what the formulaic pop landscapes have become, depthless. [The album] isn’t any ordinary folk-pop outing. ‘Songs for Lap Steel and Harmonium’ is more akin to an experimental and thought-provoking collection ready for the musical theatre.
"Unequivocally, this album is a timely, dark and beautiful collection that needs your undivided attention the first several times you explore its depths."
"Excellent." - BBC Radio 3 (Late Junction)
"Oil is amazing and Kinbom’s talent is extraordinary." - 4.5/5 stars - Renowned For Sound
"...an artist that has found a sound so unique and contemporary, that it belies comparison to stand on its own as a testament of Kinbom's artistic creativity. This is a must have." - Floorshime Zipper Boots
© Fredrik Kinbom, 2018. All rights reserved. Background photo: Jenny Fitz.