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MØSTER!

«States Of Minds»
HUBRO, HUBROCD2577

Møster! Is the main musical vehicle of Norwegian sax master Kjetil Møster since his musical studies in the mid-nineties at the Trondheim Musikkonservatorium and «States Of Minds» is his most ambitious project of this restless and versatile musician. Today’s version of Møster! is a kind of Norwegian supergroup, featuring Motorpsychos guitarist Hans Magnus Ryan, aka Snah, ex-Motorpsycho and Grand General drummer Kenneth Kapstad, electric bass player Nikolai Hængsle, known from the groups Elephant 9 and Needlepoint, and legendary studio-boffin Jorgen Træen, who also acts as engineer, as on previous recordings of Møster!, on modular synths and lap steel guitar.

The double-album format of «States Of Minds», the fourth album of Møster! since 2013, allows Møster to offer a colorful sonic vision that encompasses harmolodic funk with space-prog-rock of old-school synths, futuristic electronica with hypnotic, gutbucket blues and tons of passionate, free-form jam rock mixed with intense, spontaneous improvisations. The music, written by Møster in cooperation of his musicians, pays its respects to many seminal legacies and innovative heroes but is not indebted to any specific genre or style. Møster! melts all into its own kind of lab, making the best of its cast of risk-taking, mad sonic scientists.

The two albums are opened with extended, twenty plus minutes compositions. The first one, «Brainwave Entertainment» suggests the adventurous course, a fearless journey in topographic, raging oceans, close encounters with mythic creatures and trance-inducing, jungle music. Møster! sounds as a muscular, hybrid version of the rhythm section of Grateful Dead mixed with the infinite tons of keyboards, plugs and cables of Tangerine Dream and led by a mysterious contender of Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time legacy, and all are deserted in a faraway Arctic scenery. After our brain-waves were massaged to the right frequencies we can enjoy the next chapters of this rambunctious journey: check some explosive-harmolodic bluesy riffs on «Unhorsed by Chivalry»; slide into the vast plains of imaginary Paris, Texas on «Plate Sized Eyes»; trip into faraway galaxies with the infectious, caressing pulse of «Mystère» and heading back to planet Earth on «Bow Shock», circling all the way in wild, funky roundabouts, Yes-style, but equipped with generous doses of steroids.

The second album opens with a series cryptic, lyrical transmissions, collected on «Life Wobble». Møster’s sax sound as the only stable, emotional anchor in these stormy waves of electronic blips and clicks and other noises, hovering above the coming and going storms, as if to assure all that he knows the way to a safe haven. And the journey reaches breezy and shiny shores on «Phantom Bandotron» but «Sounds Like a Planet» hints that this long and winding journey is not over yet. «Mon Plaisir» one of the most effective blues statements here, James ‘Blood’ Ulmer-tinged, and is also one of the most emotional statements of Møster!, full of captivating passion and power. Apparently, all these sonic adventures were – maybe – ours or Møster!, figments of imagination, as the last, schizophrenic wake-up call, «What a Flop Waking Up» tells us.

But what a journey it was. Pushing many histories, liftimes and couple of planets and galaxies into eighty-plus minutes. Nothing to complain about.

Eyal Hareuveni

Kjetil Møster (s, cl, elec, perc, dr), Hans Magnus Ryan (g, elec), Jørgen Træen (modular synth, lap steel g); Nikolai Hængsle (b, elec), Kenneth Kapstad (dr)