Frode Gjerstad, Paal Nilssen-Love and Kalle Moberg represent three generations of Norwegian free improvisers, who keep collaborating with each other. Reeds player Gjerstad and drummer Nilssen-Love have been playing together for more than thirty years, in Gjerstad’s Trio and Circulasione Total Orchestra and as a duo. Accordionist Moberg has become a steady and important voice of Nilssen-Love’s Large Unit and Circus sound. But Time Sound Shape suggests a totally different aesthetics of the urgent and powerful music each of these gifted improvisers played together before.
Time Sound Shape was recorded at Gamle Aker Kirke in Oslo in May 2021, after about a year that the three musicians did not play because of the Covid-19 Lockdowns. Nilssen-Love does not play any drums and has a set-up of seven Paiste gongs, prepared and played with objects like styrofoam, ping-pong balls, and sheets of paper; Gjerstad (who also did the recording, mixing and mastering) plays more on the alto flute than his usual clarinet and alto sax, and Moberg plays his accordion as if it was a church organ. The space of the 900-year-old church from the Middle Ages plays an important role in this recording.
The timing, location and spacious, reverberating atmosphere as well as unique instrumentation make the aptly titled, 49-minute Time Sound Shape an exceptional chapter in the rich discographies and Gjerstad, Nilssen-Love and also of the relatively short one of Moberg. The music develops slowly and in a delicate and thoughtful manner and sounds like a transparent, chamber piece. Nilssen-Love’s quietly vibrating gongs add an otherworldly touch to it, but gently his perfectly timed gongs take a more decisive role and introduce subtle tension and intensity. Then, Nilssen-Love, Gjerstad, who switched the alto flute for the clarinet and the alto sax, and Moberg play a dramatic, soulful and sometimes even explosive improvisation, like a spiritual ritual aiming to drive away the unsettling, stressful times of the pandemic.
Surprising and inspiring.
Frode Gjerstad (as, altofl, Bb cl), Kalle Moberg (acc), Paal Nilssen-Love (Paiste gongs)