Norwegian fiddler-composer Hans P. Kjorstad tells the histories and stories of our planet from its geological, tectonic and atmospheric defining events on «Avkjølingshistorie» (in Norwegian: A Story of Cooling). This philosophical-mystical-poetic composition attempts to draw the listener into strange and abstract but still vaguely recognizable and quite vivid sonic images where one can get a look at mass extinctions, prehistoric animals who play in the waters and on land, how humans collaborate with each other, and how we eventually end up in our own mechanical age.
Kjorstad is known from Frode Haltli Avant Folk, Andreas Røysum Ensemble and his collaboration with Alasdair Roberts. He devised «Avkjølingshistorie» with specific eleven musicians in a special ad-hoc, cross-generational ensemble of some of the most individual voices in the Oslo’s scene, each one had a unique arsenal of extended techniques, a personal sonic palette and an impact on how these suggestive historical stories about the forces of nature and their interactions with the living organisms were sounded. Kjorstad stressed that these sonic stories are meant to trigger the listener’s imagination. The composition was recorded in Gamle Raadhus in Oslo in April 2021. Kjorstad designed the printed, hand-painted woodcut cover art of the limited edition of 100 vinyl of the album.
«Avkjølingshistorie» reflects Kjorstad’s interests in genre-bending textures that encompass elements from traditional Norwegian folk music, free-improvised music, baroque and contemporary expressions. He created a suite of nine highly delicate, resonating, and layered drone pieces, all introducing a feeling that the listener stands on a shaking ground, and with every move of the ground more historical layers and exposed, and each one tells its own distinct and mysterious story. The dramatic, defining events are obviously intense and unsettling and the tension that leads to these events is almost tangible in their presence. But Avkjølingshistorie is far from being apocalyptic in its spirits. The employment of bird flutes by almost all the ensemble’s musicians symbolizes the planet’s forces of renewal and rejuvenation and serves as an instrument for finding a communal, unifying harmony. The sudden end of this contemplative suite acts as a waking call that more is needed to be done for the sake of the planet.
Hans P. Kjorstad (vio), Ole-Henrik Moe (viola, bird fl), Inga Margrete Aas (viola da gamba, obj, bird fl), John Andrew Wilhite-Hannisdal (b, bird fl), Eivind Lønning (tp, bird fl), Marthe Lea (s, water jar), Andreas Hoem Røysum (cl, bird fl), Rolf-Erik Nystrøm (s), Fredrik Rasten (g, water jar, obj, bird fl), Anja Lauvdal (just tuned harmonium, p. obj), Michaela Antalova (perc)