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På skive



Norwegian bassist Magnus Skavhaug Nergaard is known for his playing in such left-off-center bands as Ich Bin N!ntendo, Monkey Plot and Delish. But he is also an in-demand producer and recording technician who has recorded and mixed albums for Motvind Records, SOFA, Wandelweiser and Astral Spirits, owns the Flerbruket arts center and studio with partner Natali Abrahamsen Garner, but, maybe, most of all, an inventive and adventurous sound researcher. His debut solo album Hibernacle is described by him as «hi-fi meets low-fi outsider art-rock with rural beats and primitive noise record», and was conceived between November 2019 and February 2022.

The creation of Hibernacle began when Nergaard found a sheet of paper with a series of numbers that someone had lost in the Botanical Garden on Tøyen. When he searched for the number series online, the first thing that appeared was astronomical coordinates from The Air Almanac, calculated for nautical navigation. Nergaard converted the numbers into letters using the periodic table, the letters CNeLiHeArBScBCHeBeH appeared, then typed these letters into a Scrabble word generator, and the word «Hibernacle» came up (the generator had only used the first 10 letters and discarded the rest.

Hibernacle features eight improvised and composed around recordings of Nergaard’s initial explorations of a malfunctioning Korg X911 guitar synthesizer, a Norwegian-made acoustic guitar from the 60s, his grandfather’s fiddle, a Roland CR- 68 drum machine and an SP-404 sampler. Nergaard also plays double bass, electric bass, electric and acoustic guitars, drums, piano, electric piano, and electronics. He experimented with non-traditional microphone techniques and other inventive playing techniques to discover and layer fascinating sound phenomena and suggest his highly personal sonic microcosm. He is enjoying contributions by drummers  Dag Erik Knedal Andersen, Jan Martin Gismervik (who collaborated with Nergaard in Monkey Plot, Karokh and Torg) and Hans Hulbækmo.

Each piece tells its own distinct and eccentric story or colors its own kaleidoscopic canvas. «Antenna» with its restless, heavily processed layers of insistent pulses; «TV-ornament» and «Ordinary Blurry» suggest twised yet sensual pulses, improvised on a CR-68 drum machine and electric guitar; «All of a Sudden» matches brilliantly Dag Erik Knedal Andersen’s hyperactive drumming with Nergaard’s playing a defective and self-oscillating guitar synth fed with feedback, drum machines and noise; The eclectic yet cinematic «Flutter at The Farmhouse» is constructed of a messy electric bass outbursts recorded in a blasted talkback channel and an iPhone recording of Hulbækmo; «Vehicles» rides on improvised repetitive and cyclical pulses  made on SP-404 sampler and acoustic guitar; The title piece is another cinematic piece, but a darker and unsettling one and «creeps forward like a beaver along the riverbank in a misty moorland, only lit by the occasional star and perhaps a satellite»; and the last piece, the mysterious «Dreams» balances a nervous guitar strumming and peaceful sounds of mechanical rain. A fine conclusion to a unique album that makes us think, imagine, feel and see.

Eyal Hareuveni

Magnus Skavhaug Nergaard (double bass, electric bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, fiddle, electronics, sampler, drum machine, drums, percussion, piano, electric piano), Dag Erik Knedal Andersen (drums, percussion), Jan Martin Gismervik (drums, percussion), Hans Hulbækmo (drums, percussion) 

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