Dunes at Night is the third album (and the first for the Hubro Music label) of young Norwegian guitarist-composer guitarist Morten Georg Gismervik and offers his hybrid musical vision that matches familiar, lyrical Nordic jazz with more dramatic elements drawn from prog-rock and metal. Gismervik says that he wanted this album to mirror a cinematic experience, and to «be able to tell a story the way a movie does, while simultaneously maintaining the strength of the indescribable feelings and moods that are unique to music… where the music gives the listener just a glimpse of the characters the story follows, what the action is, and how the characters in this piece change during the short hour the listener spends with the album».
Gismervik plays on electric guitars and is accompanied by a core quartet featuring pianist Harsha Jerome, bassist Torger Forsberg and drummer-percussionist Sigurd Drogset Hemmingsen. Gismervik’s guitar tone owes much to the seminal influence of Terje Rypdal throughout his career, from the atmospheric ECM album and the seductive grooves of The Chasers, but he mentions also the prog-metal band Dream Theater and Jan Garbarek, Marius Neset and Tord Gustavsen as formative influences. And it is clear that Gismervik focuses on suggesting complex and nuanced instrumental stories, as the four-parts «Kimri Theme» tells about the fictional Kimri who wants to change the world around him but also allows the world to make an impression on him.
Few compositions in Dunes at Night stand out. The lyrical and impressionist «Demfen» with beautiful solos of trumpeter Anders Skjerdal and double bass player Håkon Huldt-Nystrøm; The slow-burning dramatic story of «I’m In» with pianist-synth player Øystein Folkedal and cellist Ellen-Martine Gismervik, and the last, seductive melody and story of «I Was Greeted by Winter» that cements the influence of ECM school of Nordic jazz on Gismervik.
Sigurd Drogset Hemmingsen (drums, glockenspiel), Torger Forsberg (electric bass), Harsha Jerome (piano), Morten Georg Gismervik (electric guitars), Anders Skjerdal (trumpet), Håkon Huldt-Nystrøm (double bass), Øystein Folkedal (piano, synthesizer), Ellen-Martine Gismervik (cello)