The best way to describe Moster, is a Norwegian supergroup. Moster were founded by Bushman’s Revenge saxophonist and bandleader Kjetil Møster in 2010. He brought onboard some of the most talented Norwegian musicians of their generation. This included Motorpsycho and Grand Central drummer Kenneth Kapstad. He was joined by two members of Elephant9, keyboardist Ståle Storløkken and bassist Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen, whose also a member of Big Bang. They made their debut at the Kongsberg Jazz Festival in 2010. Three years later, Moster released their long awaited debut album.
Moster released their debut album Edvard Lygre Møster, on Hubro Music, in March 2013. It was released to widespread critical acclaim. Critics called Edvard Lygre Møster one of the best jazz albums of 2013. At the end of 2013, Edvard Lygre Møster was hailed as one of the top 5 debut albums of 2013. It also found its way into New York City Jazz Records’ top ten jazz albums. Then when Prog Magazine published its list of the best albums of 2013, Edvard Lygre Møster was at number six. This was just the start of the Moster story.
Eagerly, critics and music lovers awaited Moster’s next move. The next hurdle they had to overcome was their sophomore album, or what’s often referred to as “the difficult second album.” That’s not the case for Moster. They go from strength to strength.
Moster’s sophomore album is Inner Earth, which will be released by Hubro Music on 20th October 2014. It sees a slightly different lineup of Moster, pickup where they left off on Edvard Lygre Møster.
For the recording of Inner Earth, saxophonist Kjetil Møster is joined by a rhythm section of drummer Kenneth Kapstad and bassist Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen. A new face is Motorpsycho guitarist Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan. This was the lineup of Moster that wrote and recorded Inner Earth.
Inner Earth has six tracks. The first four songs are part of a movement entitled Descending Into This Crater. Written by Moster and recordist Jørgen Træen, this is Inner Earth’s Magnus Opus. Moster wrote Tearatorn and Underworld Risk, the other two tracks. These tracks were recorded at two sessions.
The first recording session at Super Duper Studio between January 11th and 12th 2014. A month later, Moster reconvened at Super Duper Studio on February 24th and recorded right through to the 27th February 2014. That marked the end of the recording of Inner Earth. It was then mastered at Grotten on 30th May 2014, Jørgen Træen. Since then, Kjetil Møster has had a busy summer.
Summer for most musicians, means festival time. That’s the case with Kjetil Møster. He’s spent the long hot summer touring with artists such as Röyksopp/Robyn and Lars Vaular. Now the summer is all but a distant memory, and it’s time for Moster to release their sophomore album, Inner Earth, which I’ll tell you about.
Opening Inner Earth is the first part of Descending Into This Crater, Poutanian Debate. Straight away, it takes on a dark ominous sound. Elements of free jazz and rock combine with avant garde and experimental. Moster have your attention. They’re playing is unfettered. Washes of music assail you. Scrabbling, buzzing, braying, pounding and howling describes this musical melange. So does futuristic, otherworldly and dramatic. It’s a glorious and innovative sound.
This continues on Central Sunrise. It’s another fusion of free jazz, rock, avant garde and experimental. Kjetil Møster’s grizzling, howling horn is at the heart of the arrangement. It’s aided and abetted by Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan’s guitar. His fingers flit up and down the fretboard, as he upon a voyage of exploration. He’s the perfect foil for Kjetil Møster’s saxophone. They drive each other to greater heights of innovation. Not to be outdone, drums rolls and fills are added. Later, the bass adds a contrast to the guitar. When all this is combined, the result is a cinematic, melodic and lysergic opus.
The sun hasn’t set yet though. Magma Movement continues where Central Sunrise left off. Washes and waves of music quiver and shiver. Ambient and atmospheric, it’s akin to a homage to Pink Floyd. Especially with crystalline guitars and pulsating, pounding drums. What follows is five minutes of musical perfection, where classic rock, psychedelia and prog rock unite with elements of smokey jazz. Stunning.
Mount Vesuvio closes the four part Descending Into This Crater movement. The tempo is slow, the music dramatic. That’s down to the slow, moody rhythm section, searing, riffing, scorching guitars and bursts of braying saxophone. Again, classic rock, psychedelia and prog rock unite. Add to that, elements of jazz, courtesy of the saxophone. Later, the arrangement heads in the direction of free jazz, as Moster take you on a magical mystery tour that closes their four part Magnus Opus Descending Into This Crater.
Moster aren’t a band to do things by halves. Tearatorn is a fourteen minute track. This suits their sound. It allows Moster to explore various musical genres. They toy with the listener, veering between avant garde, experimental and free jazz. Before long, jazzy licks are unleashed. The rhythm section are content to play along. Then Kjetil Møster’s saxophone signals that Moster are about to kick loose. Straight away, Moster become a tight unit. Their rhythm section unleash some glorious rock music. It’s a reminder of rock’s glory days. Hans’ wields his guitar like a magic wand, casting a spell on the listener. He’s allowed to take centre-stage, and casts up the spirit of Hendrix. Not to be outdone, Kjetil replies with a spellbinding saxophone solo. Drummer Kenneth confidently pounds the skins, as Kjetil enjoys a lengthy solo. After, that, Moster unite, and head as the track reaches a dramatic crescendo. In dong so, Moster demonstrate why they’re worthy of being referred to as a Norwegian supergroup.
Underworld Risk closes Inner Earth. A guitar scrabbles along, while mesmeric drums provide the backdrop. Brief bursts of rocky licks emerge. Then Hans’ guitar becomes coy. Not for long. It starts to show its delights. Kjetil adds bursts of blazing horns. Soon, Hans up the stakes. He showcases his virtuoso skills. Meanwhile, the rest of the rhythm section provide the heartbeat. As for Kjetil, he unleashes some machine gun riffs, courtesy of his trusty saxophone. After that, Moster unite. They’re determined to end Inner Earth on a high. They gallop along, combining free jazz, prog rock, psychedelia, and rock. There’s even a nod to Iron Maiden. However, Moster don’t run for the hills. Instead, they become a musical powerhouse, and drive Underworld Risk to its dramatic crescendo.
For some groups, sophomore albums present a problem. They’re often referred to as “the difficult second album.” That’s not the case with Inner Earth. It sees Moster surpass the efforts of Edvard Lygre Møster. This was the album that brought Moster to the attention to critics and music lovers. Inner Earth will reinforce Inner Earth’s reputation as an innovative and ambitious band, who have a big future ahead of them.
Stylistically, Inner Earth is very different from Edvard Lygre Møster. It was an album that was perceived as spontaneous, direct and fierce. Recorded live, Kjetil Møster remembers the band finding their sound on-stage. Fortunately, the show was being taped and was issued as Edvard Lygre Møster. Inner Earth which will be released by Hubro Music on 20th October 2014, is very different.
Earlier, I referred to Inner Earth as a musical journey. That’s the perfect description of Inner Earth. It’s a journey through avant garde, experimental, free jazz, jazz, prog rock, psychedelia and classic rock. Prog rock and psychedelia play prominent roles on Inner Earth. So does free jazz, on this compelling musical journey through Inner Earth.
This journey veers between slow, moody and broody, to dramatic and ferocious. Other times, it’s dreamy, futuristic, lysergic and otherworldly. Then sometimes, Inner Earth becomes cinematic and melodic, as slow washes of music shiver, shimmer and glimmer. Always though, Inner Earth is an ambitious and innovative, magical musical mystery tour through musical genres, with Norwegian supergroup Moster as your musical tour guides.