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Moster - States of Minds

  by Keith How

published: 13 / 10 / 2018

Moster - States of Minds
Label: Hubro Music
Format: CD


First-rate double album from Norwegian supergroup Moster which crosses the boundaries of progressive rock, jazz, free form improvisation and electronica

Wow! Where to start? Hubro once again state the case for Norway leading the world in the 21st century progressive jazz genre. On 'States of Minds' the legendary Kjetil Moster has put together a supergroup consisting of some of Norway’s finest players to construct this awesome sprawling double album that is quite staggering in its breadth and vision. The album opens with 'Brainwave Entrainment', which is a masterful twenty minute excursion into the outer realms of the jazz universe. To be fair this is hardly jazz. Bubbling electronics reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s 'Time' allow spacey atmospherics and saxophone to improvise before at about six minutes a massive riff breaks in like an express train that then fades away into a mysterious soundscape. This opener alone is a totally stunning creation crossing the boundaries of progressive rock, jazz, free form improvisation and electronica. 'Unhorsed by Chivalry' follows. Any doubts that the album might not live up to the opening promise are immediately dispelled. Echoes of 'Bitches Brew' are hinted at with some lovely fretwork from Magnus Ryan before the band take it away with a hot groove as Kjetil Moster’s sax weaves and intertwines with the guitar and some remarkable drumming. Intense stuff! 'Plate Sized Eyes' offers a gentle interlude. At just over a minute long it offers a hint of lost delta blues, before the brooding 'Mystere' leads into the last cut on the first album. Electric guitar and drums inspire a maelstrom of intensity as the musicians seemingly let their hair down in a white hot jam. This brings to a close the first disc, which is a truly stunning, boundary-crossing creation that defies comparison. Having said that obvious influences often raise their heads such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and maybe James 'Blood' Ulmer, but this is clearly Kjetil Moster’s vision. The second disc opens with a journey into inner space.'Life Wobble' begins in drone-like fashion, leisurely exploring different sonic possibilities. At twenty-two minutes long it is a brave way to open your second disc on a double album. 'Life Wobble' flows gently along leaving space for each band member to contribute something to the work. The minimal feel is effortless and intriguing. Strange electronic textures trade places with percussion, guitar and saxophone as the track evolves into a cosmic soundscape. 'Phantom Bandotron' is the most melodic composition on the album featuring Moster on saxophone. Once again hints and traces of classic progressive jazz and rock echo through the playing while never overtaking the originality of what is created. The band descend into the realms of the avant-garde after the sensitive feeling of 'Phantom Bandatron'. 'Sounds like a Planet' is a carefully constructed abstract piece full of industrial and experimental textures that slowly reveal a rhythmic beat before a sudden stop. A track that could have been a difficult listen, it is so cleverly arranged that you are never bored. 'Mon Plaisir' is gorgeous. A gentle guitar-led track that is simple yet effective. Full of atmosphere and harmony, it also allows a time to catch your breath. The album bows out with another excursion into free jazz territory as the band take on the pulsating 'What a Flop Waking Up', upon which electric warped delta blues guitar swirls around the throbbing bass and mutated soundscape. 'States of Minds' is a beautifully curated double album. Truly progressive in every sense of the word, it is a spirited and adventurous creation. It is a staggering achievement.

Track Listing:-
1 Brainwave Entrainment
2 Unhorsed by Chivalry
3 Plate Sized Eyes
4 Mystère
5 Bow Shock
6 Life Wobble
7 Phantom Bandotron
8 Sounds Like a Planet
9 Mon Plaisir
10 What a Flop Waking Up

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