Dust Breathing


Release date: December 11, 2020

Release concert: December 13, 2020 as a live stream on Vierlive.no from Duper Studio


Kjetil Møster: tenor and baritone saxophones, clarinet, electronics, percussion

Hans Magnus Ryan: electric guitar, electronics

Nikolai Hængsle: electric bass, electronics 

Kenneth Kapstad: drums, percussion 


All music initiated and organized by Kjetil Møster and

put into action by collective efforts of the band Møster!


Recorded by Christian Engfelt at Studio Paradiso, Oslo, January 20–24, 2020.

Mixed and mastered by Jørgen Træen at Grotten,
Bergen Kjøtt. 


This album is supported by Fond for Utøvende Kunstnere and by the Grieg Academy, Faculty of Fine Arts, Music and Design, University of Bergen 

Design: Aslak Gurholt (Yokoland)

Photo: Hamilton Maxwell, Bergen County, New Jersey 1920 




(p) & (c) Grappa Musikkforlag AS 2020 www.hubromusic.com info@hubromusic.com

All trademarks and logos are protected. All rights of the producer and of the owner of the work reproduced reserved. Unauthorized copying, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting of this record prohibited.


1. The Bonfire, The Sun (13:48)

2. Waistful Tendensities (3:26)

3. Ausculptation (4:11)

4. Organ of Bodies I: Blightness (4:27)

5. Organ of Bodies II: Tentactility (9:05)

6. Organ of Bodies III: Palpatience (5:58)






Following the release concert for States of Minds at Henie Onstad Art Centre in September 2018, we played nine live concerts during 2019. The concert repertoire consisted of older material mixed with some of the newly released. It did not make much sense to recreate all the new material as live concert versions since States of Minds to such an extent resulted from the possibilities offered by the studio's processing and editing tools. In our live concerts, a tune's main purpose is usually to function as a basis for interplay and improvisation. The compositions are starting points, and their individual modes and building blocks set the premises for the improvisations. The building blocks are usually cues or points of transition functioning as landmarks that we use to navigate during improvisations. These are well-known organizational strategies for extended improvisation within the jazz realm. 


In every concert, we played Brainwave Entrainment, also when Jørgen Træen was not with us to play the characterizing modular synthesizer which opens the album version. The live versions started with five to ten minutes of free improvisation, which often felt hesitant and without direction. It became clear that the general preference in the band was to improvise by means of concrete musical material, such as riffs, song structures, and rhythms. Even though a part of me wished we could explore the free improvisations more elaborately also in concerts, I believe it would be counterproductive to try to force it onto the group. I cannot see what would be "free" about that. The free improvisational method had worked well in the recording studio as a tool to extract new ideas and musical material, and it disclosed and magnified many sonic idiosyncrasies inherent in the band. It developed the band into a more coherent unit, both in sound and in process. However, in the recording studio, we had time to experiment for hours in search of the few magic parts, whereas the live concert situation demanded a different kind of consistency.


The States of Minds-sessions had changed the band's course, but I wanted this album to be an even further development and avoid applying the same work methods once more. The upcoming recording session also had different premises; it was scheduled with half the amount of studio days, and six months had passed since we last played together. Also, drummer Kenneth Kapstad had been preliminarily substituted by Olaf Olsen throughout 2019 due to other obligations. These factors added some pressure to the situation since we had a time frame of nine days to reassemble the band, learn and embody a new set of tunes and record them onto a new album.


To try to make the process efficient, I planned the preproduction around a live concert at a specific venue, hoping that it would help us reactivate our group knowledge. In Leuven, Belgium, Benny Vermeulen and Sara Franssens have run a concert series featuring stoner-, psychedelic, and heavy rock bands for close to twenty-five years under the name Orange Factory1. During the last decade, they discovered the rock-influenced prog-jazz bands associated with the labels Rune Grammofon and Hubro through their connection to Norwegian rock band Motorpsycho, in which Møster! guitar player Hans Magnus Ryan also plays. Orange Factory has increasingly let bands like Møster! seep into their programming to offer the audience an alternative version of the genres they normally present. The first time we played there was the day after we finished recording States of Minds, a concert that was extremely rewarding to the band as it contextualized the music perfectly and gave purpose and meaning to what we do. I scheduled the concert at Sojo as part of the preparations, two days prior to the recording of Dust Breathing, hoping the experience would bring a live concert perspective into the studio.


The live perspective felt crucial to prioritize in the process. The recent touring had shown us that States of Minds had left us with scarce material to embellish in concerts. The creative clog following When You Cut Into The Present (Hubro, 2015) had been cleared by the free improvisations and non-hierarchical organization of the States of Minds-sessions. It resulted in a repertoire of methods and musical possibilities, but I also wanted to translate the experiences into something that would be valuable as live concert material while still exploring the saxophone's potential within the band context. How could I shape musical sketches that opened for further explorations of the instrument's roles and relations while still providing the band with a foundation we enjoyed performing in live situations? Could it be that an enforced, one-sided quest for openness and "free" improvisation would lead the band to confusion? Maybe my recent preferences for free improvisation presented a too drastic disarticulation of the band's organization? Because; how to make a change? Deleuze and Guattari says: "You don't do it with a sledgehammer, you use a very fine file. You invent self-destructions that have nothing to do with the death drive. Dismantling the organism has never meant killing yourself, but rather opening the body to connections that presuppose an entire assemblage, circuits, conjunctions, levels and thresholds, passages and distributions of intensity, and territories and deterritorializations measured with the craft of a surveyor."2 


My response to the questions was to bring a varied set of musical sketches to the rehearsals that spun from the meticulously composed to almost nothing. The opening track, The Bonfire, The Sun, was an example of the latter, intending to give the band freedom to explore with just enough information to have a base to bounce off from: a relatively simple rhythmic idea and a simple bass riff.

side A

03 Ausculptation (04:11)

01 The Bonfire, The Sun (13:49)

02 Waistful Tendensities (03:26)

side B

05 Organ of Bodies II:  Tentactility (09:05)

06 Organ of Bodies III:  Palpatience (05:57)

04 Organ of Bodies I:  Blightness (04:27)

My ambition for this tune was to have the band burst instantaneously into the intense rhythmic cascades that we sometimes reach towards the end of our concerts. However, after three hours of frustrating, futile attempts, we decided to take an extended break. It was obvious that the tune lacked information to take us anywhere. The situation was stressful since this we already had recorded the rest of the sketches I had prepared, and I knew we would need more music to fill an album. During the break, I reworked the riff by extending it melodically and turning the rhythmic motif into a 9/4 time signature, which augmented the polyrhythmic notion. I also made a contrasting B-version of the riff with a slightly different melodic emphasis. I had no idea what to do with the riff, I just liked its feeling of infinity as it "bites itself in its tale". Hans Magnus wanted to learn the riffs and started playing them on an electric sitar, whose sound gave immediate purpose to the riffs: Instead of the instantaneous rhythmic blizzard I had imagined, this was a "travel song", a slowly evolving journey. Hans Magnus had also made a small passage of major seventh chords that would function as a break in the song structure. When we tested the riffs on unamplified electric sitar and clarinet, it felt like the song assembled itself. When the rest of the band returned, we rehearsed the song a couple of times and recorded the song in two takes, of which the first half of the first take and the second half of the second take became the album version, only added the outro, which was also from the first take.


The story illustrates how the band's many experiences and methods now could intersect and create something very personal to the band. I had taken a risk by offering vast freedom, and the risk was in the process of failing. But a sequence of permissions within the band set the process in a new direction. 


The riffs create the tension and energy that is the song's backbone. Riff A transports us, while riff B recharges, and the chord progression-break diffracts us into orbit, where I originally intended the song to be, but where we could not reach without the journey out there by means of the riffs. The structure gave me the idea of the evolving instrumentation, which spans from the acoustic and processed clarinet via the electrophonic tenor sax to the distorted echoing baritone sax immersing in the band. This sequential instrumentation was an attempt to highlight the evolving quality of the tune, but it also gave my instrumental practice an insight. I am an untrained clarinet player to the extent that I sometimes have to look up fingerings online if I decide to play sheet music. As discussed in Playing Air, I believe this lack of skill sometimes enables a searching mode which made me approach the improvisation differently than I would have on the tenor saxophone. This perspective is elaborately discussed by Cecilia Sun in the chapter Brian Eno, Non-Musicianship, and the Experimental Tradition.3 Also, upon switching to tenor, the joy of meeting a "dear old friend" generated more energy.


The rest of the tunes on Dust Breathing were precomposed to more detail. Waistful Tendesities derived from my fascination for the American new-wave band Devo. Here, their song Come Back, Jonee (from their debut studio album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (Warner Bros., 1978, produced by Brian Eno)) served as inspiration, whose ceaselessly repetitive layer-building creates incredible energy. A common feature of the vamp-based modal jazz that fostered my jazz studies and the new wave style that Devo derives from is that the bass riffs have the melodic strength to carry the song. Similar to The Bonfire, The Sun, this bass riff is also what generates the energy, but now with a density that leaves room for no evolving journey. Despite its compact power and high intensity, it functions more as a very noisy rest area. Ausculptation might have more of a soothing effect in that sense. It came out of my twenty yearlong love for the song Little Church by Hermeto Pascoal, released on Miles Davis' Live-Evil (Colombia, 1971). Its orchestration revolving around the harmon-muted trumpet and Pascoal's whistling was the base of the compositional process of Ausculptation.


On States of Minds, we explored sonic coherence through improvisation. Making the saxophone blend in with the band in different ways has been a focal point throughout the PhD research. An inspiration for this has been Giacinto Scelsi's work with microtonality and amalgamating orchestrations. This is what sparked the first part of the suite Organ of BodiesBlightness.


Coherence is not perceived as an energy unless it entails a level of interference. Two similar waveforms cancel each other out and become dead or quiet, while the second they start differentiating, tension and energy are generated. A slight deviation between the waveforms creates the acoustic phenomenon of beating, perceived as a periodic variation in volume, like a tremolo. The difference in frequency equals the number of beatings per second, which told me that the difference between the two lowest notes on the tenor saxophone, Ab and A, would result in approximately (110hz – 103,8hz =) 6,2 beatings per second. The Strymon effect pedal El Capistan has a possibility of layering, an add-on function, which can pitch the layers up and down with an octave; thus, the same dissonance one octave down would result in (55hz – 51,9hz =) 3,1 beatings. So, in theory, Hans Magnus (whom I knew to have the same Strymon pedal as myself) and I could play these two notes using the same add-on function simultaneously and be able to alternate between these 6,2 and 3,1 beatings pr second. The tempo of the beating would also set the tempo for the next part of the suite.

I was well aware that the details of the plan would remain theory, as these phenomena are difficult to recreate with so many uncontrolled parameters included in Møster!. Still, it functioned as a method to orchestrate the effect pedals and create a synthesis of our instruments, which we used more freely as a path to improvisation.


After a bleak harmonized coral-inspired transmission, a rhythmic burst kicks off Tentactility. The Yes album Close to the Edge (Atlantic, 1972) served as a backdrop for the first parts before the band descends into more lengthy improvisations, again employing the layering and cut-up techniques and studio processing tools.


The circumstances allowed us to set up a release concert streamed from Duper Studio in December 2020, where we had the chance to explore the live concert potential of the album. The experience from that concert showed that the tunes contain both improvisatory freedom to explore and the compositional viewpoints to explore them from. The concert also showed the importance of playing the material repeatedly in live situations to fully explore its potential. The Duper concert showed promising attempts, while I believe they will evolve further when they can thrive between the walls of a concert venue.