Hans P. Kjorstad & Ernst Reijseger: Gap Of Ginn

Dutch cellist and Norwegian fiddler play languid, mostly improvised duets in a reverberant church on the shore of the Oslofjord


Needing little or no introduction, Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger has been a leading figure in European improvised music since the 1970s. His vast discography encompasses everything from baroque and folk music to soundtracks for fellow non-conformist Werner Herzog. The Norwegian fiddle player Hans P. Kjorstad (Frode Haltli, Andreas Røysum) is amongst Reijseger’s many admirers, and when the opportunity presented to work together at Oslo’s Blow Out! festival in 2022, the rest, as they say, was history.

Whilst Kjorstad’s discography is rather smaller than Reijseger’s it covers similar terrain, a fact that perhaps goes some way towards to explaining their remarkable musical chemistry. With just one further concert in Lillehammer behind them, they entered the historic Høyjord stave church in Vestfold to record this music. Other than Reijseger’s Ginnung Where You There and Elena Shining Light all of the pieces were improvised, and the track-list on the album reflects the order in which they were performed.

For the most part the music defies ready classification, though many will detect a certain kinship to the dreamy folk-inflected sound worlds of Nils Økland and Frode Haltli. The natural reverb of the performance space forces each player to focus not just on one another, but on how each note sounds in the moment. Both deploy a variety of drone boxes to deepen the sound field, and although the pieces are predominantly airy, inviting and melodic, there is nevertheless a mildly unsettling undertow as contrasting intonations and overtones combine in strange and unfamiliar ways.

An enchanting set which is just as likely to appeal to followers of classical, folk and improvised music as to the jazz fraternity, Gap Of Ginn is in every sense a deep listening experience.

Ginn; Ekko; Ginnung Where You There; Spragle; Thin Air;  Sand Nor Sea; Heaven Nor Earth; Elena Shining Light; The Gap (41.02)
Kjorstad (vn, Hardanger fiddle, harmonium); Reijseger (clo, shruti box). Høyjord Stave Church, Vestfold, 16 February 2022.
Motvind Records MOT25CD