In 2008, three guitarists of Malmö form a trio, Halster, in which they examine one of the most archetypal and universal instruments: the guitar. The techniques are experimental, and the musical form is free improvisation. As instrumentalists, they arrive from different musical directions: the local rock scene as well as the improv scene.
The trio's aim is to meet regularly in order to create a continuity in execution. Every Monday night, they gather behind the doors of a shelter next to a supermarket in the area called Möllevången. They eventually decide to open the sessions to involve additional musicians in temporary collaborations, as well as to provide a platform for those in the region interested in exploring free improvisation as an expression. Over the next ten years, hundreds of musicians pass through the doors, some returning, others appearing only once.
The year 2018 brings the 10th anniversary of Halster. A selection of musicians, who have all participated in the Monday meetings over the years, gather to record a number of sessions and put together a record, which eventually swells into a 5-CD box..
The purpose of the recordings is to document an ongoing activity that has continued under the radar (no social media announcements or appearances). At the same time, it is an attempt to present a musical material in which the trio (sometimes utilizing their multi-instrumental skills) is the constant foundation, but one that is continually transformed by the instrumentalists added in various sessions.
What was initially thought of as a short-term experiment for three guitarists has now grown into a diverse community, returning every Monday to a social, mental and actual space to listen to the frequencies begging to be heard. A community that looks towards the next decade.
The portability and adaptability of the guitar and the variety of roles found within the worlds of both solo and group playing make it. in my opinion, an ideal instrument for free improvisation If we ask, what is a guitar, the answer is fluid. The manipulation of a string on a board, whether achieved acoustically or with the use of electronic amplification, seems a central factor. One thing for sure is it don't mean a thang if it ain't got that twang!
Some guitar players prefer to work alone. Personally, I like the camaraderie to be found within the broad church of guitar players and their music. The trio on this collection of recordings exemplifies this spirit and in extending the core trio to include a vast range of musicians shows a fine commitment and generosity of spirit. Creative musicians get their rewards from persistence and consistency with the work acting as a magnifier for their very real human involvement.
Improvised music only asks that we follow its own imperatives so, while being open to new and extended sounds, it is not that we use them for mere sensation but because the music requires it.
The unique quality of free improvisation is that neither the audience nor the musicians know what the music will sound like before its appearance. This makes live performance so crucial. music specific to the time and place. However, documentation in the form of recordings can nevertheless, offer a glimpse into what may have happened and become a focus for celebration. Many people like what they know but don't know what they like. All I can say is... Bring Your Ears!
released November 9, 2020
All music by Halster and guests
Recorded at Allmogen, Malmö, Sweden, 2018-2019
by Ola Rubin & Halster
Mixed by Ola Rubin & Halster
Mastered by Ola Rubin, Ola Paulson & Halster
Original artwork by Kristina Matousch
Cover design by Andreas Nordström & Anders Lindsjö
Photos by Hedda Rabe
Produced by Ola Paulson, Konvoj Records
Thanks to everyone exploring and cultivating the sonic brownfield at Allmogen and elsewhere.
Special thanks to John Russell for his words, and all his support and tireless work for the collective in music (– we owe you!)