In The Arctic Dreamtime

RCD 2211CD RCD 2211CD

Henry Kaiser is an American guitarist, composer, label founder, photographer, and professional diver. He appears on more than 250 albums, including collaborations with the likes of Fred Frith, Richard Thompson, David Lindley, Wadada Leo Smith, Derek Bailey, Jim O'Rourke, and numerous others. In 2017 he initiated and produced the two Sky Music albums (RCD 2194CD/RLP 3194LP, RLP 2195LP), both tributes to Norwegian guitar legend Terje Rypdal. Ivar Grydeland is a Norwegian guitarist and composer, most known from the trio Huntsville (Rune Grammofon, Hubro) and Dans Les Arbres (ECM, Hubro, Sofa). He has recorded and performed with a number of musicians including Nils Petter Molvær, David Sylvian, Tony Oxley, Nels Cline, Thurston Moore, and Paul Lovens. He has released two solo albums on Hubro. The two guitarists first met in an Oslo studio in January 2019. Having admired each other's work for some time, they decided right there and then to record a guitar duet collaboration specifically to create a soundtrack for a classic Norwegian silent film. They spent 30 minutes setting up to record and Kaiser suggested a short test recording to one of the less likely candidates, Roald Amundsen's 1925 documentary Ellsworths flyveekspedition 1925. One hour and fifty-six minutes later, they set down their guitars and shook their heads in wonder. They had played for the entire length of the film without breaks, in the process creating a complete score for the film. The Norwegian explorer was a key figure of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. In 1911, he led the first expedition to the South Pole, and is proven to have been the first to reach the North Pole in 1926. Across the Arctic, traditions of shamanism endure among the Inuit. A vision of the Arctic outside of mundane history, yet common in human polar experience, exists in "time out of time" or "everywhen", during which the land is inhabited by figures of heroic proportions. Amundsen and his colleagues were just such figures. Grydeland and Kaiser seemed to have entered into a kind of Arctic Dreamtime as they conjured this film soundtrack into existence; playing in real time with the film. Their guitar improvisations explore historic events, and invoke those heroic figures of the far north, illuminating both Norwegian history, and shamanic time outside of history, through music.