Qvenild and Nilssen originates from the small cities Kongsberg and Skien, two cities separated, but at the same time connected through the mountain area SKRIM.
Not many people know this, but the travel from Skien to Kongsberg in Norway is 90k by car and only 40k on foot … Well, that is if you start at Raven Lake and take the crooked old kings trail over to Skien. Perhaps it is this topography that makes the interaction in the improvisation duo SKRIM consisting of the distinctive jazz performers Gard Nilssen (from Skien) and Morten Qvenild (from Kongsberg) magical, original, and intuitive? Maybe the duo’s name is picturing the fact that people travelled over SKRIM to avoid inbreeding and depression in their home village? The travel over SKRIM gave fresh blood, new directions, and new genetics.
If you walk across SKRIM, you always have a good view of the mountain Ugly Man. There is something mythical about this mountain. It is wild and steep; the lynx lurks around but at the same time the area is accessible for the regular hiker. You can walk on crooked paths, dream away, hide in one of the illegal elk hunter caves, discover rare orchids or the crystal clear green calcareous water in the lakes.
If you hike a little further, you will find Four Men Mountain – which name sounds a bit secretive. Is it about the four Milorg boys who sought refuge up there when they were persecuted by the Germans? Or maybe about the four wanderers who froze to death on top of an icy winter night in the year… Or is it about the band SKRIM expanding with the star guests Stian Westerhus (guitar / electronics) and Ståle Storløkken (organ / electronics) on the occasion of Gard Nilssen’s residency at Moldejazz in 2019?
These four improvising musical wanderers went in the studio, or out for a walk if you will. They walked on crooked paths into a wild musical landscape that you are guaranteed to have never heard before. The expedition visits, with great risk, steep mountains, crystal clear springs and the sound of Akihabara, the place in Tokyo where you can buy all the world’s electronic gadgets.
SKRIM explores an area where the reckless and sometimes beautiful improvisational music meets a fragmented, motley, sometimes bulky and other times delicious and danceable rhythmic world. On SKRIM’s crooked path you will find sci-fi electronics, raffle on the moon, electronic pianos from the 70s, running arpeggiator synths from the 80s, a wild dynamic, drum machines and old drum kits, friction, flow, dirty bass, riffs, Hammond organ, energy, darkness, joy, and rot. It is as if Blade Runner or the monster from Stranger Things or the lynx from SKRIM inhabit the orchestra.