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Krautrock • Norway

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Ultralyd picture
Ultralyd biography
Ultralyd were founded in 2003 by Norwegian free jazz legend, sax and clarinet player Frode Gjerstad. Their self-titled debut contains loud free jazz influenced fusion improvs. The second album, Chromosome Gun (Load Records), shows a more developed sound with the band improvising within loose song structures. After the departure of Frode Gjerstad in 2005, sax player Kjetil T. Møster joined the band.

During 2005 and 2006 Ultralyd gradually evolved into an ensemble incorporating elements of contemporary music, free improvisation, jazz - as well as rock and other rhythm-based music. Another development was Ultralyd performing written music, composed by Morten J. Olsen. In 2007 band got the contract with leading Norway innovative label Rune Grammofon and released "Conditions for a Piece of Music" - album of pre-composed music with some elements of jazz and rock improves. During two extensive European tours and several studio sessions Ultralyd's direction has slowly changed from a rather chaotic free rock approach towards composition and more structured forms of improvisation, experimenting with different layers and altered roles of the instruments, integrating elements from contemporary and electronic music, funk and doom metal and ending up with an album that might be classified as something akin to the improvised chamber rock King Crimson were doing around 1973.

Ultralyd is Kjetil Møster (The Core) on sax, Anders Hana (MoHa!) on guitar, Kjetil D. Brandsdal (Noxagt) on bass and Morten J. Olsen (MoHa!) on drums and vibraphone. This is their third album since the band was formed by legendary sax player Frode Gjerstad in 2004. Gjerstad left after their second album "Chromosome Gun" (Load Records) to be replaced by Møster. During two extensive European tours and several studio sessions Ultralyd's direction has slowly changed from a rather chaotic free rock approach towards composition and more structured forms of improvisation, experimenting with different layers and altered roles of the instruments, integrating elements from contemporary and electronic music, funk and doom metal.

Their last to time release (2010) contains more structured music with repetitive rhythms, psychedelic flavour and free-jazz/avant elements in it.

Current band members (2010):
Kjetil Möster: saxophones/clarinet
Anders Hana: guitars
Kjetil D Brandsdal: bass
Morten J. Olsen: drums/el.vibraphone

Slava (Snobb)

ULTRALYD Videos (YouTube and more)

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ULTRALYD discography

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ULTRALYD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 2 ratings
4.00 | 3 ratings
Chromosome Gun
3.09 | 4 ratings
Conditions For A Piece Of Music
3.83 | 11 ratings

ULTRALYD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ULTRALYD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ULTRALYD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ULTRALYD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.14 | 3 ratings


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Conditions For A Piece Of Music by ULTRALYD album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.09 | 4 ratings

Conditions For A Piece Of Music
Ultralyd Krautrock

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

3 stars Iron music

Metallic reverberations. A jack hammer bass drum. Wailing saxophone screeches. A sonorous mish mash of whatever comes to mind, whether that is fake glockenspiel, iron pipes, plastic bags or some creepy vibraphone noises. This music is its surroundings. Now that may sound strange and hipster-like, but trust me - once you put this unique record on, you're most likely going to understand where I'm coming from. The music is clearly conjured up by all these different instruments, sure thing - but it is first when they return from that invisible wall over yonder, that a distinct Ultralyd feel suddenly emerges. These guys use sounds as surfaces, and it's when these bounce off whatever intangible structure, wall, bubble or dome - the music takes shape and shows itself to the listener as something presentable, jagged and finite. It's harsh and cold, but strangely attractive to the adventurous seekers of music.

The focus is experimentation with sounds. You get fusion, cold metallic atmospheres mixed up with shimmering guitar pickings that oddly enough work like that extra little something to sweeten the flavours, because on its own the guitar would sound creepy and somewhat frightening. On here it adds honey to the mix, and luckily so, because things quickly turn horrifying and uneasy - like an upside down dream with a strange metallic soundtrack. No moulds, no real direction - the music finds its own way. The different tracks here offer up a disturbing sonic reality, that will have you looking over your shoulder and checking the locks.

My favourite thing about this outing is when things turn jazzy, and the saxophone starts humming long lost old school melodies, as one would hear inside smoky dim-lit clubs - going slowly and steadily ahead like a guru Ben Webster in meditation mode. Yet somehow that just isn't enough with these mad Norwegians, because what happens next is we get fed some cling clangy industrial fermentations of jarring iron funk with bouncy textures and what sounds like those hollow and scary howls you get from un-lubricated metal swings. Come on join the nightmare playground - it's loads of fun!

This album is like breaking into your local scrap-yard at night, only to find out that it is inhabited by musicians from out of space, who fancy dissonance and strange vibrating metal screeches over harmonic emanations. They play all night long on top of giant mountains of waste - bathed in moonlight and all these clonking sounds that emerge from screws and hammers being hurled through the air like Indian tomahawks with a rhythmic purpose. Oh yes this is sonic experimentation one on one. No turning back now...

This will almost definitely not be for everyone, in part because of this album's jagged and unfriendly surfaces, but most of all because people tend to go for the safe bet, and on Conditions for a Piece of Music there is no such thing. It's all improvs and iron - it's metal without the harshness of the guitars - metal without the overdrive. It's all about deep submersions into pensive and static frames of mind. Like staring down a dark well, only to hear music coming up from the pitch-black abyss. It's accidental music let loose. 3.5 stars because it scares the hell out of me - and here the other night, whilst falling gently asleep, it made me dream about weird serrated iron structures and scrap-yards.

 Renditions by ULTRALYD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
2.14 | 3 ratings

Ultralyd Krautrock

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars If you will discover this limited edition vinyl only short album (EP?) after you listened to their great high energy neo-Kraut album "Inertiadrome" as I did, you will be surprised, almost shocked!

Four not very long compositions there on this release all are almost rhythm-less liquid contemporary drone, avant / ambient (?) free form pieces of music. Dark, dynamic-less sound, slowly chaging tones and timbres, like high-viscosity liquid running from one strange form glass reservoir to another. With some metallic overtones in sound. Too dark and too heavy to be named "ambient". It reminds some modern avant garde composers works as well as some early electronics musical experimental compositions (with the big difference though - all the sound there is not electronics at all). Side B contains some minimalistic drumming and distorted bass on it, but them both are more sources for specific sounds than rhythm section there.

Highly experimental recordings closest by its atmosphere for most experimental Brian Eno's ambient works, this release has it interesting moments, but I believe the main listener for such music should be hot fan of radical contemporary avant garde.

My rating is 2,5, rounded to 2.

 Inertiadrome by ULTRALYD album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.83 | 11 ratings

Ultralyd Krautrock

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Some interesting albums are coming just at the end of the year! Norway's Ultralyd are active from early 90-s and from free-jazz avant improv band transformed to neo-Kraut one!

This album is possibly most structured and easy accessible one, but it no way means it's a easy listening. From very first seconds of the album's opener you will hear distorted bass vibration, excellent drumming in best Can traditions and well played dark repetitive sound.

"Street Sex" is more avant, more distorted, with sax screams - and more dangerous. Freaky groove will catch you right there! Noises, vibrations and almost funky rhythmic structure is combined with excellent Kjetil T. Møster's sax free form improvs.

"Contaminated Man" is heavy, almost brutal metallic composition, but with serious doze of psychedelia in it. Possibly a bit too bulky though."Geodesic Portico " opens with sax solos and continues as sax-over-the-tribal-drumming composition with distorted bass,filling half of the space. Not too fast, more dark, almost totalitarian hypnotic instrumental.

The last album's song, "Cessahtlon", is a noisy one. Jazzy drumming in combination with ZU- influenced sax and repetitive, almost industrial rhythmic structure.

Not so many modern bands are experimenting with Krautrock nowadays. This album is really nice surprise for everyone with interest to modern music on the crossroads of psychedelic free jazz and noisy brutal avant prog.

Thanks to snobb for the artist addition.

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