Musician, producer, composer, label owner and festival curator
Kjetil Husebø, born May 2nd 1975 in Bergen, is a Norwegian composer, producer and musician (keyboard player and a classically trained piano player) with a background from such varied musical landscapes as jazz, improvisation, electronica, ambient, contemporary, house, pop, crossover and folk music.
As a pianist and performer of electronic music, Kjetil Husebø has worked continuously to perfect the musical unification of the grand piano and live sampling/ live electronics. Using music technology both as a complete instrument and a creative tool he has developed an innovative instrument that he uses to obtain an intimate interaction between the piano and the electronics— Piano Transformed— which is the name of both this project and the album / music video from 2017. The live sampling and the live electronics does not only use the grand piano as a source of sound, but it is applied as a controller in real time, which implies either that the live sampling is done simultaneously as Kjetil plays on the grand piano or it occurs as sound fragments are recorded and subsequently transformed.
Kjetil Husebø debued with his own band; Coffee Pain at Nattjazz, Bergen in 1996 and he also wrote commissioned music to the municipality of Modalen in 1997. The same year he began to collaborate with Jigme Drupka (singer from Buthan) and he also played with Erot (Tore Kroknes, RIP) both in studio and on stage.
In 1999, Kjetil focused mainly on his studies at the University of Oslo (major-degree in History of Ideas in 2005).
In 2000 he also played with the Norwegian pop-band Bloom. In 2003, Kjetil gave less attention to piano-playing and started his crossover project; Optical Substance, a project in which programming and production were posed centre stage. The project included various guest-musicians, a collaboration which resulted in the first album entitled Sub Luna. Sub Luna was made in its entirety in Kjetil’s home-studio in 2003 and was brought public as Optical Substance played its first concert at Moldejazz (Kulturhuset) in 2004.
Improvisation has always played an important part of his piano and keyboard-playing. However, in the these years he has gradually expanded his interest into breaking down barriers between various musical expressions and applying improvisation as a tool to explore the potential that lie in using technology on stage. In 2006, he started to explore and develop live-electronics and live-sampling setups based on various software and hardware. Furthermore, he also began to play and collaborate with various musicians who focus on improvisation, such as Audun Waage, Li Tieqiao, Alex Gunia, Steinar Løberg Værnes, Bergmund Waal Skaslien, Michy Mano, Eivind Lønning and many others.
In 2008, Kjetil began to work on a new album where production, programming and compositions were integrated with the last years focus on live-electronics and improvisation. In this process, he used a lot of live-samplings from musicians recorded between 2006-2008 and combined it with new recorded material, an effort which resulted in the second Optical Substance album entitled Adaptation, which was released on August 23rd 2010.
After releasing Optical Substance – Adaptation – and playing some concerts with OS project, Kjetil began to focus more on solo piano, both acoustic and combined with live sampling and live electronics. At the same time he also started the Tape to Zero festival at National Jazz Scene, Oslo. At the Tape to Zero festival, he curated the program and also played concerts together with musicians such as Bendik Hofseth, Thomas Strønen, Jonas Barsten, Steinar Løberg Værnes, Alex Grieg, Terje Svensen, Kristoffer Lislegaard.
In 2012 Kjetil released he’s first piano album Contradictions and in 2013 he released he’s second piano album Sources. Both albums are based on free improvisations played on a fantastic Steinway D Grand Piano and recorded at Ibsenshuset/Audiopol Studio in Skien, Norway, with Audun Kleive as sound engineer.
During fall 2013 and winter 2014, Kjetil started a new solo electronic project entitled Skyggespill (Shadow play), and composed / produced one album Morphing Between Spaces and Phases, which was also he’s first vinyl release, released fall 2014.
In 2015 Kjetil released he’s first acoustic album Steps, recorded December 2nd 2014 at RainbowStudio with the legendary Jan Erik Kongshaug as sound engineer.
In 2016 Kjetil developed and recorded he’s Piano Transformed project.
The Piano Transformed album was released March 17th 2017. The live album Live at Nasjonal Jazzscene was released October 9th 2020.