Flashback / Flashforward
by Wayne Siegel
Let me just tell you how thrilling it really is, and how, what a challenge it is, because in 1987
the question is whether we're going forward to tomorrow or whether we're going to go past
to the - to the back!
Vice President of the United States 1989-1993
The Forward/Backward Principle
The works on this CD are arranged in forward/backward order with two interwoven chronological strands, one moving forward from the late 1980's to the early 2000's, the other moving backwards from 2012 to the early 2000's. In 2002 DIEM was dissolved as an independent organization and became part of the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, resulting in a shift of focus from production and promotion towards education and research. The early works on this CD reflect creative work in the electronic music studios at DIEM. The more recent works are by composers who have either studied or taught at DIEM. Together, these works represent the varied activities associated with DIEM between 1987 and 2012, with focus on electronic works created in the studio. In fact, instrumental works with live electronics, interactive computer music and sound installations have been as important as studio productions at DIEM, but these works are not well suited for CD release and we have chosen not to attempt to include them. Oh yes, the "we" here refers to an intimate editorial trio consisting of the present author, Wayne Siegel (composer, director of DIEM and professor of electronic music), Morten Riis (composer and PhD student at DIEM) and Jonas Olesen (composer, teacher and former student at DIEM). Several composers who worked at DIEM in the 80's and 90's returned in the 2000's to either obtain a degree in electronic music or to teach, adding yet another level of interweaving.
In the early spring of 1986 I stumbled over an ad for a new position as part time director of a new Danish national electronic music studio, which was being established in Aarhus at the time. The ad described what I could only see as the job of my dreams: setting up and managing a new national electronic music studio funded by the Danish Music Council. I decided to apply, and was fortunate enough to get the position.
The idea of establishing a national electronic music studio in Denmark stemmed from the Danish Music Council, propelled by an important figure in the development of Danish electronic music and chairman of the council at the time, Prof. Finn Egeland Hansen. The history of electronic music in Denmark was somewhat humble compared to Denmark's Scandinavian big brother, Sweden. The EMS studio founded in Stockholm in 1964 was considered to be one of the most advanced studios in the world at the time and indeed the abbreviation "EMS" often popped up in articles and reports used as political leverage in favor of the foundation of a Danish national studio.
The original mandate for DIEM was broad, reflecting compromises and alliances made in the process of procuring funds for the new institution. The new national center was expected to embrace many different styles and genres ranging from experimental electroacoustic music to popular electronic music when it was founded in Aarhus in 1986. Copenhagen would have been a more obvious choice for a new center of electronic music in Denmark. After all, most of the potential users lived in or near the Danish capital. What made Aarhus attractive, apart from the city's strong musical traditions, was the fact that the recently completed Concert Hall housed a fully equipped 24-track analog recording studio with a substantial amount of excess studio capacity.
An Otari MTR 90 24-track analog tape machine was the backbone and workhorse of the original DIEM studio. It used tape that was 2 inches wide with tape reels 10½ inches in -diameter. The machine was the size of an industrial washing machine (no further comparison intended). New users had to be warned never to touch the reels or tape while the machine was running, since the one horsepower motor could easily rip a finger off an unwary composer's hand. The monster was generally operated by DIEM's professional audio engineer. Reducing tape hiss and noise was a major concern at the time. The Otari was equipped with 24 channels of Dolby-A noise reduction. Each noise reduction channel consisted of two hardware units, an encoder and a decoder. It was common knowledge that Dolby-A produced some unwanted audio artifacts, but reducing tape hiss was considered worth the sacrifice in audio quality. An Otari MTR 12 4-track tape machine and a Nagra-T audio stereo mastering machine completed the arsenal of analog tape recorders.
In the late 80's when DIEM was established, a major transition from analog to digital technology was fully underway. The CD-audio player had become widespread and writable CD technology had recently entered the pro audio market. Personal computers were beginning to be used for musical production and MIDI had recently been accepted as a standardized communication protocol for personal computers and digital synthesizers. Digital recording and editing, especially multi-track recording and editing, were, however, still a very exclusive affair. DIEM's first studio configuration was a hybrid that reflected the broad scope of our potential users. It included an Atari 1040 along with four Macintosh Plus personal computers with 1 megabyte RAM and two floppy disc drives (no hard disk drives). Software included computer music programming environments such as Csound (MIT), Lisp and HMSL (Mills College) as well as commercially available MIDI sequencer programs and editor/librarian programs for programming outboard synthesizers: an Emulator II sampling keyboard, several Yamaha DX and TX FM-synthesis modules and keyboards and an Oberheim X-pander hybrid synthesizer. The gap between open source software development environments and user-friendly music hardware and software was addressed by trying to encompass both. Soon an Audioframe digital audio workstation with sampling, digital editing and 8 tracks of hard disc recording was added. This was a high-end mainframe-based system that required its own ventilated glass enclosure to prevent the system from overheating and to reduce fan noise in the control room. Although it was a state of the art system at the time, it was far less powerful than almost any sequencer software running on any standard laptop computer today. Later a NeXT Cube computer with an IRCAM ISPW sound card were purchased to allow users to run IRCAM's version of Max/FTS, an early version of what today is known as the programming environment Max/MSP.
Presenting electronic music in Denmark and promoting Danish electronic music abroad was an important focus area at DIEM. In 1988 DIEM produced concerts with Alvin Lucier (USA) and Michel Waisvisz (Holland) as part of the Aarhus NUMUS festival. Alvin Lucier performed Music for Solo Performer (1965), using brain waves to control vibrating instruments and other physical objects via electrodes attached to his head. Waisvisz controlled electronic sounds with a unique MIDI controller called "The Hands" built at STEIM in Amsterdam. Numerous electronic music festivals and concerts were since held in Aarhus and other cities in Denmark, culminating in the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) in 1994, where 400 practitioners of computer music from around the world met to exchange research developments and present over 50 works involving various combinations of humans and machines, including performances by the Royal Danish Ballet and the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra. Research was also important at DIEM, with focus on human computer interaction. The most notable research project was the DIEM Digital Dance project in the late 1990's, which involved technical and artistic development in interactive music controlled by dancers.
Even so, the two electronic music production studios in the Aarhus Concert Hall were the main focus at DIEM between 1987 and 2002. It was my ambition that DIEM should be a place where many different types of composers would feel welcome and comfortable. Since many of the composers who worked at DIEM did not live nearby, many productions took on the form of 1-2 week residencies. Here the technical staff was crucial in making composers feel at home, helping them when they needed assistance, and becoming invisible when they wanted to work alone. In 1988 Claus Petersen was hired as DIEM's audio engineer and in 1989 Steffen Brandorff joined the staff as software coordinator. Claus and Steffen served faithfully as midwives for countless artistic productions. Naturally, with the joy of birth comes pain as well. I remember situations ranging from artists succumbing to delirious laughter during a recording session to a composer breaking down in tears after losing a week's tedious work due to a hard disc failure. I remember on one occasion having to calm an overly excited composer who had been interrupted in the middle of a production by the concert hall security guard who wanted to close down the building and on another occasion having to lay down the law after entering a studio filled with -cannabis smoke.
Studio time and technical assistance were provided free of charge for composers' projects. One would imagine that this luxury would have made it difficult to get studio time at DIEM. This was sometimes true, but it was also a challenge to attract a broad base of composers. Actually, there were not many electronic music composers in Denmark. The most serious ones tended to have their own studios, since they previously had no other options: Fuzzy, Gunnar Møller Pedersen and Jørgen Plaetner immediately come to mind. Commissions for instrumental works initiated by ensembles, orchestras and Danish Radio were plentiful in the 80's, and many Danish composers were busy with commissions. There was also a geographical issue: most of the composers lived in Copenhagen, which was a five-hour train ride from Aarhus. I saw it as an important task to introduce Danish composers to the powerful artistic tools that technology could offer. A series of summer workshops was initiated in collaboration with the three Danish composers' unions represented on DIEM's board of directors. Students often included well-established Danish composers. Additional courses were started in collaboration with other institutions such as the University of Aarhus and the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus. While teaching the first summer course, I remember quickly falling behind the course curriculum after discovering that most of my students did not know how to use a computer mouse. The first hour was spent practicing controlling the mouse and selecting pull-down menu options by clicking the mouse button. Being a composer myself, I also found it important to produce my own music. It was a luxury to work in my dream studio and it also provided an opportunity to remain familiar with the software and hardware.
Decline and Rebirth
In November 2001 a newly elected government in Denmark decided to cut cultural spending by 15%. Forced to make some difficult decisions, the Danish Music Council decided to close DIEM, resulting in a last minute reconstruction as an integrating part of the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus in January 2003. I was appointed professor of electronic music by the Academy's principal and entrusted with the task of setting up a new degree program at the Academy in electronic music composition. Focus naturally shifted from production and promotion to education and research and the name was changed from the Danish Institute of Electroacoustic Music to the Danish Institute of Electronic Music.
In 2003 electronic music had become more popular and more widely accepted than I could have imagined in 1987, a brief 15 years earlier. Personal computers had become commonplace, and electronic music software was abundant and easily accessible. In a certain sense, institutional electronic music studios had been overtaken by home studios with personal computers and readily available software. Digital editing and signal processing techniques had become both sophisticated and commonplace. Impressive technical manifestations began to lose their impressive qualities, their virtuosity. A new generation of young people had grown up with computers and digital audio at their fingertips. Many of them rejected the idea of progress in music technology, using obsolete hardware and embracing the errors and glitches of audio technology as relevant building blocks for what might be called post-technological music. This is not only a historical phenomenon: the origins of glitch music date back to the late 80's and early 90's. It is also a cultural and social phenomenon revealing a dichotomy between high art and street art. The tape hiss that we so desperately tried to eliminate using costly noise reduction systems in the early years of DIEM had become a welcome musical element used to add technological "warmth" in an age of digital perfection.
The electronic music degree programs at the Royal Academy in Aarhus were designed to accommodate a new artistic and technological reality. The first students were admitted in 2004. Today there are over 30 students working on degrees in electronic music on all levels: bachelor, masters, PhD and an advanced soloist program. DIEM, now the electronic music department at the Royal Academy, moved out of the Aarhus Concert Hall in 2004 to make way for a new addition to the Aarhus Concert Hall that later would house not only DIEM with three new electronic music studios but the entire Academy of Music as well as the National Opera, the Aarhus Symphony, a new symphony hall, a new rock venue and a chamber music hall. In 2007 DIEM moved forward into these new facilities by moving back to the Aarhus Concert Hall. Production and concerts continue to play an important role after DIEM was incorporated into the Royal Academy. The list of guest artists who have lectured and performed at DIEM since 2002 is long and impressive. Much has changed in 25 years, but the lively artistic environment at DIEM in 2012 exceeds my wildest dreams of what might be achieved when the institution opened in 1987.
Wayne Siegel, 2012
by Morten Riis
The story of DIEM is the story of 25 years of believing that the newest technology can move existing musical boundaries, create new sounds, new structures, and pioneer the development of the music of the future. The story begins at a time when people were still waiting for the computer to do calculations; a time when you thought that anything was possible through digital technology. It was just a matter of imagining it. Four thousand tone generators that move in different directions, increasing and decreasing within a micro-tonal scale, human voices transformed into running water, ultra-deep tones almost inaudible but still affecting the body in a strange way.
This double CD presents a broad selection of works produced at DIEM from 1987 to 2012; many of them have never been released. They have been collected to give insight into the many different types of artistic productions that have been completed over the years at this institution for electronic music. The works are seen as historical documents presented in the original form and with the original expression. They have not been optimized with the newest technological possibilities in order to bring these historical recordings into the aesthetic loudness ideal of today.
The story of DIEM is ambiguous, extremely loud but still at the edge of the audible; a story about meeting with the conception of the sublime.
Anker Fjeld Simonsen - Oktav III (1988)
Oktav III (Octave III) is a part of a larger work Mimesis tragedie (The Tragedy of Mimesis) performed on Yamaha TX FM modules. The work investigates the overtone series through the classical Pythagorean distinction between even and odd overtones. The pre-planned durations develop in shorter and shorter periods and movement lengths and create a new synthesis, a new foundation and a new starting point for the triad. In the octave, the higher level, the pianist discovers that the fourth movement breaks down during the rediscovery of the first tones of the main theme from the first movement of the classical sonata. The tragedy of Mimesis rings out as it began but now in new -electronic overtones.
Anker Fjeld Simonsen (b. 1944). Studied piano and music teaching at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen and worked eagerly as a classical musician and music teacher from 1966 to 1979. His artistic production consists of poetry, short stories, electronic music, tape theatre, chamber music, and most recently philosophical essays.
Jonas R. Kirkegaard - 802 (2012)
One of the technological highlights of the eighties was the launch of the Yamaha DX series - synthesizers based on a certain type of FM synthesis. The popularity was largely due to the fact that the DX series was able to emulate acoustic instruments, such as brass instruments, pianos and strings in a way never seen before. The DX series also became popular in electroacoustic circles due to the endless sound and modulation possibilities in the architecture of the synthesizers. The Yamaha FM synthesizers have thus always been a part of the DIEM studios and the piece "802" is a small retrospective piece of music that shows a not often used side of the FM synthesizer: the rhythm section and basslines. The piece is produced on a Yamaha TX802 (a multi-timbral rack version of DX7 MKII) from 1988 and is recorded directly to tape without the use of effects, equalizing, or panning.
Jonas R. Kirkegaard (b. 1982) has worked in the field between installation art, sound art, and electronic music since 2000. Has studied at DIEM since 2006 and continued on the newly established 3rd-level soloist study program for electronic composers in 2011 following the completion of his master's degree in electronic music. Furthermore, Kirkegaard works with sound design, both acoustic and electronic. He is also affiliated with the Sonic College in Haderslev, Denmark, as a teacher.
Daniel Rothman - Southwest Sky (1988)
Artist in residence at DIEM in 1988, Daniel Rothman was very fascinated by the flatness of the Danish landscape that left him in great awe of his own place between the earth and sky. Feeling the relativity of human scale, which is not that of mountain ranges, grand canyons, or Sequoia trees, Rothman looked southwesterly toward the horizon, where the refraction of light became both more intense and diffuse as they narrowed. Rothman collaborated with oboist Merete Hoffmann from the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra to record the source material for Southwest sky. The oboe's unique spectra, processed by a chamber, like Alvin Lucier's iconic I Am Sitting in a Room, produced wonderful sonic arcs, much like visual ones when looking into Aarhus' horizon.
Daniel Rothman is a composer loosely associated with the Lovely Music and New World record labels. He lives in Los Angeles and teaches music theory at the California Institute for the Arts. Rothman has received commissions from many contemporary music festivals and awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Composer -Fellowship in 1996.
Band Ane - Hyper Motel (2011)
How the work is made is not that important, Band Ane says. If it is not important to her, it cannot be important to others. But there was a blizzard outside and the wood-burning stove was burning. A mouse gnawed inside the wall. Music for a movie was to be created in this room: a room at the secret motel where Ane had her own room until 11 o'clock. Hyper is as Ane, hypermobile, to a certain degree. Motel is a commission that she once received and which you have to turn down if you don't get your own room. The collaboration was discontinued.
Ane Østergaard (b. 1983) has performed at numerous festivals in Scandinavia, and released two well-received albums. Østergaard holds a Master's degree in Electronic Music Composition from DIEM / Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus.
Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen - Omdrejninger II (1989)
Stereo mix by Morten Riis (2011)
Omdrejninger (Rotations) was originally commissioned in 1989 by AUT for an outdoor forest concert at Moesgaard Museum. The piece was for 4 channel tape and 4 percussionists. The piece was originally divided into two parts, of which the second part is found on this CD without acoustic instruments. Omdrejninger II (Rotations II) is a voyage into pure overtone intervals. The piece consists of seven sections, each with its own four-note chord with inner movements. All intervals are different in the overtone series. The stacking of these intervals continuously decreases: 8/7, 9/8, etc. until 12/11. Custom-made software was used, in order to make these intervals ring with enough precision.
Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen (b. 1951) has composed for variable ensemble with different types of openness in notation and room for improvisation in addition to electronic/electroacoustic music. He participated in the Group for Alternative Music 1971-77 and worked at the Electronic Music Studio in Holstebro, Denmark, in 1971 and 1975. He holds a Cand. phil. degree in music from the University of Copenhagen in 1984.
Jonas Olesen / Morten Riis - Prim x (2010)
The music consists of edited versions of excerpts from live performances 2005-2010 when Jonas Olesen and Morten Riis played a series of improvisational concerts primarily with analogue instruments, such as modular synthesizers and home-made electronic devices. The piece as such is not a documentation of these concerts, rather a radically edited versions of these. The raw sound material has undergone a series of digital processing sessions, where long concert sessions were edited down to the length of a few seconds. The piece reveals itself for the attentive and mindful listener as a delicate quiet endeavor in investigating the relationship between silence and noise, between the audible and the inaudible, between form and detail. These sonic and aesthetic experiments that use the entire dynamic and frequency range of human perception make Prim x a welcome alternative to the digital over-consumption that defines the current reality of music listening.
Previously released on BIN Records.
Jonas Olesen (b. 1979) and Morten Riis (b. 1980) both graduated from The Royal Academy of Music where they studied Electronic Music Composition. As a duo they have played numerous concerts and make audiovisual installations in both Denmark and -Europe. They both share a passion for investigating myriad errors that arise when working with analogue and digital systems.
Fuzzy - Electric Gardens and Their Surroundings (1989)
Electric Gardens and Their Surroundings (1989) was commissioned by DIEM for the Aarhus Computer Music Festival and realized at DIEM. The following poem is associated with the piece:
Suddenly they lay there,
unreal and almost repulsive
in their merciless mixture
of glass and neon.
The surroundings seemed dangerous.
It was unclear
whether one still had
a chance to turn back.
Previously released on Dacapo Records
Fuzzy (Jens Wilhelm Pedersen), composer and musician, was born in 1939. He studied with Finn Høffding and Per Nørgård at the Royal Academies of Music in Copenhagen and Aarhus and later with Ligeti, Stockhausen, and Jan Bark. Between 1966 and 1980 he was Assistant Professor at the Royal Academy in Aarhus. Besides a few chamber works, choral compositions, and orchestral works, he has mainly concentrated on music associated with other media of expression, such as music theatre, ballet, film, and television and radio drama.
Puzzleweasel vs. Richard Devine - Mad Bonce (2008)
Mad Bonce started as collaboration between Puzzleweasel and Richard Devine in 2008 over the Internet. Files were sent back and forth and incorporated into various software environments. The sound sources used in the piece are taken from Ricard Devine's huge collection of analogue and digital synthesizers, together with various computer-generated sounds. Later, as part of Richard Devine's visit to Aarhus, the piece was finished in DIEM's studio, where further recordings and digital manipulations were performed.
Puzzleweasel is the sonic output of Peter Dahlgren (b. 1980). Originally Swedish, the Puzzleweasel was brought up around Europe in Zürich, Amsterdam, and Stockholm and now resides in Berlin. Dahlgren holds a Master in Electronic Music Composition from the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus. Richard Devine (b. 1977) is an Atlanta-based electronic musician who has designed sound patches for leading software and hardware music companies. He has also scored commercials for Nike, Touchstone Pictures and engineered and performed his own music worldwide.
Per Nørgård - Årsfrise-91 (1991) (excerpt)
Excerpt edited by Wayne Siegel 2011
Årsfrise-91 (Annual Frieze 1991) is the title of the revised version of Kalendermusik (-Calendar Music) by Nørgård, a work that was originally commissioned by Danish TV as an interval signal between television broadcasts. The original version gained much coverage, mainly negative, in the beginning of the 1970s. The revision has maintained the global organization of tonal range and durations but was realized with sampled sounds as opposed to sounds produced by electronic tone generators employed in the 70's version. Furthermore, the total duration has been reduced from 8 hours to 1 hour, making it possible to listen to 12 months of music as 5 minutes for each month. The 8 layers comprise 8 rhythmic layers that fit within each other like Chinese boxes, with sound characteristics ranging from dripping, wind, and voice to bell sounds. The interval relations of the winter section are micro tonal, expanding from half tones at midsummer to quarter tones (as minimum) at the autumn equinox. The tempo peaks at midsummer and is slowest at the autumn equinox.
Per Nørgård (b. 1932) With his original works, his teaching, and his theoretical innovations, Per Nørgård has been the most striking Nordic musical personality for over thirty years. Nørgård has written works of all sizes, from operas to simple choral songs, and is recognized as the modern Danish composer par excellence.
Halfdan E / Dan Turèll - Team Trash (1993)
The track is taken from the Grammy winning album Pas På Pengene (Mind the Money) where the author Dan Turèll and the musician Halfdan E created a groundbreaking spoken word album. It was also one of Turèll's last projects before his death and it was the musical breakthrough for Halfdan E alongside Glad i åbningstiden (Happy During Opening Hours) from 1996.
Previously released on Mega Records. Thanks to Playground Music.
Halfdan E. (Halfdan E. Nielsen) b. 1965, Danish rock musician, composer and producer. Halfdan E was bass player in the group Dieters Lieder 1984-88 and later on in Laid Back and Gangway. Halfdan E has also worked closely with the rock group TV-2 and produced for Østkyst Hustlers and Den Gale Pose (both rap/hip hop) among others. Dan Turèll (1946-1993) was a highly prolific author. He has contributed to numerous anthologies in his time, written a vast number of articles and essays for newspapers and various magazines on countless subjects, and collections of his works are still being published to this day.
Wayne Siegel - Tunnel Vision (1995)
The piece was originally commissioned by the American choreographer Warren Spears to be used in the ballet CMXCV. Tunnel Vision consists of a single, uninterrupted pitch: always the same yet constantly changing. In making the piece, various sound sources, such as water, fire, crowds and children at play, were processed by custom software. This software was used to extract the same pitch from these very different sound sources, a technique that can be compared to a tube or tunnel, which colors any sound passing through it. The ballet CMXCV premiered in Copenhagen in September 1995.
Wayne Siegel (b. 1953) Leading international artists, including the Kronos Quartet, Singcircle, Safri Duo and Harry Sparnaay, have commissioned works from Siegel, and his music has been performed widely throughout Europe, the Americas, and Japan. In 1986, he became director of DIEM, and in 2003 Siegel was appointed Professor of Electronic Music at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus.
Bjørn Svin - 7 cirkler i 1 matrix (2002)
7 cirkler i 1 matrix (7 Circles in 1 Matrix) was a part of a remix project initiated by DIEM in the spring of 2002 where five young Danish composers were asked to remix the first Danish electronic music piece Syv cirkler (Seven Circles) by Else Marie Pade from 1958. Bjørn Svin's contribution is primarily created using old analogue and specially designed machines. The seven tones from the original work formed the basis for several improvisation sessions conducted on these machines and later manipulated and mixed using DIEM's computers, resulting in a piece of techno music that passes on the mood of the original work.
Previously released at Resonance.dk
Bjørn Svin (Bjørn Christiansen, b. 1975) has released music since 1995. In addition to his releases, Bjørn Svin was a host at the radio program U-land from 1996 to 1999 where he helped spread knowledge of electronic music to a broader Danish audience. Bjørn Svin is acknowledged as one of Denmark's leading live performers of experimental electronic music.
Michael Nyvang - Collage IV, Corona (1996)
Corona is part of a larger work with the title Musik for virtuelt orkester (Music for Virtual Orchestra) commissioned for the Boxiganga Performance Theatre's show Kinematograf. Most of the sound material stems from the strings and sounding board of a piano that have been manipulated to larger or smaller degrees beyond recognition with the help of a number of different computer programs. Nyvang writes: "In a way it was like working with an orchestra, except that I was able to start with broad brushstrokes and work my way down to the details. I could even move large resonant blocks of sound back and forth as I pleased, an experience quite different from the tedious task of writing endless notes in a score to produce an orchestral sound that in my imagination may seem ever so simple ... hence the title Music for Virtual Orchestra."
Previously released at Dacapo Records.
Michael Nyvang (b. 1963) received his composition diploma from the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus in 1995 and continued his studies in the Academy's soloist class for composers. The same year he was awarded a three-year working grant from the Danish Arts Foundation. Nyvang's music covers a large palette of expressions and styles, from an hour long solo piece for piano, to symphonic orchestral scores and electroacoustic music.
Vectral - AC-3 (2008)
AC-3 is a line of works from 2008 under the common name Anti-Climax that all arise from a very simple basic material in the form of one or a few short samples. The samples have been manipulated live during concerts on several occasions and the work was then put together from recordings from these concerts. The composition is built around a repeating theme that develops and is brought into a full-spectrum sound image. A certain amount of noise characterizes the electronically processed material, and the composition draws one's attention to forces of nature and elements such as wind and waves.
Søren Lyngsø Knudsen (b. 1983) has played numerous concerts in China, England, France, Germany and Denmark under the alias "Vectral". Furthermore, Knudsen har worked with film music for feature film, dance performance and animated features. Søren Lyngsø Knudsen won the competition Danish Championship for Digital Media in 2008 and has a Master's degree in Electronic Music Composition from the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus.
Line Tjørnhøj-Thomsen - Lauria (Part II of Triff) (1998)
Lauria is part two of a three-movement piece entitled Triff, in which Tjørnhøj's own voice is used as research material. All musical elements are based on the specific musicality of Tjørnhøj's own voice and the possibilities that digital technology offers for manipulating the voice. The artistic process has been a matter of learning by doing, which has inspired a playful, intuitive, and slightly naïve approach to technology. The piece can be regarded as a hybrid of personal music and high technological acoustic art. For Tjørnhøj it is essential that the music has a personal, tender, and sensuous expression, where the question of genre becomes unimportant, and where the audience can connect personally and directly to the expression.
Previously released on Tjørnhøj's own label.
Line Tjørnhøj-Thomsen (b. 1960) has worked with a broad variety of singers from jazz, ethno, opera, Bulgarian women, throat singers, and Roy Hart trained singers, as well as musicians, choreographers, and visual artists from the contemporary experimental performance scene. Her works are praised for originality, beauty, extraordinary extended vocal techniques, and personal expression.
Hans Hansen - Passaics Monumenter (1999)
Passaics Monumenter (The Monuments of Passaic) was written for the The Danish Arts Foundation's competition for electroacoustic music in 1999 and is based on the text The Monuments of Passaic by American artist Robert Smithson. He describes a trip through an industrial area: an "overexposed panorama of ruins with the opposite sign". A strange planet with constructions (monuments) that begin as ruins before they were built: an -image of the future lost in the trash of the non-historical past. The work is a live recording in real time with very few edits: an attempt to play with space, scale, half-finished structures, and physicality.
Previously released as contribution for Dansk Musik Tidsskrift (Danish Music Journal), 1999-2000, no. 5, vol. 74.
The composer Hans Hansen (b. 1969) is also a trained architect. This has not only given him a number of fruitful working methods and mind tools but also led him into installation and exhibition formats where space is in play at different levels. The scope of Hans Hansen's activities also includes the collaboration with the singer Majbrit Ørtz Petersen in the duo Örtz. He received The Danish Arts Foundation's three-year grant in 2008.
Jørgen Teller - Sparklings - the adventure of a spark in a world of spatialisation (2005)
A spark on an adventure in a world of spatialisation. The work was composed in 2005 in an 8-speaker version for the Ghettoblaster Ensemble and is based on his own recordings of a classic American muscle car at the square in Svendborg, Denmark. The audio recordings were processed on an Ensoniq EPS 16+. The work was presented at the international electroacoustic festival in Bourges, France in 2005.
Jørgen Teller (b. 1958) is a composer and musician and has created soundtracks for international dance and performance events, theatre, poetry, video, film, architecture and radio. His works have been presented at numerous concerts and in theatre/performance productions and intermedia events in Europe, Japan, and North America. In 1999 he took the initiative for SSSHHHHH ..., the first Sound Biennale in Copenhagen.
Birgitte Alsted - Zu versuchen, die Fragen (2002)
The title of this work is a fragment from Rainer Maria Rilke's letter to a young poet:
"... zu versuchen, die Fragen selbst liebzuhaben wie verschlossene Stuben
und wie Bücher, die in einer sehr fremden Sprache geschrieben sind ".
"... try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that
are written in a very foreign tongue"
This spoken quote is included as raw material in the work along with recorded sounds such as slamming doors and tapping on a brass banister. Many of the sounds were recorded at DIEM in the Concert Hall in Aarhus, where the work was created. This work was commissioned by DIEM with support from The Danish Arts Foundation and premiered at the Cinema for the Ear in Copenhagen in 2001.
Birgitte Alsted's (b. 1942) productions include chamber music, orchestral works, vocal music, works involving collective improvisation, and theater music. In recent years she has been involved in several collaborative efforts combining music with poetry, dance, and image projection. She has received numerous grants and prizes for her lifelong work as a composer and artist.
Sofus Forsberg - Homework (2005)
Sofus Forsberg's compositions are often tonal, melodic, and beat oriented. His material often consists of chopped-up, fragmented real sounds that may be used for both rhythmic patterns and processed surfaces. In Homework Sofus Forsberg explores new territory, i.e. the classical electroacoustic music tradition, where the sound material is investigated down to the smallest detail, processed, restructured, and shaped from the innermost components of the sound.
Sofus Forsberg (b. 1970) started out in 1975 by putting a sewing-needle through a pick-up housing on an old record player. Later in his musical career, he has released albums, played many concerts in Denmark and abroad, created film scores, music for theatre and taught at several educational institutions.
Rasmus Lunding - On Learning How to Kill (2002)
The piece is based on statements and words spoken by Lunding's father who is Danish-born Jew with German roots. Despite being Jewish, he managed to stay in Germany during World War II from 1940-44, doing two things: smuggling German Jews and other Germans via Denmark to Sweden and studying architecture in Weimar. This piece is not about his experiences during that period, but about how these experiences shaped his understanding of and very clear view on the phenomena of war. The language spoken in the piece is Danish, but the piece is not centered around the understanding of the words as much as Lunding's interpretation of the meaning of these words. Lunding's father has always been a strong-willed and fearless pacifist. The piece was commissioned by DIEM for the concert series Cinema for the Ear, and was world-premiered in Montreal on September 11, 2002.
Rasmus Lunding (b. 1961) started out on the punk and experimental music scene in the 1980s in Aarhus, Denmark. Originally a guitarist and bass player, his focus has gradually shifted towards working with computer and software. In the 1990s Lunding released two solo CDs in Denmark with highly acclaimed material, and he has presented his work all over the world.
Morten Riis, 2012