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'Else Marie Pade's impact cannot be overestimated'

INTERVIEW · On the album EMP RMX 333 11 electronic artists remix Else Marie Pade – a great way to celebrate the Danish pioneer of electronic music, the initiator of the CD, Henrik Marstal, says.

Foto: privateje.

Photo: private photo.

‘It is a constant inspiration that a Danish composer composed electronic music as early as the 1950s.’ Henrik Marstal, musician and musicologist, first met Else Marie Pade in 2001, when he and fellow musicologist Ingeborg Okkels interviewed the – at the time – quite unknown, 76-year-old composer for a portrait feature in the leading Danish journal for new music, Dansk Musik Tidsskrift.

‘To me, Else Marie Pade – as a Danish composer – functioned as a background for musical endeavours,’ Marstal tells. ‘As a listener, I have often found myself returning to, especially, the early 1960s period, in which she created some of her, in my opinion, best compositions.’

The Dansk Musik Tidsskrift article became a starting point for revising recent Danish music history. The following year, Dacapo released the CDs Glasperlespil and Face It – the first releases of Else Marie Pade’s electronic works ever – and young Danish electronic musicians suddenly discovered that there was a history to their artistic environment. When Else Marie Pade died on January 18 this year, 91 years old, Henrik Marstal therefore decided to gather some of these musicians to create the album EMP RMX 333 – a tribute to Else Marie Pade (1924-2016).

Remixing is an electronic tribute

On the new CD 11 artists remix, individually, Pade’s 1961 tape composition Etude. That is how electronic music ‘re-composes’ or creates variations of already known material, Marstal says. ‘It is an ancient musical practice, which, in this environment, entails manipulation, alteration or some kind of processing of a sound file. In that sense, a remix album is a natural way to pay homage to Else Marie Pade.’

In 2012, Marstal and the singer Anna Lidell formed the group marstal:lidell, creating music based on dreampop and electronics. In addition to their own compositions, the duo successfully remixed different score music, the most recent being Rued Langgaard’s orchestral work Music of the Spheres, performed last month at the film festival CPH PIX and at the Rued Langgaard Festival in the Autumn of 2015.

A francophone homage

Approaching Etude, marstal:lidell found inspiration in Else Marie Pade’s love for the French idiom. ‘We wished to celebrate the francophone approach of Else Marie Pade by playing with the French,’ Henrik Marstal tells. ‘For example, I played my old Fender Mustang bass and created – by squeezing a cleaning sponge between the body and the strings – a sound similar to the well-known Serge Gainsbourg albums from the years around 1970 as well as the bass lines of the French electronic duo Air.

We tried to create a bass/drum-focused sound, which also points to the Gainsbourg records. And then we had Anna sing the word “Etude” through a vocoder, sung – in French manner – on all three syllables of the word, even though in French it is only a two-syllables word.’

She was an inspiration

In addition to marstal:lidell, established electronic musicians such as SØS Gunver Ryberg, Bjørn Svin, Jacob Kirkegaard, Band Ane and We Like We are part of EMP RMX 333. The approaches on the 11 remixes are as diverse as the artists included, and the artistic range of the CD is a manifest to the imprint Else Marie Pade managed to put on the electronic music environment in Denmark.

‘You cannot overestimate what an impact it had on the electronic music environment to know that Else Marie Pade was around,’ Henrik Marstal believes. ‘She was a point of reference for many in the environment, a fact I also experienced when I asked the participants to take part in the CD – people were very fond of her.

She also had an impact on the gender roles. Especially among female electronic musicians, Else Marie Pade – as a woman and composer – was an inspiration. That is why I also wanted to give especially female artists the opportunity to be on the album.’

EMP RMX 333 – a tribute to Else Marie Pade (1924-2016) is a recent Dacapo release.

– a tribute to Else Marie Pade (1924-2016)

Else Marie Pade

Katrine Ring
Band Ane
SØS Gunver Ryberg
Christian Vogel
Bjørn Svin
We Like We
Jonas Olesen
Sandra Boss
Jacob Kirkegaard
Heidi Mortenson

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