Archive for the 'sound, objects and text' Category


workshop August 5-6 & 10

I have decided to make a new version of Victoria Counts by Henrik Hellstenius without video and with a new version of the staging. Henrik has decided to do the main work with the new staging himself, being the person who knows the piece the best (together with me :-D).

A visual idea, using pictures from my life on the floor, almost invading me on stage. Another idea is to cut up the music in small pieces and let me search for them. Using long music stands, too long for actually looking, or very small, so that I have to sit on the floor or on a stool, almost kneeling in a kind of meditation pose. Henrik also wanted to try out using mirrors, mirroring myself, but also the audience, so that they can mirror themselves in the chaos that sometimes emerges on stage.

The music is cut into pieces, and I am kneeling in front of the small music stand.

Henrik also wanted to let me speak about my relation to the piece and how I related to the main topic, distraction vs. focus, stress versus peace, all directed and held together by the counting exercise by Gurdjieff. He wanted me to record my reflections, and also asking myself questions about the main topic. Henrik has made a mix of the sound files, and we are going to try using it in the piece to strengthen the audience’s understanding of the main topic. Each time I work with this piece and have to be confronted with my life, it always makes me emotional. It’s very difficult to keep a distance when the whole thing is actually about your own stuff.

Henrik and Victoria trying out putting photos of Victoria's life on the floor

Sunniva Bodvin, who is going to be the scenographer in my project, was a great help, seeing all the new props from the outside. We will be able to evaluate the new staging and the new props, and how it influences the piece, on the concert on Sep 3. Strangely enough, after working with Victoria counts for almost 4 years, we still do not completely know how to express the core of the piece. The music is very abstract, but of course, it also has various dramatical levels. It moves from almost total silence to cacophonies of domestic sounds; my voice, almost screaming, counting, sound processing and loud violin playing.

Not only a composer.


installation and concert April 2

reese_liten2April  2 I went to see the opening of Kirsten Reese Angelic Streamers in Paulus Church in Oslo. Home made cassettes with music meaningful to the contributors from any genre were mixed and send out in small sequences through small loudspeakers in the church.

I also had the chance to hear a concert at with Wu Fei (gu Zheng og voc)
Rolf-Erik Nystrøm (sax). A very inspiring evening and my first meeting with the Chinese harpinstrument gu Zheng.

The harpist used a very virtuous technique using a bottleneck on many fingers, and the instrument was resonant and beautiful. As always it was great to hear Rolf Erik and his improvisations.72688_620x

On photo: Wu Fei (gu Zheng og voc)
Rolf-Erik Nystrøm (sax)


ftm workshop and concert


Rehersal with Diemo Schwarz at BEK

March 9-13 I participated on a FTM workshop at Bek in Bergen led by Diemo Schwarz from Ircam. A very challenging but interesting workshop. FTM is an extension for Max/MSP and PureData providing a small and simple real-time object system and a set of optimized services. ( Towards the end of the workshop he also went through Gabor and CaraRT.  In Gabor I founded some really interested pre-programmed patches I want to try out. Friday 13.3 I played a concert at Landmark together with Diemo Schwarz. He first had a soloimprovisastion followed by our improvisation and then the soundartist James Webb performed. During the stay I also worked with Thomas Dahl creating some new soundscapes for our piece. He used some of his favourite filters and features in Ableton. I think we have some really interesting material now; I just have find time to work and develop sounds and practice with the midipedal.  I want the pedal for to feel like an extension of my instrument so every move become smooth and sensitive.
I also worked with videoartist Mattias with our realtimeimprovisation concept. He is now using a “box” to project on. It feels much more like a symbiotic connection between audio and visual when we both relate to the visual material on the box.
On March I rehearsed with Diemo Schwarz at Bek. It was really interesting. I hope I can put some sound out in a while.


Mattias Arvastsson projecting on an object. We will use this for our next gig.3353838808_894243aa07_m5

Diemo Schwarz and me at concert at Landmark


concert, finally

February 26 we premièred Victoria Counting II together with pieces by Frounberg and Kruglevicius. The whole performance called counting, memory and interrogation was full in the first performance. I think it worked well with the performance as a whole and that the diversity of the pieces gave variation for the audience. I have got lots of positive feedback, but also new thoughts about future work for the piece. I really like to be in a “closed” room surrounded by audience, 8 speakers and the videoscreens. We separated my sound so the 4 genelec,s in the inner circle had the non processed violin sound, and the four big speakers in the corners of the room had the processed sound. A good idea from Ivar Frounberg.


On photo: Mattias Arvastsson and Victoria Johnson playing at Vinterlyd

The fact that Henrik Hellstenius and I have worked with the human, musical, staging and visual questions for many years, has changed my way of looking at musical pieces. I see them as a long lasting projects with potential of great development rather than a piece. I used a whole day reading texts by Gurdjieff trying to understand the end of the piece. What does happen after you have been counting from 1-50 and back 7 times observing yourself and your thoughts? Is it possible to be more present in the daily life with all your roles and doings? How do you cope as an artist with all your stress and obligations? The piece creates an arena for me to invstigate this issues in an artistic way and hopefully will tha audience also feel some familiarity in these issues.

October 2020