Archive for the 'work in progress' Category

22
Feb
11

Concert September 3, 2010

At the concert, Alexander Refsum Jensenius and I performed our piece Transformation, exploring improvisation in time and space during this concert that also featured pieces by Henrik Hellstenius, Thomas Dahl and an improvisation by Victoria Johnson and Peter Tornquist.

Alexander and I have been collaborating for several years on exploration of various types of technologies for musical expression. The piece currently presented is based on video analysis using modules from the Musical Gestures Toolbox in Jamoma and CataRT.

By moving inside a seemingly empty space, I have slowly explored a sonic landscape of thousands of short fragments of various violin sounds. The space thus becomes a musical entity in itself, a space that the violinist both controls and interacts with at the same time. What seemed to be an empty space at first, is left as a sonic space in our memory when the piece ends.

For Victoria Counting IV we used the new visual ideas from the workshop (see previous posts), and added a new direction, made mainly by Henrik Hellstenius. The new direction made me very busy on stage, at first sitting on a low stool, after a while started to run when playing, and looking for my lost photos when at the same time looking at all the photos from my life.

From the dress rehearsal, kneeling on the little stool.

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16
Aug
10

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.

13
Aug
10

Workshop August 3-4. Motion capture

I’ve not been able to update this blog since March, due to troubles with my arm. I’m now back in business, planning a solo concert on September 3.

Due to the arm problems I’ve had to postpone my final performance, but I will still have a “work in progress” performance on Sep 3. For the first time in 3 years I had the possibility to practice over a long period in the concert hall in the Academy of Music. I had access to the hall for 5 whole working days, and did not have to rig down every evening. I have realized, during this project, that rigging and solving technical problems take – worst case – up to 80-90% of my time. Usually there is too little time for working musically with the right set-up in the right room. The fact that I seldom have access to a big space for more than one day, means that I always feel that I haven’ practised and experimented enough musically.

Alexander Jensenius stabilizes the camera before climbing to the ceiling

Alexander Jensenius stabilizes the camera before climbing to the ceiling

This was also the case the first day of the workshop; Alexander Refsum Jensenius and I used 5 hours to rig up the 8 speakers and the motion capture system (with video analysis) in the hall. On the first day we had only one hour of musical activities, and our brain capacity was rather poor (after removing two Steinways, repairing the door to get the pianos out, fighting with our mixer, placing the video camera 15 m up in the ceiling.) 😀  We decided to let the 4 inner speakers define the soundspace, forming a square. The size of the square was decided by the video camera that was mounted in the ceiling.  We tested some new pre-sets in CataRT and found that the pre-set silent segmentation made the sound stay for a long time and made it difficult to interact with the electronics, which is the goal for the whole project. We also experimented with an amount of reverb, because the concert hall in itself has a lot of it. To level equally the sound of the violin and the electronics was also an issue we worked on that day.

On August 4, with fresh brains, we started to work musically with our set-up. We used Alexander’s video analysis transition, so that video analysis could be used as a controller for CataRT. In earlier workshops we have gone through all the pre-sets in CataRT, testing various loudspeaker set-ups, and now we could concentrate on deciding what kind of violin sounds we wanted to use.

Strangely enough, some sounds that worked in an non-acoustical room, did not work in the concert hall. The most brutal sounds, like crush tones and strong pizzicati, sounded much too brutal in the hall. After an hour or two Sidsel Endresen (my superviser in improvisation) turned up to listen to our music. Her feedback was that I should think of the electronics as a musician, a person you play with and against. And to let this interaction guide my movements, and not vice versa. And the music which happens when I don’t play, only move, (ghost playing) is not a goal in itself, but rather a result of a musical process. And the curiosity and eagerness to explore the soundscape which emerges must be what drives you.

I’m so glad that we could go more into the musical issues!! Thanks to Sidsel for coming.

19
Dec
09

video-analysis and spatialisation

December 9&10 I worked with Alexander Refsum Jensenius in video-analysis and Catart again. The theme for the workshop was spatialisation. Alexander had recently been to Denmark working with Dan Overholt on the same issue so we tired out a new patch called grid they had worked on together when he was i Denmark. We used spatialisation using V-bap and video-analysis tracking my position at the floor. And then we managed to let the sound follow me when I walked around in the space. We also did an experiment in Catatrt using homogeneous sounds like pizzicato  and instead of the preset chop we tried silence segmentation. That did nor work that well because the grain got a sot of delay (The patch s looking for silent zones) The evaluation of that preset is that I can  not control the sound with my movements.

We also tried to use 2 sound corpus’s in Catart and one grid-patch and reverb for maximum expression and sound in the room. That worked well. I think we are getting nearer what we want to achieve using the space. The next theme will be how to start with an empty space record sound  in Catart in realtime and then interact with the sound in the space.

12
Oct
09

Autumn 2009

I have also participated in the conference Sensious Knowledge at Solstrand, Bergen (September 23-25) and made a presentation in International Contemporary Music days in Gothenburg (October 2-3 rd 2009) During the seminar at Solstrand we heard many interesting presentations, but the most interesting thing was for me to meet other artist outside my field. In the conference in Gothenburg was about the boundaries of interpretation and practical Artistic research and was very interesting for my project. I did the presentation together with Henrik Hellstenius. I also played some excerpts of Victoria Counts II during the presentation.

Video-analysis and CatArt

Having the second workshop together with Alexander R Jensenius (October 5-6) has given me more understanding about how CatArt works. Again using a fairly big space at the Academy (4x4m) gave us the possibility to go through many different parameters in CatArt to evaluate what works the best. In this space it works best if the grains are fairly evenly distributed like in preset 2: Spectral centroid periodicity Loudness. Using this preset I am then able to use the whole space to interact. It also works best if the sounds we use are not too brutal and strong. (crush does not work so well as pizzicato and flageolets)

Working with open form

October 7-9 we had rehearsals for the open form festival in November practising Else Storesunds piece Liquid Vapour. The piece is based on schemes and graphs from a research book about water. We use these schemes as a starting point and ground for improvisations where the theme is water.

04
Aug
09

recording

IMG_4862June 25 and 26 Peter Tornquist and I met to record the sound material for the installation at Lydgalleriet this Autumn. We got very good support from Ulf Holand at NMH how to get every line recorded separately. We used Ableton live for recording and Peter used his beautiful Syntplant and GRM tools as well as Ableton.

We discovered many new sounds and worked with  noice, minimalistic elements and melodic elements using  “freeze” device in GRM tools. Peter used several at the same time to create the feelig of looping. We also worked on transformation from one musical state to another. After a while we discovered that the musical landscape led by the choice of tool in the syntplant, GRM tools and Ableton  gave the best musical result.

4821_1134077035410_1331848594_30464192_4527756_n

18
Jan
09

realtime-video and audio

I had my first experience with real-time video/audio improvisation on my stay in Bergen  January 15-17 th.

Being able to have space at BEK Mattias Arvastsson and I worked on Victoria Counting II as well as  real-time improvisation together. I also got to meet Trond Lossius at Bek Jørgen Larsson at Lydgalleriet to discuss a project for the Autumn. More about this later. Fortunately I got to see see the opening of the exibition “Composers in Space” at Lydgalleriet as well as the exibition Looking is Political at Bergen kunsthall the same evening. img_4304

From “Composers in space at Lydgalleriet”, work by: Bjørn Erik Haugen

The electric guitarist and composer Thomas Dahl from Bergen  is also one of the composers in my project. We luckily now founded time to work together, and trying out some sound material in live and guitar rig.img_42971

Thomas Dahl working at BEK.




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