First stop is Visby International Centre for Composers (VICC) where I’ll be doing a residency in February.
… below a bright sun dog (parhélie) photographed on December 18 in Skärholmen, Sweden.
As a farewell to my time as a music producer (among other things) at the Swedish National Radio (many tears involved), I made an updated version of my old Kalejdoskop.
Kalejdoskop is a personal late-night mix tape with music played and created in any possible manner, from a robot player to a flute charming serpents in the desert. As I wrote… dive in with open ears!
I had been producing music recordings for the Swedish National Radio for many years, my latest position being head of selection and production of recordings of orchestra, opera, jazz, folk and chamber music in the Southern part of Sweden, for national broadcast on channel P2. For this channel I had also previsouly worked with many other orchestras in the rest of Sweden – especially projects with the Swedish Radio National Orchestra which you’ll find further down on this page – though I’ve collaborated with other ensembles as a free-lance in other countries before that… scroll down:)
I was commissioned a work for the Acoustic Atlas by Cobi van Tonder. The Atlas is a fascinating website where you can pick an acoustic space anywhere on the globe and listen to yourself in it (if you have headphones and a mic!). The commission included both a music piece, which I’ve called Snømaskn (chimera), and a space, which I’ve imagined and conceived to be used in the Atlas. You’ll find the stories of both the piece and the space below, underneath the artwork I made for the piece; as well as Cobi’s notes on the concept of Echoes and Reflections.
ABOUT THE PIECE
Chimera through time-space reflection
I had this idea to make something “impossible” – or unreal, as a “chimera”: an impossible appearance of sources originating in an electric or electronic process, in an acoustic atmosphere where they do not belong. The resulting space is an attempt to connect several different acoustic worlds through immaterial underground paths.
To enter the imaginary space, listen to the piece: it starts with electronic drops, like morse signals from an unreachable space. The space builds up as the narrative develops around an interview with the snow maintenance company for railways, from processed news prep archive tapes from the 60s, that I process time-wise – thinking of “mirroring” as a timely process, time running back and forth, continuing into another subject about future space stations.
“Mais tu ne peux pas l’entendre,
la chimère aux yeux de rêve/de verre.
Et où disparaît la route
Quand la nuit tombe sur nous ?”
(But you can’t hear it, you’re the chimera with eyes made of glass/of dreams. And where does the road disappear, when the night falls us?) (Cikatri$, Quand la Nuit Tombe sur Nous)
Drums played by Jonas Jonsson
Aurélie’s imaginary space
A rare type of marble has been discovered beside a regular mine in the region of XXX in Northern Scandinavia, off a faraway drift deep underneath the surface. An underground excavation is secretly started, that follows the extracting habits of marble quarries from the Alentejo region in Portugal – think, building a pink marble cathedral underground as a monolith. This works fine for a while, as the added dimension of a “roof” do not seem make the whole structure weaker than the usual open-sky excavation site. When the marble runs out, the idea of installing an experimental nuclear reactor in the created space is investigated, as an underground location was believed safer at the time (in the end this reactor will be installed at R1 underneath Stockholm instead). Unfortunately, as years go by the mining ground in the region becomes unstable. The tunnel connecting the “cathedral” to the regular “official” mine is walled off and the space condemned, any trace of information such as exact location is discarded. All remaining equipment is re-labeled as belonging to a company in charge of snow maintenance in a distant city. Since the exact location of the secret marble excavation cannot be displayed, we are using as GPS coordinates a barycenter of all mines in production in the area in the late 60s, when the unusual snow maintenance equipment mentioned above was reported.
Echoes and Reflections is a series of 9 sound works created by artists commissioned by the Acoustic Atlas. These works bring a unique experience to listeners by combining virtual acoustic heritage sites with composition, whilst reflecting on the myth and meaning of Echo. Everything about our consciousness seems to be a continuing process of mirroring – from language, behavior, empathy, sharing tweets and internet memes. Music is the most delightful mirroring of consciousness that ripples in our minds to continue its evolution. Music can also be the matter that crosses all boundaries between interior (body-mind) space and exterior world, which in turn is so beautifully mirrored in architecture with its play between exterior landscape or elements and interior closeness or safety.
– Cobi van Tonder
Preparing for a gig at the Swedish Embassy in Copenhagen with member-colleagues Henning (piano) and Sibille (Paloma) while I played and processed theremin, violin and voice. This improvisation trio was one of our activities as members of the think tank UTOM (Unga tankar om musik) this year which included several days of action and reflexion over the music world and industry.
May-June: Creation residency at Obras, Portugal
I returned to Obras in Portugal for a longer creation residency. This will require a separate recap which I haven’t had time for yet. I draw, started writing a string quartet, played up Musicomexp for fellow co-residents, performed a gig with musician colleague Peter Van Huffel, followed abandoned railways, tried to resurrect the “hidden paradise” bird miracle and failed, hunted spiders, grew stuff, and played swimming pool theremin (video below). And also, did studies and first attempts of a larger piece including painted with fire and embroidery, and made it: it’s called Boca (mouth in Portuguese). Then Boca traveled by itself from Alentejo to Skärholmen and almost disappeared in another dimension. But that’s another story… Here’s a detail below, full results will be unveiled soon.
Many thanks to the Obras Foundation directors Ludger van der Eerden and Carolien van der Laan for their precious help and support.
…below a video of swimming pool theremin on a late June night.
Jurys and gigs
This July I’ve been again jury member for examinations at the Paris Conservatoire, but also jury member for the Ung Nordisk Musik composition competition towards Ung Nordisk Musik Festival in Reykjavik 2023. This competition is intended for composers under 30, and we’ve experienced, let’s say, an impressively large spectrum of sensibilities among participants.
This spring I’ve been busy producing orchestra, opera and chamber music recordings, being in charge of production selection and realization for the Southern part of Sweden, for the National Radio music channel P2.
I have been producing music for P2 for many years, but discovering this other part of the country was a collection of beautiful encounters and amazing productions. I’ll miss you, South Sweden, and my beloved music team there!
My piece “How to Draw a Helicon” was in the final of the 2022 Mauricio Kagel Composition Competition in Vienna in February! It was an incredible honor to hear it performed and discussed: first performed by students from the mdw- University of Music and Performing Arts; then discussed by the most qualified and honest jury – indeed I did not win, but what a journey for this piece “for three young pianists and a grand piano” involving talking, falling, screaming, rolling under the piano, etc. Looking forward to new performances—
Programme notes :
This is the story of a question asked in a world where it doesn’t have an answer.
Still of course, many will try to make sense and find something to say.
While untangling all these voices, the three players progressively find themselves
caught up in a whirl, like falling endlessly along the shape of a helix.
Phase 3 of our project Eilíft sólskin was a creative residency in the south of France in the very last days of 2021. I was invited with duet Lila Bazooka – sound guru Céline Grangey and experimental bassoon priestess Sophie Bernado – for a week of composition on stage at the Astrada in Marciac.
Remember phase 1 of Eilíft sólskin was an explorative and collaborative residency in Iceland in July 2021, including scientists, Icelandic musicians (including Berglind María Tómasdóttir featured below), folk music archives, a remote farm festival and some humpback whales.
Phase 2 was a creative week at Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) in Stockholm in October 2021 where we processed large amounts of the raw matter into diverse modules.
Look for the final phase of this project in the second half of 2023! – then all different parts will finally be put together: Eilíft sólskin as Lila Bazooka and me, guested by our Icelandic colleagues, playing on stage the special piece that’s the result of this all. Stay tuned!!
Eilíft sólskin – New composition project!
I was invited by Lila Bazooka (Sophie Bernado & Céline Grangey) to join “Eilíft sólskin” – a new chapter in their adventures: an itinerant composition residency combining meeting/playing with Icelandic musicians (Eyjólfur Eyjólfsson, Berglind María Tómasdóttir…) and recording the forces of nature, geysers, sources, humpback whales etc in different parts of the country… after some improvised gigs, in a possessed church or in a dark farm (violin/song/ribbon-theremin for me), crazy encounters, boat trips and hydrophone mysteries, we are declared ready for the next phase of the project, a creation residency in December in Marciac in the south of France, gig included (stay tuned!)
Pictured below in Husavik, a humpback whale study station on the Northern coast of Iceland.
Also, Elektronmusikstudion just re-opened after a long lockdown and no access to modular legends there. Joy! I returned yesterday to prepare a week of residency with Eilíft sólskin in October.
I am – actually – currently working myself on purely acoustic pieces – one for six hands, another one is a septet, another one with voices, and all include staging! – soon booking workshops with musicians, more info about these pieces during this fall.
I am now a member of “Unga tankar om musik”, a think tank and reference group connecting 40 actors of the music industry under 40 years-old, in Sweden – as of now under the Royal Academy of Music. More info about our activities here.
Covid made me do a lot of filming…
I’ve been script creator and score supervisor in a series of orchestra concerts in Berwaldhallen – these productions are available online with the selection changing regularly so check again later if you don’t find what you wanted!
I’ve been music producer and assistant director for another movie made inside and around the hall – this time we’ve worked around Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll: watch it here.
….And, yet another movie with this creative team – Andrew Staples is directing, I’m music producer and assistant director, filming ensured by Berwaldhallen coworkers. This one is based on the creation of a new piece by Britta Byström for Malin Broman, who’s once again performing all 8 parts – do you remember the Mendelssohn octet viral video?
This new Octet film goes in a completely different direction – here’s a hint in the picture below! It will be premiered online and in concert at the Baltic Sea Festival on September 10, 2021.