Ensemble & Ensemble of Me is an artistic research fellowship project carried out at the Norwegian Academy of Music, as part of The Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme between 2011 and 2015. In this project I produced solo improvisations deriving from the music of two improvising ensembles to which I belong: Dans les arbres and Huntsville, and I produced collective improvisations with the ensembles.
The project’s key questions:
- What are my concepts when improvising with the ensembles and when improvising alone?
- How do the ensemble improvisations inform my solo improvisations?
- What do I think about when I think about our and my own improvisations?
The Haruki Murakami-paraphrase in the sub-heading indicates a process of on-going reflection upon what I regard as key aspects when I improvise. More specifically, what I regard as key aspects in the music of Dans les arbres and Huntsville, as well as for my own solo improvisations. These reflections reveal key aspects and main challenges that emerged during my attempts to create solo works informed by the ensembles. The reflections are chiefly documented in the form of a personal encyclopaedia. The encyclopaedia includes audio and visual examples, both from the final artistic results and from artistic activity during the project.
With Goodbye Intuition we seek to challenge our roles and artistic preferences as improvising musicians by improvising with "creative" machines. In our project the machines can both take the role of a performer for us to play with and they can be extensions of our own instruments. They can become both our duet partners and they can be additions, expansions or augmentations of our sound. Playing is core in our investigation, and it is based on this experience we try to articulate thoughts and answers to the following questions:
- How do we improvise with "creative" machines, how do we listen, how do we play?
- How will improvising within an interactive human-machine domain challenge our roles as improvisers?
- What music emerge from the human-machine improvisatory dialogue?
The project's artists are Andrea Neumann (GER), Morten Qvenild (NOR) and Ivar Grydeland (NOR). The artist Sidsel Endresen (NOR) is our observer, commentator, critic and discussion partner. Norwegian Center for Technology in Music and the Arts (NOTAM) is our technological collaborator. Additionally, musician, composer and researcher Henrik Frisk (SWE), writer, musician, composer David Toop (UK) and director and writer Annie Dorsen (US) contributes to the project.
At our concerts we want to be firestarters for chaos, the unexpected, and fierce moshpits. We attempt to establish directionless energy with no particular purpose other than to fuck shit up in an everyday existence that we often feel to be dull, passive and predictable. Through this practice there is in particular one type of experience for which I have garnered an interest – what role danger and fear can play in a musical experience. And, right in the midst of it; the encounter of “zen” in chaos. When I, by chance, came across an article on danger music it became clear that danger in music already was conceptualized. What sort of experiences do we share? What accesses to understand the phenomena danger music is there? What place can these seldom and special experiences of mine of quiet, calm and clearness have in danger music?