1. Introduction

1.1 Background

As an improvising singer since the early 90s I see myself as a part of a modern Norwegian/European jazz tradition represented by musicians like Sidsel Endresen, Nils Petter Molvær, Jon Balke and Bugge Wesseltoft among others, and not least by a lot of my fellow students at the Conservatory in Trondheim in the 90s: Eldbjørg Raknes, Arve Henriksen, Christian Wallumrød, Ståle Storløkken, Trygve Seim and their various ensembles. The open attitude towards music, and the act of improvisation, were responsible for my decision to shift from classical music, where I was formally educated, to improvised music. I had an interest in vocalists with an experimental and instrumental approach, like Diamanda Galás, Maria Joao, Shainko Namtchylak, Bobby Mc Ferrin and Cathy Berberian, etc. At the same time, the use of electronics by artists such as Laurie Anderson, Elin Rosseland and Eldbjørg Raknes, awakened my fascination for the use of processed voice sound as such. Since then I have been operating in musical scenery which I experience as genre crossing, mixing impulses from both contemporary music, jazz, world, pop, rock and noise, etc, but with improvisation as an important starting point and principle.

The electronic manipulation of sound presents, as I see it, a possibility for expanding, or even re-defining the voice as an instrument and therefore also a vocalist’s role in the musical interaction. This redefining of the voice is not only present in electronic sound manipulation; many performers and composers have challenged the traditional roles of the vocalist through the use of voice experimentation and new musical approaches. As I see it, the use of electronic processing can create different forms of distance, or abstraction, from the natural voice sound. This opens up even more, and in another way, the possibilities of interacting with other instruments and taking on new roles in the musical interplay. In addition, different devices and techniques for recording and playing back in real time (sampling) also change the musical functions that the vocalist and the voice can have. From my experience, this is particularly interesting in improvised music.


1.2 Artistic project and focus


In this artistic research project I have been exploring new possibilities and roles as an improvising vocalist. I have been working with a mix of electronically processed voice sound and the use of acoustic voice sound in the improvised interplay. Further, I have explored artistic possibilities for the vocalist in the continuum ranging from narrative storytelling to abstract” sound manipulation, within the same performance/form.  This last part has been carried out as a solo performance, and also as a specific research project.

The first part of my research has focussed on the artistic use of equipment/tools for the electronic manipulation of sound; exploring and developing technical and musical skills and methods, and developing further the musical ideas generated by these. This has been related to my work with specific musical settings, which represent various frameworks for improvisation with a mix of acoustic and electronic sounds. The ensembles and the musicians taking part in them can all be recognised within an open, contemporary European jazz/improv tradition. It has been important for me to reach the point where I can work with electronics in an intuitive way, to find new ways of using them in the interplay and also to find musical solutions for needs that have been discovered during the process. This work has been an ongoing process throughout the whole period of my project.

As a second part of my research I have worked with a project entitled short-story of sound ”. My idea has been to make use of the spoken, narrative text, as a counterpart to the more abstract, processed sound of the voice. I wanted to go into the role of the storyteller and try to combine this with my role as a musician, in a musical monologue” which explored and combined different vocal expressions. I wanted to examine what happens in the relationship between audience and the performer, when the voice moves back and forth in this continuum between referential meaning and pure sound”. In this project I have been cooperating with NTNU researcher Andreas Bergsland, also as part of his postdoctoral project entitled Live electronics from a performativity perspective.

1.3 Methods and theories


One of my obligations as a research fellow has been to reflect critically on and in my working process along the way, and on the artistic results. Before going into my working methods, I will therefore discuss the critical discourse in my project.

1.3.1 Artistic research and practice

I am operating in a field where embodied, intuitive knowledge has top priority, and where the word “intellectualisation” is often used as a description for something that can be disturbing rather than fruitful to the artistic process. (This seems to be a parallel to the term ‘academisation’, used in Borgodoff: The Debate on Research in the Arts,2006, p. 8. [1]) This situation – which is probably recognisable to many artistic researchers has made me worried. Transparency through critical discourse is an ideal and a keyword in academic research, especially in the Humanities. In my field of practitioners, the verbal discourse in academic terms and language is very often not recognised as being transparent, but rather as a closed field for specialists. So I ask: Can the critical reflection in my research, in its form, become valid and transparent for this field of practitioners? And what is – in my project theory, recognised as the valid discourse that can make my artistic work open for reflection?

1.3.2 Language as a processual tool

In her essay “Lighting from the Side, Rhetoric and Artistic Research”[2], Aslaug Nyrnes suggests a model for discussing artistic research from a rhetorical point of view (Nyrnes, 2006). Adopting a position between classical rhetoric (you know what you say and why you are saying it) and new rhetoric (you know that you do not know what you are saying and why you are saying it), she points to language as being not only as a communicator of findings, but also as being embedded in the entire research process.

It is important that rhetoric includes both logical and artistic language and recognises that there are no definite borders between or clear classifications of these different types of language. Nyrnes points to the fact that there will always be verbal language connected to the research process, but that verbal language and the “language of the art” could never be interchangeable (cf. Nyrnes, 2006, pp. 6-7).

In this perspective, the verbalising of an artistic research project is not primarily a way of presenting it, but also a means for understanding and developing it further. This has also been my experience, i.e. that language is a tool for me in this process.

1.3.3 Theory in artistic research

Nyrnes also suggests an understanding of art research in spatial terms. As in rhetorical theory, there is already an existing  “landscape” connected to the subject or topic discussed, which one has to orientate oneself in. She suggests a model where the artistic researcher is moving between three main places, or sites, in this landscape: The language of the researcher The language of the material/research object/artistic field Theory (systematic language)  (cf. Nyrnes, 2006, p. 14). The language of the researcher includes the already familiar artistic register. The research object is the material developing into an artistic production. Theory is a systematic language, inherent in the artistic field. Nyrnes argues that one can discuss theory in the arts' own language:

“Theory is revealed in the principles that can be spotted in the pile of examples at hand. This means that theory has to do with a comparative view rather than induction or deduction”. (Nyrnes, 2006, p. 16)


This partly answers some of my questions. Nyrnes' model suggests a flexible use of language, and a search for the language and “theory” that lies inherent in the field that the artistic research relates to. This “theory” is what my work is seen in the light of throughout the research process.

1.3.4 Intertwined theories, practical work and the outline of my critical reflection

With a definition of theory in the critical discourse, as comparative and inherent in the field, I can focus on the critical reflection in my project more clearly. I can see how the relationship with other artists and genres has been supplying my work with parallels and opposites. My solo and group rehearsals, the recordings and evaluations of rehearsals, the notes in my log on different levels after rehearsals and performances, reflections on the postproduction of recordings, playing with other musicians, conversations with other musicians, colleges and supervisors, researching audience feedback, adjusting and discovering new things, listening to other musicians, reading what other musicians are thinking, writing my reflections for someone to read and understand, presenting my project and taking part in the compulsory programme activities… all of this involves constantly moving between the different sites of Nyrnes' model: the language of the researcher the research object the theory. The theories in use will not necessarily stand out as theories along the way: often they will intertwine naturally and rather be identified as theories when taking a step out of the artistic process taking a comparative view.

This intertwining of theories is therefore unavoidable when giving form to the critical reflection. I find it useful now, in this regard, to create an outline where I point out where these theories are most obviously implemented and used in my writings and examples.

Outline of my critical reflection:

In the present section (1.8), I see my artistic background, development and choices in the light of important principles and developments in my genre and its surrounding artistic fields.

In Chapter 2, I look at my choice of tools and techniques – in the lightof:

-       The act of improvisation

-       The aesthetics of my genre

-       Discussions and developments in music technology

In Chapter 3, I look at new musical parameters made available through the use of technology, and I also describe an experience-based model for categorising processed voice sounds in the light of:

-       The position of the sole acoustic voice as an instrument in music

-       Theories and research on how the natural and processed voice is perceived in music

-       The experience of voice, meaning and language in sound poetry and the spoken word

-       The need for structuring choices, predictability and the  “inner ear” in improvisation

In Chapter 4, I look at new roles for the vocalist through the use of live electronics in the light of:

-       The singer's traditional role in music and interplay

-       The different musical structures and situations in the improvised interplay

In Chapter 5, I describe how technological tools also can create new strategies in the performance situation for a vocal ensemble in the light of the connection between control and intuitive action in improvisation.

In Chapter 6, I look briefly at challenges and strategies in my field of genre –crossing improvisation in the light of:

-       The mediation between sound-based and intervallic improvisation

-        The Eurological and Afrological elements in modern improvisation

In Chapter 7, I look at the process of bringing in the role of the storyteller into a musical performance with the voice and live electronics in the light of audience feedback collected through research collaboration with musicologist Andreas Bergsland.

The “theories” are of a different nature and operate on different levels. Some of them are inherent in the processual nature of real-time improvisation, some are inherent in the aesthetic practices in my field, and some are based on observations, reflections and formulations in the field of musicology. All of the “theories” are not necessarily chosen as a starting point for the research, but are recognised as being relevant – or also as already implemented along the way. In this way, I experience the situation as an artistic researcher closely connected to my situation as a practitioner which is important, not only for me, but, as I see it, for the question of validity in the research.

1.3.5 Transparency, language and form of the critical reflection

I have already questioned the transparency of this research, if it is conveyed in academic terms and language, in the form of the thesis. One could of course argue that the artistic results in themselves, as performed in the artistic language, would convey the research to the artistic field in a satisfactory way. I will not go into that discussion, but as I see it, there is an opportunity – and, in this research project, also an obligation to make the artistic research valuable as something more than the artistic results also for the field of practitioners. To me, this is a challenge that is reflected in the way I choose to present my critical reflection.

Internet design as a form

I have chosen to present my critical reflection on the web, as a part of my website www.toneaase.no.(And also, in 2014 here at researchcatalogue.net.) Compared to an academic thesis in the form of a book, even when supplied with sound and video examples, I regard the possibilities provided by presenting my work in a web-based way, as being dramatically different.  I experience putting music and video examples directly “into the text”, sometimes with important comments popping up in real time, ( by the use of Soundcloud on my website) as being a much more efficient and precise way of presenting my work compared to : reading the book, finding the right sound example, turning it on, and then going back to where you were in the text and reading about the music (as with a “thesis with a CD solution”.) The web form, as I see it, adds to the transparency of the reflection. There are some implications to be mentioned; reading 150 pages on a computer screen can be tiresome: many of us prefer to print out articles, partly because this provides an opportunity to make notes in the text. Still, I think that having the text with the sound examples on the computer, even when reading from the printed text, makes a difference. Links to other relevant information inside and outside my text also provides a great opportunity still there are choices to be made in this respect (when will the opportunity to use a link disturb the reader?). My website has also been established as a place for me to convey my music and activities, and it has a global reach. In contact with students, audiences, other musicians or curators, my website is a place where I can provide information efficiently. I can also promote my website in other networks. Still, perhaps the most important aspect of this form is the opportunity provided for creating levels. In order to communicate this research, I have established three possible entrances on my website:

- Level 1: Music (the artistic product)

- Level 2: Music and comments on work

- Level 3: Full research text, including music

The music is what you meet when you enter my website. From the music there are links, for those who are interested, to “comments on work”, which are shorter comments, directly connected to the musical examples. The comments have further links to relevant parts of the full research text. This is not a solution I have seen at work elsewhere – and in this respect it is an experiment that I will continue to develop after the end of this project. After a while I will also want to present other, new music, and I may need to have a link and a level dedicated solely to the musical product of this research.

The use of examples

I have chosen to use quite a number of sounding examples and also videos in my reflection, in order to easily connect the reflection to the sounding and visual material the artistic language (c.f. Nyrnes, 2006). In some places I have used the same examples to demonstrate different aspects of what I have been working with. Focusing on the artistic work from different angels like this, is also, as I see it, a way of seeking transparency.

Verbal language

I have chosen to write my reflection in English, which is not my first language. This is a choice related to the opportunities provided for conveying my research. In order to be able to present my work in English, which has already been necessary at some of the conferences I have attended, I have needed to work with my project, to “know it” it, in this language. I also realise that my rather “simple” English will probably compare to the English of many of the non-English practitioners in my field, and that therefore this also adds to the transparency.


1.4 Research goals – what is “new”?


A main goal for this research has been to explore new possibilities and roles as an improvising vocalist. This might appear to be a rather vague goal – if the musical landscape in which I operate, with its inherent “theories”, is not considered to be the framework of this research.

“Theory is a strong language form. It is the bearer of the principal ways of viewing the world, and makes this view more specific. On the other hand, when one theory is selected, another is excluded. Thus, theory can clarify a situation by means of selecting some perspectives, and excluding others. This is very important when it comes to posing research questions. Theory encourages us to pose certain questions, and exclude others. One might say that this is the core of research methods.” (Nyrnes, 2006, p. 17)


During, and through my research, I have gradually become more aware of the genre and field I relate to, i.e. my artistic landscape. Even if I still look at my work as being genre-crossing and open to a variety of impulses, the process has made me aware of some important borderlines by reflecting on my personal choices. This demonstrates to me the importance of the artistic field’s “theories” as a way of selecting perspectives, and also it clarifies how the field’s implemented “theories” may become clearer through a research process. My goal: to explore new possibilities and roles as an improvising vocalist is fundamentally related to a genre. My relationship with this genre has emerged from my musical background, and this relationship is also mirrored by my choice of ensembles and musicians in this project (as pointed out in the project description (c.f. 1.1 and 1.2)). To summarise everything in one sentence, my goal could perhaps have been formulated more explicitly as: “To explore new possibilities and roles as an improvising vocalist, in the improvised interplay in the genre-crossing field of modern European jazz-improvisation”. This would not sound too good, but the formulation would point to the “theories” involved: the voice as an instrument, the genre, and the act of improvisation in interplay. By bringing in these fields of “theory”, it will be easier to identify the new in my research:

- The new possibilities in sound are new in the light of the acoustic voice as an instrument, andin the light of the use of these possibilities within my genre.

- The new roles, made available through these new possibilities, are new in the light of thesinger’s traditional role in the improvised interplay in my genre.

By using these new possibilities, I experience that new kinds of musical expressions are created in the interplays I take part in, that are contributing to my genre.

A second goal, connected to the work on my solo project, has been to “explore artistic possibilities for the vocalist in the continuum ranging from narrative storytelling to abstract”, processed sound, within the same performance/form.”  I wanted to “examine what happens to the relationship between the audience and the performer, when the voice moves back and forth in this continuum between referential meaning and pure sound”. What theories are involved? There could be many, and the questions are in some ways ambitious but also fairly simple; I wanted to know how the audience experienced the performance, and to use this information as a perspective and reference in my artistic development of a to me new form. What gave me the courage to go through with this idea, as a part of my research, was the opportunity provided for collaborating with musicologist Andreas Bergsland, who could use his theory and methods to set up a research situation and collect feedback from the audience. This feedback then became part of our “theory”. This performance form is new in the lightof my genre, although not new in form, when seem from the perspective of vocal performance art. However, the expression is individual, especially through the choice of the personal and “simple” story. When performed in the Norwegian language, it serves as a new contribution to the Norwegian contemporary scene.


1.5 Background and context

I see this artistic research project as a further development of the ideas, techniques and some of the music that I have been listening to and working with for the last 20 years. In this section I will try to draw some parallels with what my work has been motivated and inspired by, and how it connects to and can be seen in the light of other artists in the field. I will refer to a lot of musicians who have been important musical influences for me, or who are in other ways relevant to my work. Some of these names are linked to the artists’ respective homepages, where this has been possible and seemed natural. Some sound examples have been linked directly to the text, (on the website) with the generous approval of the Norwegian colleges concerned. The recordings they have been taken from, and the other recordings mentioned, will be found in the list of references.


1.5.1 Musical background

Operating in genre-crossing musical scenery, I see that many of my early experiences with music are still important and evident in what I do today. Therefore, as a start, I will explain briefly where I come from.

Like many singers, I started singing as a child, continued throughout my youth and started my formal musical training at the age of 20, as a classical singer. Side by side with Grieg, Bach and Mozart, I was singing in rock bands and gospel choirs, and gradually discovering and singing jazz. I was introduced to and inspired by a lot of records, concerts, fellow students and enthusiastic friends. In order to describe these musical influences briefly in a concrete and efficient way, “namedropping” actually seems to be the best method. Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, Monica Zetterlund, Radka Toneff and Chet Baker were some of my vocal jazz inspirations. Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, Jan Johansson and Chick Corea were important among my first strong instrumental jazz experiences. At the same time I listened to a wide range of artists; Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Kate Bush, Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, The Police, Manfred Mann, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Bob Marley were among the most important ones, representing different times and styles in the field of jazz/pop/rock music. I was also introduced to a fascinating new world of classical contemporary music through composers like Stravinsky, Berg, Schönberg, Nordheim, Valen and Cage, and traditional music from all over the world, with vocal music from Burundi perhaps making the strongest impression.

Still, throughout my initial years of formal education, I think it was the meeting with Tom Gamble, the British pioneer of children’s music education, and his course in classroom composition, that made the strongest impression[3]. Gamble introduced us to a method for practical and creative work where the focus was on the sound and timbre of group improvisations/compositions. To me, this opened up aspects that I had never previously been conscious of as a listener, performer and creator of music. I see this as my first experience with free improvisation, without knowing anything about the traditions behind it. After teaching and studying part-time for some years, I spent the last year of my Bachelor's degree course as a classical singer at the Music Conservatory in Trondheim (now the Department of Music, NTNU). I chose this institution because of the opportunities provided for working with improvisation; at that time it was the only place in Norway where one could study jazz, and I was lucky enough to get extra classes in improvisation with one of the founders of the Jazz Section, the saxophone player John Pål Inderberg. Meeting and working with a fellow student and jazz singer, Eldbjørg Raknes, in both the cappella group called Kvitretten and working with Raknes’ music for children, was an important inspiration and influence towards exploring further the possibilities of voice and improvisation. I was introduced to the music of singers who worked with the voice in a (to me) new and more instrumental way, some of them using alternative or extended vocal techniques: they introducedme to new ways of making voice sound, using special skills that differed from traditional singing techniques. These techniques were sometimes inspired by different types of traditional singing or the imitation of instruments or “real-life” sounds (like the overtone song and bird imitations of Shainko Namtchylak, or Bobby McFerrin’s “flageolet sounds”). I listened to the works of artists like Diamanda Galás, Maria Joao, Shainko Namtchylak, Bobby Mc Ferrin, Cathy Berberian, Meredith Monk and others. Further, the whole creative environment in and around the Jazz Department at the Conservatory in Trondheim was extremely important for focusing on different kinds of improvisation in further education and musicianship.

In 1989, during my period of teaching, I met the Norwegian trumpeter Jan Magne Førde, who used a small effect pedal at a concert with the “The Brass Brothers” ensemble. The sound produced by the effect pedal and the trumpet led me immediately to buy a similar pedal, and I started (slowly) to try out some electronic devices, which gradually became part of my live performances. I was not the only one working in this way: both my fellow students, Eldbjørg Raknes and Kristin Asbjørnsen, were experimenting and developing the use of electronics at that time. During this period I also started working with what later became the trio BOL (www.bol.no), with Ståle Storløkken and Tor Haugerud. I return to the impact that this band had on my work with electronics in Chapter 3. My Master's degree in musicology, with jazz vocals as my main instrument, commenced in 1994. My vocal teachers were Elin Rosseland and Sidsel Endresen, two great performing artists who have been inspirational for me both then and now. After years of professional practice as an improvising performer and teacher (and being a mother), I finished my Master's degree doing research on my own practice (NTNU 2007).


1.5.2 Contextualising in a practical field

Understanding my work as part of a musical scene and history as a whole is, as discussed in Section 1.3, crucial. This is what I see my project in the light of.  Since my project is first and foremost a practical investigation, I will have to leave the oversight of music and art history to the musicologists, and rather focus more on what has been most important for my practical musical development. A former fellow in the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Program, Andreas Aaase, puts it like this:

I don't think performing musicians practice source critique in the academic sense either, but gather influences instead, and establish new platforms of expression in a hunter-gatherer process. Consequently, I think I need to meet the demands for contextualization not through interdisciplinary theoretical art theory, but rather by naming my musical influences, showing what I have borrowed from whom. (Aase 2009[4])


Andreas Aase's project and mine are both similar and different. We are both working in the field of real-time improvisation, where embodied knowledge (“reflection in action” [5]) seem to have more crucial importance for the artistic outcome than the “reflection on and around action”, as pointed out in Section 1.3.1. Aase's project, “Improvisation in Scandinavian and traditional guitar”, is strongly connected to methods relating to jazz and traditional music. These are both oral traditions where (at least in the earlier part of jazz history) the performer’s sense of tradition and stylistic detail is crucial. In both traditions direct imitation and “borrowing” are important methods for gradually “reconstructing” your play to a larger or lesser degree, and thereby creating your own style rooted in tradition. Aase's influences are very clear and outspoken, and can easily be traced in his practical work. My project is however, not quite as clear as Aase's when it comes to tradition and sources. In my project it will be more difficult to show in a concrete way “what I have borrowed from whom” as Aase puts it. After finishing my period of singing jazz standards and Joni Mitchell tunes, practicing imitation and studying stylistic details has not been my method. My method has rather been, along with creating and performing music for the acoustic voice, also experimenting and exploring new musical possibilities with electronic instruments and sounds, and investigating the new roles this work has opened up for me as a vocalist in the field of improvised music. My work is not concentrated on one type of musical expression alone. It is based on influences from a diversity of genres, and also the musical expressions and personalities of the musicians I have played with along the way. Many of these expressions can be recognised as part of the large, highly diverse and genre-crossing field of modern jazz; others as part of the smaller, but diverse field of vocal performance art – and some crossing both fields. Other influences have also been important for my project. In the following I will therefore try to reveal how I experience my influences under these “labels”:

- The field of modern jazz

- The field of vocal performance art

- Other influences

Further, I will look briefly at how my work relates to and also differs from some of the (to me) relevant artists in these fields, which I will do in the section entitled “Other artists and me”.

1.5.3 The field of modern jazz

I see myself as a part of the modern Norwegian /European jazz scene. When I “discovered” this scene in the early 90s, it was through the music of artists such as Jan Garbarek, Sidsel Endresen, Radka Toneff, Nils Petter Molvær, Jon Balke/Jøkleba, Elin Rosseland and Bugge Wesseltoft among others, and not least during the following years through a lot of my fellow students at the Conservatory in Trondheim at that time: Eldbjørg Raknes, Arve Henriksen, Christian Wallumrød, Ståle Storløkken, Trygve Seim and others. I literally fell in with  a bunch of extremely creative musicians during a period when a lot of new things were happening in Trondheim. So, looking back, I am trying to see how this has influenced my development as a musician. It is also natural, to some degree, to try to understand how the modern Norwegian jazz scene that I experienced in the 90s, is reflecting important developments in the history of jazz, improvisation and music. This history has many versions, depending on who is looking and listening. It also has, for each musician and music listener, an individual version, based on personal experiences along the way. Instead of trying to create an objective, general overview of the historical lines in this very diverse picture, it seems more fruitful to start with my own peak experiences and trace some musical connections from there.

For me, there is a link between three very important vocalists: Billy Holiday, Joni Mitchell and Sidsel Endresen. They are very different stylistically, but what strikes me is their free and distinct approach to rhythmic and melodic phrasing, that often makes me think that they are not actually singing a composition, but interpreting it freely, creating it anew with great liberty and originality. They are not “fulfilling clichés”, but rather creating their own stylistic language. A similar freedom is also clearly present in the work of Karin Krog, who is certainly also a very important member of the modern Norwegian jazz scene. I can of course find an even more virtuoso, although different freedom in the work of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, not to mention the inventiveness and more experimental approach that Betty Carter represents. And Chet Baker’s elegant phrasing resembles for me ‘the Billy Holiday approach’, but in a smoother, more distanced way. The kind of “instrumental freedom” that these singers represent to me is still based on a rather strict stylistic language and framework. These latter singers were therefore important for me as an introduction to harmonic improvisation, but though inspiring and impressing, they were not as relevant for me as I moved on to other musical approaches.

There is also an obvious link between Miles Davis’s genre-crossing works and his minimalistic and sound-oriented approach on his instrument, to the works of Nils Petter Molvær, Arve Henriksen and Trygve Seim. They are all musicians who have inspired me because of their focus on sound, both acoustic and (in the case of Molvær and Henriksen) electronic, and also because of their play with genres.

What really attracted me when meeting the modern jazz scene in the 90s was the collective approach displayed by some of the improvising ensembles I was listening to, especially Jøkleba ( Ouvertyre, Jøkleba! Live! 1996) and Veslefrekk. (Rundgang,Veslefrekk NorCD 1994). Moving away from the defined roles of soloist and accompaniment, from the distinction between improvised parts and composed parts, and from chord-progression as a static, defined form, the music became very open for what happened in the interplay. Each musician could take an improvised initiative at all times, and various musical ideas could be played out simultaneously without being in conflict, creating several layers and unpredictable developments. Musically, both these bands related somewhat to the mix of jazz, rock, traditional music and pop which was introduced in the 70s by Weather Report/Joseph Zawinul and Miles Davis among others, but at the same time with a freedom inspired by the movements of free jazz, modal jazz and the ‘open form’/ Fluxus movement in experimental music.

I have experienced the same approach to improvisation, by opening and confronting traditional musical forms, structures and roles, ranging from musicians like pianist Paul Bley and the Svein Finnerud Trio to Christian Wallumrød's Close Erase. (Close Erase No 2: Who Grew Too (What) Nor CD 1999) One of my important concert experiences involved the latter two trios, sharing a concert at the Kongsberg Jazz Festival in 1997. Looking back, I can see that this meeting with the modern jazz scene at that particular time in history had a deep impact on me, later shown through four important lines of development in my own work:

- The collective approach to improvisation

-The freedom in melodic variation and rhythmic phrasing

-The focus on sound and timbre as musical parameters

-The openness towards different expressions and genres

Vocalists in modern jazz

Since the 90s (and even before that), it has been difficult to define  ‘jazz’ since it has become mixed with expressions from other genres, especially electronica, pop and rock, but also traditional music, contemporary music and noise. So once again, it would be most interesting to look at what has had the strongest impact on me during these years. I will do this by starting with the vocalists.

Sidsel Endresen has always been an important singer for me, although she does not use live electronics. Her “speech-song” -“Epilogue” at the end of the beautiful ballade “OK” (on Duplex Ride with Bugge Wesseltoft, Curling Legs, 1998) shows very clearly how new vocal expressions can be an integrated, organic part of works that use more traditional musical elements, and thereby create new music. Going from being a pop/soul singer in the 80s, and gradually working towards an increasingly more experimental expression, Sidsel has always seemed to be deeply rooted in genuine and worked-through individual aesthetics – and she is constantly developing her expression further, one step at the time. Her combination of having a very personal vocabulary of vocal “sound sculpting” and her deep sense of rhythm, melodic phrasing and not at least musical dramaturgy, puts her in a special position for me as an improvising vocalist. Over the years she has moved increasingly towards a more experimental expression, this can be heard on Merrywinkle (Jazzland Recording, 2004, with Christian Wallumrød/Helge Steen), her Solo album One (Sofa Music, 2006) and her live recordings with Humcrush, Ha! ( Rune Grammofon, 2011.)

Elin Rosseland was among the first Norwegian singers I heard using electronics live. Her record with the band Fairplay (Fairplay, Odin Records, 1989: “Sound Around”) was a combination of pop, jazz and contemporary music that I had never heard before. Compared to Sidsel she has, in my opinion, had a more “composing approach “ in her work, she is also experimenting and improvising, but with a very different expression. (Elin Rosseland Trio: Trio, NorDC 2007). She is a master of advanced harmonic developments, both as a composer and as an improviser. Her compositions are sometimes very complex, but often with very clear original melodic lines. (Moment, with Rob Waring and Johannes Eich, NorCD 2004: “And all the different voices”.)

Eldbjørg Raknes has been an important inspiration for me through the years in several ways. In her different musical projects, she has often combined lyrics from poetry with a very original musical approach, sometimes very free and improvised, sometimes composed and arranged, with influences from jazz, soul, pop and rock, but also experimental and traditional music. Both in her solo work, like Againgain from Solo (MYrecordings, 2006) and with her various ensembles, like the one with Stian Westerhus and Eirik Heggdal, (From frozen feet heat came MYrecordings, 2008), she has integrated live electronics as a part of her musical expression, often with a clear focus on sound as an important musical parameter.

The modern Norwegian jazz scene, newer influences

The modern Norwegian jazz scene includes several artists and groups that incorporate elements from the pop/rock/electronica of our time in their improvised music; Nils Petter Molvær, Susanna Wallumrød and Bugge Wesseltoft, and bands like Wibutee, Puma, Shining and Pelbo. When the aforementioned trio Veslefrekk included sound-artist Helge Steen (“Deathprod”) in their group, renaming the band Supersilent, this represented a natural move towards incorporating the expression of noise and electronica in their improvised musical scenery ( One of the few tracks available for streaming is on Money will ruin everything Rune Grammofon 2003) Different types of pop/rock have, among other things, influenced my trio, BOL. This is most obvious on our second CD Silver Sun  (Curling Legs, 2005).

Other obvious influences in our time are those of the American free jazz and the European contemporary Improv and Experimental music. This more open and sound-oriented approach is often combined with different strategies for improvisation, sometimes in combination with different types of composed material. Examples are the Norwegian duo Vertex, ( shapes & phases, SOFA 2010: “Morphometrics” )  and  Eirik Heggdal’s En, en, en,  (Rød &Blå, Øra fonogram 2010). The improv ensemble  Lemur is mainly influenced by contemporary music, European Fluxus and ‘open form’, but also free jazz. ( Aigéan , Job Records 2010)

Further, moving outside jazz-related improvisation, the link between electroacoustic music, improvisation and noise is obvious in Maja Ratkje’s SPUNK ( Den øverste toppen på en blåmalt flaggstang, Rune Grammofon 2002)  and Fe-mail. (Money will ruin everything, Rune Grammofon 2003: “Jacobs Leketøy” ) The use of live electronics as such has expanded greatly among musicians, and naturally brought in, to different degrees, elements from the genres that these instruments and devices have been developed for/within; rock, pop and electroacoustic music.

Performers as Thomas Strønen, Eldbjørg Raknes and Maja Ratkje, are examples of Norwegian improvising performers that I relate to, all using live electronics to create very different musical expressions, and they are still somewhat connected through the genre-crossing field of improvised music.

1.5.4 The vocal performance art scene


Early inspiration and the genre of vocal performance art

Looking back, I find that many of the singers who have inspired me outside the field of jazz, belong to what musicologist Theda Weber-Lucks (Weber-Lucks, 2003[6]) calls the ‘genre of vocal performance art’. What they have in common, and what has had an impact on me, is their experimental and instrumental approach. Widening my perception of what could be thought of as musical voice sound, singers like Cathy Berberian (Italy) , Jaap Blonk (Holland) , Shainko Namtchylac (Russia/Austria) , Meredith Monk, (USA) and Diamanda Galás (USA) among others, opened up for me a new world of possibilities and freedom of expression in the 90s. The improvising vocal a cappella group Kvitretten[7], of which I was a member for the 11 years that the group existed, was an important arena for this type of approach to voice sound making. We were exploring (to us) new vocal possibilities as a part of a musical expression, especially in collective improvisations, and I think we all had been listening to these types of singers.  (Voices, Curling Legs 1996, “Women”)

At the same time, the use of electronics by Laurie Anderson was one important reason for my going further into the live electronics. Hearing  “O Superman” made me realise that I was deeply attracted to the sound of the electronically processed voice. Her use of speech as a natural and strong integrated part of her performances was groundbreaking.

These artists were presented to me by other singers or musicians, or discovered in other ways (before the Internet, Google, MySpace and YouTube…) After already having been introduced to the aforementioned freedom in experimental jazz, the sprechgesang in the music of Arnold Schönberg and other techniques in more experimental contemporary vocal music, this new interest seemed like a natural further step. But where did these artists come from, and how are they related? There has been little research in this field, but German musicologist Theda Weber-Lucks has examined the history and aesthetics of what she calls the “genre of vocal performance art”. I find her article “Electroacoustic voices in vocal performance art a gender issue?” very useful and informative when trying to understand more about what has been going on in this field. I will not, due to the nature of my writing, discuss her article compared to other writers and findings, but rather use it as a source of information in addition to my own experiences. The genre ‘vocal performance art’ is in this article described as follows:

From a historical perspective, this genre evolved in the context of Fluxus, happening, dance-performance, and body art. It bears stylistic relationship to expressionistic monodramas and theatre, as well as to folk-song traditions, ancient ethnic vocal styles and new extended vocal techniques. A central aesthetic component is the use of the voice as emotional or abstract language. (Weber-Lucks 2003)

She continues to describe a genre that is difficult to define, constituted by performers and works that had something in common, but who worked quite independently of each other. This is still the case, according to Weber-Lucks, even in our time. In her opinion, the relatively new Institute For Living Voice, where artists such as David Moss and Jaap Blonk are central, …provide only a loose feeling of community”… – compared to more defined genres like earlier avant-garde artists, referring to the voice-experimenting sound poets within the Dadaist and Futurist movements.

In fact, the suggested term “vocal performance art” simply functions as a construct to help illustrate possible forms of coherence within these developments” (ibid).

The genre started, according to Weber-Lucks, in North America in the 70s. Voice experimenting as such was already going on, as mentioned in the sound poetry movement, and also in contemporary vocal music, in both Europe and America. She also sees the genre as a result of the turn in American art history from the activist collectives in the 60s towards a more individual and professional focus. The performers were mostly women; Meredith Monk, Joan La Barbara, Diamanda Galás and Laurie Anderson are mentioned as being among the most important. It is also important, according to her views, that vocal performance art evolved not only in music, but came from several other artistic genres.

Weber-Lucks has a gender perspective in her research. She suggests that the new freedom in music, influenced especially by John Cage, together with new developments in electronic sound technology, opened up for a new aesthetic approach. This approach made way for several female composers, and also for what she calls “vocal composer-performers”, which seems like a good description of many of the artists I have been listening to.


Sound poetry

Weber-Lucks points out that vocal performance art was initially separated from the sound poetry movement, but that sound poetry later on became an important part of the picture. As the influences of the North American vocal performance scene grew in Europe in the 1980s, featuring performers like Sainkho Namtchylac and Fatima Miranda, the male-dominated sound poet tradition and the female vocal performance art tradition began to intermingle. This is exemplified by important performers such as Jaap Blonk and later David Moss, clearly operating with a mix of these genres.

Sound poetry is an artistic form bridging between literary and musical composition, in which the phonetic aspects of human speech are foregrounded instead of more conventional semantic and syntactic values; “verse without words”. By definition, sound poetry is intended primarily for performance. (Wikipedia)

In the book “Playing with words the spoken word in artistic practice”, editor Cathy Lane has collected interesting articles from artists, scholars and others concerning use of the spoken word in music, art and related fields (Lane, 2008[8]).  In this book, Clive Graham presents a brief overview of the history and the different developments of sound poetry, based on his work with a three-year radio program on the field. (Graham, in Lane, 2008, pp. 26-30). Sound poetry emerged from Dadaism and Futurism and represented a movement in both literature and the visual arts. The movement was steering away from traditional writing in poetry, and also represented a more graphic and typographical liberation of the poem in visual art. This is a genre that developed in several directions and with a lot of performers over the years. Early important works are Italian F. T. Marinetti's Zang Tumb Tumb  (1914) and Kurt Schwitter's Ursonate (1922-32, "Primal Sonata").  For me, later works in this genre have been inspiring, and include performers such as Jaap Blonk and David Moss. I also experience a link from sound poetry to Cathy Berberian’s Stripsody, (1966) an important work for me. I recall a childhood memory of Norwegian Karin Krog, from a performance (in black and white) on Norwegian Television. This made a tremendous impression on me. She was making cartoon-like sounds, and the “text” was shown as subtitles. It might have been Stripsody, but I am unable to confirm this.


Sound poetry introduced a new vocabulary of sounds for practitioners in the field of vocal performance. This included, as an example, different types of onomatopoetic sounds and vocal sounds like breathing, sighing, shouting and throat-clearing etc, and later a deep dive into, and an extension of, international phonetic language   as found in the works of Jaap Blonk. Listening to the work of many contemporary vocal performers, it is obvious that sound poetry, through introducing this new vocabulary, must have been important for the development of new vocal expressions in vocal performance art. Another significant and influential aspect of this genre is the focus on text and language as sound material and sound structure, rather than meaning.

The singer’s role extended

The “individual aesthetics and poetics” of the vocal performance art genre is emphasised throughout Weber-Lucks’ article (Weber-Lucks, 2003). This is also what I find most important. I experience these performers' freedom in expression as being derived from their very individual and personal choices of expression. What connects them then, besides being vocal artists, is perhaps the approach more than the musical expression. By removing themselves in different ways from the traditional role of the singer, they can explore the voice more freely as an instrument. Some of them have also explored voice sound in connection to a visual expression or/and to bodily movements, and vocal performance as an integrated part of a visual, sometimes theatrical, expression as a whole.

Vocal sound sculpting

Weber- Lucks’ research includes an analysis of the use of sounds produced by the actual performers, finding categories like “pitch glissandos”, “bird cries”, “rough screams” and “biphonic sounds”, etc. in the group of female vocal art performers, while the sound poets Blonk and Chopin focus on speech sounds including “sounds from tongue” and “upper larynx”, etc. (Weber-Lucks, 2003). I have experienced a need for a term to describe these very varied kinds of vocal activities in a more general way. For a long time I have been thinking about vocal sounds that are not melody, rhythm or words as just “sounds”, “sound-focused”, or “sound- oriented”. I realise that these terms leave out an essential part of the activity: the forming, or sculpting, of the sound. A sound, made by the vocal performer in a performance, has a particular volume and timbral quality, but the sound also has an intended form or characteristic “shape” that has (or at least usually is intended to have) a musical meaning. I have chosen to call this part of vocal performing, where the main focus is on voice and mouth sounds rather than traditional text and melody, sound sculpting, as a very wide and general term.

Voice performance art and electronics

The use of electronics, in different ways, seems to be a natural part of development for many of the artists involved in vocal performance art, or at least a means for experimenting along the way. As Weber-Lucks sums up:

One can also observe that: (i) electroacoustic sound-altering devices are used to expand or stretch vocal abilities according to individual poetics or aesthetics (La Barbara, Galás, Anderson, Blonk, Chopin); (ii) multiple -microphone speaker systems are used to structure and create the acoustic dimensions of the performance space according to individual aesthetics or poetics (Chopin, Galás, Anderson, Blonk); (iii) multitrack tape is used to combine the rich sounds, colours and noises of a vocal orchestra created by the voice (La Barbara, Namtchylak, Miranda, Chopin). (Weber-Lucks, p. 66)

This development and the use of electronics as an extension of the voice has continued in various directions and in different fields. The field of vocal performance art has also become more interconnected with the field of popular music, and I will return to this briefly later on. In retrospect this seems almost unavoidable due to new approaches in both vocal performance art and sound poetry. When searching for new expressions and ways of making music with the voice, new technology could do new things and open up radical new ways of creating for both composers and performers. Without going into the history of music technology, I will return to some of the most important techniques in Chapter 2.

To sum up, there are for me three important developments in the field of vocal performance art that are highly connected:

       - The instrumental approach; the voice as a source of sounds, not as the bearer of melody and lyrics.

       - The experimental and individual approach: to seek out and implement new,  unconventional sounds for vocal performance, in an individual expression.

       - The use of text and language as sound and musical structure.


1.5.5 Other influences

Processed vocal sound as a signature

Listening to some artists involved in the field of popular music who adopt the more traditional role of the singer, I experience sound processing as an integrated part of their individual vocal expression. I heard the use of a vocoder for the first time as a 15-year old, in the recording of “Don’t kill it Carol” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (Angel Station, 1979). I was deeply fascinated by it, without exactly knowing why. As already mentioned, I got a big kick from Laurie Anderson’s use of the vocoder and octaver on her speech and song, first with “Oh Superman” (Big Science 1981). Another peak experience with processed voice sound was Josef Zawinul, singing beautifully with a vocoder on his composition “You Understand” (The Immigrants, 1988). Further, the highly compressed, filtered and “dry” sound of Swedish Stina Nordenstam on her record And she closed her eyes (1994) became a kind of reference sound for me; I still think of it as the “Stina Nordenstam-sound” when I try to produce something similar.

Playing with sounds

The use of sound as musical material more or less disconnected from traditional functions such as melody, rhythm and harmony has developed in a variety of genres.

I find that some of the artists involved in the improv and noise scenes, such as the Norwegian artists Lasse Marhaug and the former duo Fe-Mail, are interesting to me both because of their approach to performing and their use of sound as musical material:

- A free jazz approach: improvising with relatively open structures/concepts

- Influences from Western Avant-Garde, Fluxus and experimental music, including the French musique concrète, often using field recordings as material

- Influences from popular music and techno, both in the choice of sounds and techniques (or was it the other way around?)


Many popular music artists have, along with the development of music technology, and influenced by the contemporary and experimental music scene, incorporated the use of  “sound” as a musical parameter in different ways, both in studio productions and live. For me, Anja Garbarek’s Balloon Mood, Radiohead's KidA, and Bjørk's Post, are examples of contemporary studio productions where deliberate and conscious use of electronic devices is creating a rich and individual expression.


1.5.6 Other artists – and me

Looking at some of the artists that I consider important to me and to the field I relate to, it seems that the individuality and the variety in the expression of these performers is striking compared to other genres. Instead of categorising, I will therefore look at what some of them do that I also recognise in my own work.

Both Sidsel Endresen and Eldbjørg Raknes, described above, could be seen as part of the vocal performance art field as well as the jazz scene. Of the two, Raknes is the most “similar” to me in the way she works; we both use live electronics in solo performances and in musical interplay with other musicians, and we both work with vocal sound sculpting and more traditional elements in a mixed expression. Some of the differences between us lie in the way we use the live electronics, the choice of techniques and sounds, who we choose to play with, and perhaps most importantly our personal musical language. Raknes also uses the solo format more than I do.

I experience Jaap Blonk, Phil Minton, and David Moss, as being more “experimental-oriented” singers; they are in some ways related to each other through their development and use of extended techniques based on the acoustic voice, and also through their orientation towards Western contemporary music. However, two of them use electronics (Blonk and Moss) and the third does not use any electronics. I think that I share their experimental approach in some of my work, but with less focus on the acoustic voice alone; rather the extension of sound possibilities through the combination of voice and electronics. I also use traditional musical elements, like repetitive rhythm and recognisable melody, a lot more than these artists, even in my free-improvised situations.

The “sound poet approach” to text in works by Blonk and Moss is also recognisable in some of my work. In his work with his band Denseland, Denseland: Chunk (Mosz, 2011), David Moss works   in some ways in quite a similar manner to me in my duo with Thomas Strønen, combining his experimental approach with the use of electronics, and also, like me, sometimes mixing it with more traditional jazz/pop elements. Further, in Denseland he is working with processed voice sounds as a part of an “instrumental whole”, taking on other roles than the soloist, in the improvised interplay with instrumentalists. Apart from this, we differ both in the choice of sounds and techniques, and not at least in the choice of musical parameters.

I also consider the Norwegian Maja Ratkje (as improvising performer) and some of the American Mike Patton’s work as being experimental, but more oriented towards contemporary music and noise when compared to my work, although I feel related to and inspired by their world of sounds and their open approach. These performers are also working with extended techniques, and often with electronics as well. I feel that my some of work with Thomas Strønen has adopted a similar “sound-flavour” and attitude.

An interesting turn in music technology has been the development of new interfaces to control electronic processing and techniques. This obviously comes from a need for a stronger connection between body gestures and sound than that supported by traditional devices. Working with custom-made MIDI controllers and programming, artists like Pamela Z (San Francisco)and Alex Nowitz (Germany) produce visual performances, mostly solo, where body movement is an important part of the whole, and incorporating unique musical expressions. In our “Skylab Audiovsion” project, my trio BOL experimented briefly with the use of infrared sensors and hand movements. One important aspect of this was the visual connection between movements and sound, but it also made things sound different and new through this new way of sound control. This is something that I have just touched upon (also literary speaking…), but which I would like to experiment with further. Still, in my project exploring the improvised interplay, I found the sensors to be not quite satisfactory, as I will get back to in Chapter 2

Laurie Anderson and AmyXNeuberg are both performance and concept-oriented artists, but perhaps not “as experimental” as others in the field of vocal performance art. They often have, in their performances, a musical expression that is based on traditional musical elements in their genre. This is also partly a starting point for me. In some of my work I search for ways to implement new vocal roles in music that is based on more traditional, genre-rooted elements, like BOL's more structured compositions. With the project “Nature is not Beautiful!” (BOL) we are moving towards a (for us) new performance form, through the playback of recorded text cycles as a structuring element, and  by bringing in the role of the storyteller/commentator/speaker. My solo project, where I play with roles in the range between the storyteller and the sound -sculpturer, is also performance-oriented, though still within a “small scale” compared to the vocal performance art scene. This solo project is, among other things, inspired by the “musical stories” of Laurie Anderson, like Langue d’Amour  (Home of the Brave, 1984), although I have a very different approach, seeking a more natural/less theatrical expression.

Norwegian performers in the field

In addition to the Norwegian vocalists already mentioned, contemporary artists like Hanna Gjermundrød,Anita Kaasbøll, Ingrid Lode all seem to be related to some of the various artistic and experimental approaches used in the vocal performance art field. Like myself they also work (to various degrees) with live electronics in their interplay with other musicians in different ways. Some of the more pop/jazz- oriented artists in this field, Jarle Bernhoft, Mari Kvien Brunvoll and Ine Hoem, are all exploring electronic possibilities as solo artists with looping techniques as an important basis for their live performances. Their musical approach is rather different from mine, due to the choice of musical parameters and genre. Still, it interesting that their use of electronics as a “one man band”, allows them take on new musical roles in the interplay with themselves, producing both the accompaniment and the soloist. Ine Hoem also uses live electronics in her interplay with the band “Pelbo”, as does Ingrid Lode with “Kobert”, and along with Eldbørg Raknes’ various bands that were mentioned earlier, these are what I see as being the most obvious parallels to my work with BOL.

In the light of something else

In the foregoing I have discussed briefly some differences and similarities in how I work with music and live electronics compared to others, both in my field and in related fields, and I have some difficulties in finding very clear parallels to my work. The orientation in the field of voice and use of electronics has been a necessary part of my process, and important differences have made me see more clearly what my project is about. One particular strong experience in this respect was my instant fascination with a very different kind of artistic work: I “discovered” Alex Nowitz – who I have already mentioned briefly in this chapter.

Alex Nowitz is a German vocal performer and composer. He was invited to undertake a residency at STEIM[9] in 2007, where he collaborated with composer Daniel Schorno to develop a live electronic setup for vocal performance. He worked with gestural controllers (Wii[10] remote controllers), a computer (MacBook) and STEIM software (LiSa and junXion). An article about this work, with a video demonstration, can be found here:http://cec.sonus.ca/econtact/10_4/nowitz_voicelive.html

(Nowitz has subsequently been developing a new set of controllers as well.)

I was genuinely fascinated by his work, because his controllers seemed very intuitive and flexible, and his use of them was exiting. I started thinking seriously about going to STEIM to possibly create a setup that I could use in my work. (I even contacted Nowitz to hear if there was any chance of meeting him there.) Then, after further consideration, I realised that this would be a big step out of direction – in relation to my project and my artistic goals. There were several reasons for this:

-       Such a setup would involve learning a new and rather advanced instrument. It would demand a long period of training to control it. This made me realise that my project is rooted in my experiences and skills with the tools I already know, as an important part of my musical context and references.


-       Nowitz’s invention is a great instrument for the solo performer. It is very “visual” and it is exciting to see Nowitz’s performances. My project is very much about being able to blend into the interplay with other musicians. It was obvious to me that an instrument like Nowitz's instrument would make it (even more) difficult to achieve this musical goal.


-       I experienced Nowitz’s performances and musical project as being very connected to the way his instrument was designed. He was playing with sound and structure in a very free and experimental way. His playing could sometimes remind me about the structures in some noise music, fragmented and thematic, with sudden shifts and extreme dynamics. He worked, as I do, with a range extending from natural voice sounds to abstract, processed sounds. The different processing techniques and his use of them gave him a very wide range of expression. This made me aware that the scale of my own expressional range is quite different to that of Nowitz. As far as I can see, when compared to Nowitz's work (at least in some of his performances using remote controllers), I work with a closer relationship to the acoustic voice even if I think of my voice as being transformed by the use of effects and reverbs (this will be described further in Chapters 3 and 4).  I also work with sounds that I experience as being abstract in relation to natural voice sounds – but in this respect I have a limit, i.e. when I experience that the sounds become “too digital” to my ears. (“Too digital” is not a proper term (I work with digital devices that probably sound very “digital” to other people’s ears) still it is actually a term used by musicians in my field to describe a negative experience of computer-processed sound.) I tried to imagine Nowitz's way of working with advanced computer-processed sound in my ensembles.  Many of the sounds and techniques in use would, as I experienced it, conflict with my relationship with my other musical vocabulary, the other musicians in the interplay and the music as such. This made me fundamentally aware of the genre which my project is rooted in even if I think of my work as being “genre-crossing” and inspired by experimental music and vocal performance art. I became aware of clear aesthetic preferences, musical premises and borderlines regarding sound, musical components and structure in my music. These preferences and premises are defined by the music I have related to and been part of throughout the years, as described earlier in this chapter. It is a genre that mediates between sound-based and intervallic improvisation, between musical paradigms that can be recognised as Afrological and Eurological[11]. These are terms that will be discussed further in Chapter 6.


1. 6 Closing comments

In this chapter I have presented and discussed what my artistic project is about and the perspectives in which it can and should be seen. The context I am relating to is multi-faceted, as is my genre. I recognise both the rich influences and some clear limitations between this larger context and my genre and personal style. This recognition has been part of my process, and will therefore also be pointed out in relation to different topics in this reflection.


[1] Borgodoff: The Debate on Research in the Arts, Bergen National Academy of the Arts, Bergen 2006

[2] Nyrnes,Aslaug: Lighting from the side,Bergen National Academy of the Arts, Bergen 2006

[3] Cambridge University Press 1984, Gamble, Tom: “Imagination and Understanding in the Music Curriculum”.

[4] Aase, Andreas: “Documentation and reflection, Improvisation in Scandinavian traditional guitar”. Department of Music, NTNU, The National Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme, October 2009.

[5] Donald Schøn suggests that the practitioner “knows more than she is able to tell”, and that this tacit knowledge first becomes visible through action. Donald Schøn: “The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. London: Maurice Temple Smith, 1983.

[6] Weber-Lucks, Theda: Electroacoustic Voices in Vocal Performance Art - A Gender Issue?Organized Sound: Vol. 8, no.1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 61-69.

[7] Kvitretten: Norwegian improvising a cappella group from 1992 - 2001, with Eldbjørg Raknes, Kristin Asbjørnsen and Solveig Slettahjell during the latter years. The former members were Kjersti Stubø, Hans Jørgen Støp and Anna Sundstrøm.

[8]  Lane, Cathy (ed.) Playing with words - the spoken word in artistic practice, CRiSAP/RGAP, London, 2008.

[9] Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music in Amsterdam, http://www.steim.org/steim/

[10] Wii : Nintendo home video game

[11] Lewis, George E.: “Improvised music after 1950: Afrological and Eurological Perspectives” in Cox &Warner (ed): Audioculture-readings in modern music, Continuum, NewYork/London, 2009, pp. 282-283.

Photo: Geir Mogen