4. New roles for the electronic vocalist
In this chapter I will look at how the use of live electronics can open up new roles for me as a vocalist, in the improvised interplay. Before I do this, I find it necessary to discuss some of the challenges that I experience in connection with singers’ traditional roles. Further, I will as a tool, suggest a very rough categorising model for the various musical roles that I observe myself taking on in my work. I will exemplify these roles through excerpts of my music in different constellations.
4.1 The singer's traditional role
“Such a beautiful girl – with such a beautiful voice – and then she does THAT!” (Upset elderly lady at a BOL concert who wanted her money back”)
“Do you also sing some real songs?” (Danish sound technician after concert with Marilyn Mazur and her ensemble)
“I feel, in one way, that you are hiding behind the electronic” (Musicologist)
Our musical experience is partly formed by conventions and expectations, as are our experiences of life as a whole. Vocalists are certainly not the only musicians who can experience this situation as being a challenge. (Consider the harpist or the piccolo flute, and register what visual and auditory references you have.) Still, there are some extra musical conventions connected to the singer as the historical front figure, the ‘diva’, the one who draws the attention of the listener and who is the link between the band and the audience. When considering the special position of the voice as a bearer of meaning and representing the “real world” in an instrumental setting (as discussed in Chapter 3), we are not only dealing with conventions developed through historical practices, but also with the intuitive human response to the voice as such. I will not go into a deep analysis of this matter, but in the search for new roles and possibilities as a vocalist, we must remember that this is part of the picture. This very picture is also a question of genre. In one of my conversations with Maja Ratkje, I talked about how some members of the audience could be provoked by the more abstract, aggressive and noisy expressions of my voice and electronics. She replied instantly that the opposite would actually be the case for her; operating in the noise-scene, a beautiful melody could be experienced as provoking. This reminds me that even if I would like to imagine my music as being genre-crossing and fairly free from conventions, it never is. The context, the conventions and the expectations are always part of the way music is perceived. How does this situation affect me?
For many years I have “neglected” some of the conventions and expectations associated with the singer's traditional role. I have noted that some listeners, and even some colleges, sometimes wants me to adopt a different role than what I actually do, especially when I play with other instrumentalists, i.e. to be more of a traditional front figure, visually and musically. I have been especially provoked by comments regarding my use of electronics as being visually disturbing, taking the focus away from me. I have often responded to such comments by asking the commentator if they also feel disturbed by the fact that the keyboard player is turning knobs and hitting the keys on his instrument. I have been wondering whether their responses were grounded in a musical or a visual experience – as if it were possible to separate those aspects when witnessing a performance. (Would they have had the same experience if they closed their eyes? Probably not (as the findings in “Voice Meetings” shows (see Chapter 7)), but the performance is also a visual experience). Seeking freedom to choose my roles in the interplay, I decided that I would not care about such expectations, but rather act as though they did not exist. Then, about half way into this research programme, I held a presentation at one of the programme’s seminars, showing a clip from a concert video. Not surprisingly, the comments received from some of the other fellows were, among others, that they would like me to be more “in visual focus”. As usual, I defended my “right” to stay out of the expected vocalist focus, both visually and musically. And after hearing my arguments the participants in the discussion absolutely agreed. This situation made me realise one obvious fact: even if my audience can understand in retrospect my point of view intellectually, this has nothing to do with how they actually experience the performance. I had overlooked the performative dimension of any experience; it is not up to me to decide, or control, how the audience perceives the performance as a whole. I do not have to like, agree or follow the conventions and premises - on the other hand I cannot pretend that they do not exist. The audience and the conventions of the audience are part of the performance, as is the room, the setting, the sound system… whether I like it or not.
Accepting this fact has not altered my decision to feel free from the traditional vocalist role, but it has broadened my mind. What I have been thinking from the very start of this project, is that I should, at any time in the music I create, be intuitively aware of what role I am taking on. A developed awareness regarding the different roles could possibly bring more clarity to the performance as a whole, also for the audience. For me, this awareness cannot be established as a concrete idea or plan; it has to become a musical impulse and intuitive knowledge. This knowledge comes first and foremost from experience, through rehearsing and holding concerts - but also from listening to recordings of my work and reflecting on the different roles and functions that I use.
4.2 Musical roles - a simple categorising model
Observing my own practice, I can categorise, roughly, four roles that I take on in the improvised interplay. As with the categories in Chapter 3, these are experiential categories, defined by how I experience them, rather than technical, absolute categories. Further, this categorising must not be seen as a solid, theoretical framework, as that would call for a much more thorough academic investigation and discussion. My goal with such categorisation has been to find a useful tool for reflecting on my work in a practical and concrete way. Furthermore, this categorisation is a way of articulating some verbal answers to my research question about new possibilities and roles for the vocalist through the use of live electronics. These categories are to some degree related to the experience of meaning and “real world”, and to Andreas Bergsland’s suggested minimal- maximal model, operating in a range between central and peripheral zones, as described in Chapter 3.They also relate to the musical functions in the interplay.
- The singer: the traditional vocalist’s role, singing a melody with or without words. Taking a musical focus in the interplay; a relatively high degree of naturalness, often experienced as meaning and/or representing “real world”; more central than peripheral zone.
- The speaker: reciting or speaking text: poems, lyrics, improvised text, etc. with a musical focus. Like the singer, this is a rather traditional role for the vocalist: a high degree of naturalness often experienced as meaning and /or representing “real world”. More central than peripheral zone.
- The soundmaker: using different types of sounds to add colour to or accompany, comment or interact with the whole musical scenery – this can be done by using traditional elements like pitch and rhythm, or more abstract sounds. What separates this role from other roles is the main focus on sound and/or its function, going away from the voice as a bearer of meaning through melody or speech. This role has a more instrumental approach than the others. The voice-sound is often highly processed, or/and pre-recorded, in the peripheral zone, away from the experience of meaning and “real world”.
- The soundsinger: a mix of the three aforementioned categories. This role includes the function of melody as commenting on or accompanying the musical scenery, rather than being a traditional lead voice; lyrics as sound more than meaning - “language” without bearing semantics. The voice is often medium processed .This is a mix between a vocal and an instrumental approach, with a “hint” of meaning and the “real world”. It is somewhere in between the central and peripheral zone. (This category could more appropriately be named sound-singer/speaker, but for practical reasons I have shortened it.)
It should be noted that I think of the two latter categories as new roles for the vocalist through the use of live electronics.
Another important “role” adopted by the use of live electronics, is the‘ real-time producer’ role. Using reverb, compressors and effects like I do is similar to what is being done in studio post-production. This has for me, of course, a musical function, but often it is not as distinctive on its own terms in the musical interplay as the other roles, so I have left it out in this model and will discuss it further in Section 4.2
In all my various musical projects, I can observe myself taking on all of these roles. There are differences in the balance between the roles relating to who I play with and what music I play. For example, in my duo constellations I take on the accompanying role more often than when I play in a trio or a quintet (something which I will return to later).
Naturally, there are other factors that have an impact on the vocalist's role in addition to the technical opportunities and techniques offered by live electronics. Musical frameworks and aesthetics, the degree of listening and interaction between the musicians in the improvisation, and also to some degree the other instrumentalists by virtue of the way they take on their roles in the given interplay, open up for various new roles. If the drummer sticks to a solid groove and the synth player to a bass line and even chords, this is a very different scenario compared to a musical approach where the roles are less defined. I will exemplify below how I experience my different roles in the interplay with different instrumental settings. I will also demonstrate how the above categorising has its limits, by providing examples of where functions/roles and activities are hard to “define” within this model. Further, I will demonstrate the very subjective premises for this “analysis”, being based on how I experience the music in question.
4.3 Experiencing and observing roles in various settings and music
I have chosen examples from the following constellations/projects, which I also will present briefly as I go along:
BOL with Hans Magnus Ryan & Stian Westerhus
There are some live recordings in the following that do not have an optimal quality, but I would still like to use them because they are important examples.
BOL (www.bol.no) is my trio featuring keyboard player Ståle Storløkken and drummer Tor Haugerud (Both of who also use live electronics from time to time). We started playing together in 1995. We all come from a jazz background; Haugerud and Storløkken were both educated as performers in the Jazz Section at the Department of Music, NTNU. They are both part of the modern Norwegian jazz scene, where they have been developing their style of playing in numerous musical projects over the last 20 years. The music of BOL is genre-crossing, influenced by a lot of the music “of our time” (which for us means from about the last 40 years). We have always worked with a mix of our own compositions and different types of improvisation. The complexity of these compositions has varied, from through-composed works or melodies with chord progressions and defined form, to open sketches with more or less defined melodic, rhythmic and textual material as components for improvisation. The structures for improvising have also varied, with the improvisations sometimes being part of performing a composition in various ways, and sometimes being totally open, but still part of a larger form between other compositions. In some pieces, the lyrics are the only structuring component and point of departure.
Example IV, 1: BOL: Excerpt from a live concert, Tromsø, 2010
This is a “planned” improvisation from a club concert, and the lyrics used were written by the Norwegian poet Olav H. Hauge and translated by Robin Fulton. The lyrics and the fact that I start solo, was in principal the only structure/plan, although previous versions and rehearsals have also created a kind of “formula” for this sequence. My roles in this sequence are as follows:
0.00 Speaker: reciting the poem (meaning, naturalness, focus)
0.11 Speaker and Soundmaker; looping some of the words in the G/F patch (MaxMSP, described in Chapter 2) and varying with density and EQ-filtering. (Processed sound, although recognisable words; “un-natural”, moving towards peripheral zone; accompanying.)
0.53 Singer: singing with a Lexicon pitch shifter-effect (rather natural, melody in focus).
1.50 Looping some of the melodic phrases, first with lyrics, later without.
A short reflection on the “loop phenomenon”:
An interesting thing about melodic loops like these, is, from my experience, that they can change function and roles gradually. The obvious repetition of something that has recently happened can take away the importance of meaning and the loop becomes an echo, a sound carpet. After repeating a loop for some time, it can therefore be experienced more as sound than meaning, exemplified by my definition of roles as changing from singer material (the original input) to soundsinger (the first repetitions) to soundmaker (after a while). This is not necessarily “the rule” with loops. First of all, they will probably be experienced differently depending on who is listening – further it depends on what kind of loops are used, and not at least on how they are played (how many layers, how much repetition, for how long, how much variety in the layers, sound and amplitude, etc.).
Going back to the example at 1.50: The looped phrases are used as an accompaniment, and I experience them as an “echo” from earlier on (the initial phrase). I gradually bring them down in amplitude and thereby form them into a background. This makes me think of them as an example of the “loop phenomenon” discussed above, moving from soundsinger to soundmaker, gradually transferring from meaning to sound, from the singer role to “sound and function”. 4.40 to 6.28: Soundmaker: the G/F loop is functioning as an “accompaniment” for the synth.
7.16 Soundmaker: after a keyboard solo part, I introduce a pitched down loop with long grains and low density in the G/F patch, moving into a new section of the improvisation. The opportunity for introducing new elements and colours into an improvisation like this, without actually taking a main focus, is something that I find much easier when using electronics rather than the acoustic voice alone.
This is a good example of the way we work in BOL: sometimes improvising a “tune” by using melodic and rhythmic material, but in a very free way.
Example IV, 2: BOL: Excerpt from “Nature is not Beautiful”, live at Avant Garden, November 2011.
(This example is also discussed in Chapter 3.) This excerpt comes from a performance where recordings of a text cycle, read by the author Siri Gjære, are played back in parts, in combination with the use of speech, improvisations and compositions. Here I take the role of the speaker in a very concrete way, making a somewhat political comment on the recorded speech (which is a more metaphoric text in Norwegian). I then take part in the improvisation by using the DJFX- looper, sometimes obviously connected to my vocal impulses (soundsinger) and sometimes disconnected, as at the end of the improvised section (soundmaker). The improvisation transforms into a composition and I take the singer-role.
Example IV, 3: BOL: Excerpt from “Nature is not Beautiful”, live at Avant Garden, November 2011.
This is another sequence from the same performance. It is an open improvised sequence, but with “electro-transparency” as an articulated musical idea. Here Tor is using his tone-generator and Ståle is playing some noisy sounds. My roles in this sequence:
0.00 to 0.22: Soundsinger: “text” and Ring modulator-effect (which is an effect I use throughout this sequence) – a hint of meaning, but distanced, towards the peripheral zone.
0.22 Soundsinger/soundmaker; using the Ring modulator effect with almost no direct signal in the output (some voice sound through the reverb).
1.06 Soundmaker: I use a sampled loop from this sequence in the G/F patch, down-pitched, which I fade in and out throughout the rest of the sequence.
1.41 Soundmaker: more percussive sounds, still with the ring modulator-effect, more of this at 2.11.
2.22 Soundsinge/soundmaker: I go back to some of the softer Ring modulatar sounds used earlier. (The sequence then transforms into the introduction of a subsequent composition.)
This sequence exemplifies a very typical situation for the ‘soundmaker’. There are no other pre-defined structures or functions within the trio-format here, and the whole improvisation is sound-oriented.
Ex. IV, 4: BOL: Excerpt 2 from “Skylab Audiovision”, live at Verkstedhallen, 2009.
This is from a performance where we worked with video and installation, improvised music where musical and visual structures and ideas were connected to a collection of selected poems written by the Norwegian poet Rolf Jacobsen and translated by Roger Greenwald. (A demo video can be seen here: http://vimeo.com/8802365). We cooperated with video artist Pekka Stokke and technological scenography designer Sivert Lunsdtrøm.
This sequence occurs towards the end of the performance, and I am using sampled loops from earlier speaker and singer roles, as soundsinger/soundmaker material, fading in and out and mixing levels and also putting on an additional glissando layer (from 1.42). Especially towards the end of this sequence, I experience that I have an instrumental approach even if the vocal sound is close to natural. I believe that there are several reasons for this:
- The repetition changes the function of the music in loops, as discussed earlier.
- The rest of the music is loud and energetic, and the voice sound is also therefore mostly experienced as an integrated part (Bergsland’s stream integration, see Chapter 3).
4.3.2. BOL + Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan and Stian Westerhus
The idea of inviting these two very different guitarists into the band was to bring in elements of rock aesthetics (Ryan) and noise-oriented sound making (Westerhus) to our music.
Example IV, 5: Bol with Snah & Westerhus: Excerpt concert at Unterfahrt, Munich, 2011.
Here, I use some processed speech samples and a noisy processed sound in the Roland SP555. Working with only pre-recorded sound samples is experienced as taking the soundmaker role – even if some of the sounds are recognised as spoken text or as being “text-like”. Working solely with the machines and recorded sound, like I do in this sequence, produces quite a different approach, and also expression, compared to producing voice sound in real time. By not being in the singer/speaker/ soundsinger roles, I can take part in this collective and loud improvisation by playing with pure “sound” more than simply making “a personal statement” (almost unavoidable when performing real-time vocal sound in loud surroundings) – and sometimes this is a relief.
I would like to compare this with another loud improvisation:
Example IV, 6: BOL with Snah & Westerhus: Excerpt from “Western Wind”, from the CD Numb, number 2012.
0.00 Soundsinger; from the beginning: “text” as sound, a processed, but still recognisable voice, a hint of meaning. Not in main focus/lead.
2.28 Moving from singer (clear melodic lead) to soundsinger (loops taking over, repeating, becoming more instrumental); back to speaker, with a short ending. Please note that these roles are not definite, but overlapping.
There are several differences between playing with BOL as a trio and playing with BOL as a quintet with these two exceptional guitar players. I think that this is mainly because of the size of the ensemble. It has often been necessary to find, or to define, the roles that we all have in the interplay, and the project has, in the more composed sequences, been leading the original three of us into slightly more defined roles compared to what we are used to as a trio. I have generally noticed that with the two guitars in addition to the synth and drums, there is often so much musical information and so many ideas in play that it does not feel necessary or natural to add more sound or elements. Therefore, as far as I can see, I adopt the soundmaker role less often here than I do in the trio format. There may be several reasons for this: even if the music has much room for improvisation, we have used more compositions in the quintet setting than in the trio. Singing a lead melody takes a lot of focus, so therefore it seems natural to sometimes exit the interplay in order to make room for other sounds for a while. Also, when recording for the CD format, it is important to make room so that everyone can be heard because the time-span is shorter than during a concert. Further, it feels natural in a studio improvisation to focus on developing one main idea instead of continuing further and more freely with a long time-span in mind, as we often tend to do in a concert situation (like the example from the concert in Munich).
The “live producer role”:
In a studio situation, I become especially aware of another role adopted through my use of live electronics, as described in Section 4.2; the real-time producer role. A studio recording with a vocalist is very often done with a “clean” vocal, and effects and reverbs are chosen in the postproduction. I record my total mix, with the reverbs and effects that are my musical choices in the interplay. I also record a “clean” vocal track at the same time so that I can change my mind and do something else during the mixing process. Very often, I use the mix as it is, as in the recording of the CD Voxpheria with Thomas Strønen, and on most of the tracks on Numb,number with BOL/Snah/Westerhus. What happens sometimes is that my choices in real time, becomes a sketch for things that can be adjusted or enhanced in this mixing process. I also register that my use of electronics makes me more aware of the opportunities available in postproduction, both as regards my own sounds and the sound of the other instruments. In the live situation this also leads to a different situation for the sound engineer – the reverbs come from me, not from him (although I make allowances for some improvisations and adjustments by people I trust.)
4.3.3 Åse /Strønen Duo
Thomas Strønen (http://www.thomasstronen.com) is an improvising drummer working with a range of percussive instruments, and he has for many years implemented live electronics in his instrumental setup. He was also educated by the Jazz Section at NTNU, and like my colleges in BOL, he has been active for many years in the Norwegian modern jazz scene. We work with free improvisation as a method – we have no plans for the music before we start. I bring in lyrics that could be used, and sometimes I choose to use them, depending on the musical ideas that are brought up at the moment.
As mentioned earlier, I adopt an accompanying role more often in my duo constellations. There are probably several reasons for this:
- The duos (with Thomas Strønen and with Michael Duch) have a musical approach that is more open at all times and there are no compositions where the more conventional roles are natural as with BOL.
- The duo setting is more open than a trio or quintet; with only two instruments in play there is room for more ideas and musical “layers” from each musician.
- With Thomas there is also more “tonal space” for me, less pitched material coming from him.
Example IV, 7: Åse/Strønen, “Grains” from the CD Voxpheria, 2011
0.00 Soundmaker:I play an underlying loop in the G/F patch from the start.
0.40 Variations through filtering the loop, still Soundmaker
0.59 Soundsinger, acoustic voice, but not in the foreground until the crescendo, mixing with soundmaker(loop).
01.18 Singer, acoustic voice in front, small melodic movement
1.29 I create a tonal accompaniment that continues, with variations, throughout the whole piece (soundmaker – processed sound with minimal meaning). The technique I use is described in more details in Chapter 3, ex. III,13 .
1.56: Singer, continues until 6.30,with accompanying loop (soundmaker) and convoluted samples (soundsinger).
From 6.30 : Soundmaker, working with small filter variations and internal feedback.
To be able to create a tonal, well-functioning accompaniment with a possibility for modulation in real time, has been one of my technical-musical goals when I started the project. One of the challenges involved has been the auditory connection between a sampled tone/phrase and the repetition of it. When I started to use the Granular/Filtering Max MSP patch, this opened up for solutions in this regard. To separate the sound of the input voice from the sound of the following loop, I can process it through the G/F patch, and granulating the sound can really change it into something else. The granulating effect also makes it possible to pitch down the loop without necessarily making it sound like a “pitched down voice”. This creates a distance – I am not so obviously “singing with myself”. The loop is also “in movement” through the element of randomness in granular synthesis, so it does not feel like a static repetition, more like a flow of sound. And most importantly – I like the organic sound of it.
Example IV, 8: Åse/Strønen: “Rave, Raised” from the CD Voxpheria, 2011.
In the first three minutes I work with different sounds in a very instrumental way. Even if some of the sounds are natural voice sounds and have hint of meaning, I experience this part of the track, in one way, as a soundmaker sequence; the quality of the sounds as sound, and their musical function in the interplay, are in focus- even if I am playing with zones. I am interacting very directly with Thomas and our roles are rather similar.
3.05 I start a sequence in the singer and speaker roles for the most part with the voice sounding almost natural. There is no semantic meaning, but there is still a very “meaning-like” appearance. I add real-time loop material along the way that fills a soundsinger/soundmaker role in order to create other layers in the music (until 6.33). I notice that Thomas’s role in one way could be experienced as accompanying the singer and speaker when I take on those roles, but still, his playing is more like a parallel movement interacting with mine, and without my contribution it might sound like a drum solo.
6.41 Soundmaker: using a down-pitched loop in G/F, varying with density, amplitude and EQ, “answering” the sounds and movements of Thomas.
6.57 Soundsinger, using effects and “text”.
9.01 I go from natural voice with relatively extreme effects “drawn back” in the soundscape (soundsinger/singer) to, towards the end, the singer: the natural voice with a melodic focus. The effects are still there, but not as present.
For me, this is a good example of how live electronics open up for a new approach to improvising with other instrumentalists. It is important for me that Thomas says that this interplay makes him play in new ways as well.
4.3.4 Åse /Duch Duo:
Michael Duch is a bass player, educated as a jazz musician (NTNU) and specialising in free improvisation. He is also a graduate fellow of the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme, and his project was entitled “Free improvisation – Method and Genre”. In this constellation I want to interact musically with his way of improvising and to explore the meeting between my mix of acoustic and electronic sounds and his acoustic sounds and very physical approach towards playing. The working strategy started in the same way as my work with Thomas: no planning, and I brought “optional lyrics”. This was also the strategy for our first studio session and concert. In the second studio session we decided to work further on some of the ideas that came up, and refine them. This was also developed further in a concert: we decided on a form where some of the elements and also roles we had been working with were suggested as possibilities, although they were not very defined and were more like an associative framework. It was essential that we both knew that this plan could be changed if another idea took over intuitively. For now, this seems like one productive way of working together, creating a kind of structural offspring.
Example IV, 9: Åse/Duch “Thhh”, studio session, 2011:
The first half of this sequence is in some ways similar to the start of “Rave, Raised” with Thomas Strønen (ex. above). I am using some of the same strategies and techniques (natural voice, acoustic voice sounds, pre-recorded sound samples, Hadron loop, real-time “text”, looped “text”) in a mix. Still, I experience it somewhat different, perhaps because of a more frequent use of pitched singer-material. I am deliberately playing with roles and distances/zones:
2.37 to 3.01: even if it is punctuated, I experience this as a kind of singer/speaker role, partly because of the way Michael plays, which leaves plenty of space for me, while at
3.01, the speaker role is changed into the soundsinger role and the loops evolve into the role of the soundmaker, both because of the way I perform (like a flow, with pitch shift, low in amplitude, looped) and because of the way Michael plays (see below). Then, from
3.54 I am the singer throughout the piece, with some soundmaker effects, like the convolution patch at 7.19, some loops from the first section (6.11), and the looping of long notes (7.55).
As stated previously, the categories I am now using as a tool for understanding and describing how I work are not absolute. For example, I notice, especially when listening to the duo constellations, that it is sometimes not obvious what I perceive as being soundsinging and what I perceive as being the singer or speaker. Again, this is because a role is not just defined by the character of the sound, but also by the kind of musical focus it gets in the music that surrounds it, in the same way as a soundmaker sound could be part of a solo. In the duo constellations it seems to be more natural to sometimes work with silence as an important part of the musical scenery. The silence brings every sound that breaks it into focus, so, for instance, a processed “non-word” acquires a far more important role here than in a larger group of sounds. Still, I often think there is a connection between the character of the sound and the role it is assumed to have in the interplay.
After undertaking this type of research, I have to ask myself if the reflections, and my focus on roles during this project period, have had any consequences for the way I perform. Is this a useful way of thinking, or is it more a theoretical explanation, constructed to support my position as an artistic researcher? I pointed out earlier that my awareness of roles has to be an intuitive, practical knowledge that is realised in the improvised interplay. Parts of what I do in my improvisation with others is not in principle very different from what I used to do before starting this research, even though it now seems much more developed, something that has been confirmed by my colleges, supervisors and audiences. I have to rely on my own experiences in order to know what has prompted this assumed development. I have registered a gradual change in my performances, in the way I practice and in the way I listen to music. My thinking and acting are related to layers and functions in music in a different way than previously, both regarding my own playing and that of others. I am more aware of the wholeness; what is in front, what is commenting or contrasting, what is under, over and around in the musical scenery. In particular the combination of roles and functions has been a field of development. With my electronic instruments I can work with several layers or musical elements continuously, and at the same time. (It is, of course also possible to work with parallel musical layers of music with the acoustic voice alone, even if the sounds do not happen simultaneously. However, as I pointed out previously, live electronics open up for this in a much broader sense.) The “thinking and playing in layers” has been an important field for me to develop, and this is also one of the great challenges when working with electronics. How do the sounds and the different forms I give them work together, how are they related, and what makes interesting relationships between sounds? How can I control and develop different parts of the music at the same time? How long can a sound be repeated and still sound interesting? When does it need to be transformed and changed in order to bring the music forward? How many musical elements can I actually perceive, control and develop at the same time? How will my playing with different roles affect my fellow musicians? As far as I can register, an awareness of roles, both as intuitive knowledge, but also as a way of thinking and reflecting in the rehearsal and evaluation process, has been necessary and important in this work. And of course: the thinking and acting are linked together through these activities.
 (BOL started as a quartet, with saxophone player Tor Yttredal, and became a trio in 2003)