Audio-visual performance by Kyrre Heldal Karlsen, Lars Vaular, Frode Kvinge Flatland, Jørgen Træen and Kjetil Traavik Møster


Pyramiden (The Pyramid) is the result of a chain of incidents that started when I discovered the many-leveled semantics in Norwegian rapper Lars Vaular's lyrics, which, through various circumstances, led us to collaborate since 2012. Through our collaboration, I also learned that Vaular worked with spoken-word-like writing in addition to his rap lyrics. I thought this side of Lars would be worth exploring further and suggested to Henie Onstad Art Gallery's music programmer Kristoffer Kinden to present this aspect of Vaular's work within a staged performance setting. During a concert tour with Vaular, I introduced the idea to the tour's crew, which included Vaular's light designer Kyrre Heldal Karlsen, Vaular's music producer and live musician Frode Kvinge Flatland, and sound engineer Marty Brown.

Karlsen's light pyramid idea became the performance's center force: A 4 x 4-meter plexiglass pyramid covered with light-diffracting Twinwall polycarbonate sheets, illuminated by sound-responsive led wall elements laying on the ground inside the pyramid. 

The music, lyrics, and dramaturgy of the performance were created during the five preproduction days. The instrumentation entailed two modular synth setups, and my instruments ranging from acoustic clarinet and bass clarinet via electrophonic saxophone to an AKAI EWI1 processed through effect pedals. The instrumentation faced me with the challenge and privilege of being the only acoustic instrument in the room except for Lars' voice. This gave me the opportunity at an early stage of the research period to freely explore the interaction with the machinic behaviors and timbres of synthesizers and sequencers. They invited me to a more minimalistic playing style than I often engage in. The synths' incessant repetitions and gradually evolving timbres provided me with a reliable foundation to play on. It allowed for a thematic improvisational style where a slow development of sound and texture could be explored through the use of different instrumentation and processing effects. I could also explore the challenges connected to sonic coherence between the saxophone and the exclusively synthesized sound. I tended towards using the clarinet for acoustic playing due to its more sinusoid waveform blending more naturally with the synths. The fuzzy timbre of the tenor sax was more challenging to navigate within the soundscape. I also perceive the saxophone to have more connotational bonds when it occurs with certain electronic music textures like floating synths pads and arpeggiators, which also made me choose to process the sax sound in an attempt to escape such associations.


Performing within the Studio at Henie Onstad gave me valuable experiences for facilitating immersive concert experiences, both from my and an audience's perspective. The notion of being in the same space as the listeners evokes a sense of shared experience which I also found when we played the release concert for States of Minds with Møster! in the same room two years later. These experiences have informed the choice of setup during the final presentation concert at Nattjazz.

Video recording and editing: André Løyning

Video sound mix: Jørgen Træen

Poster design: Martin Kvamme


Live sound: Marty Brown

Performances: Dec 2-3, 2016

Streamed via Henie Onstad Art Channel May 7-14, 2020. 


Supported by Norsk Kulturråd and Henie Onstad Art Center