Often we think of artistic method in the process of music creation as mainly related to how the actual actions are undertaken: do we create text or titles before the music, which instruments or tools do we use, what is the order of decision-making, how and when do we use notation or recordings, and in what way, etc. A more generalized version of this could go like the following suggestion for a list of clarifying questions regarding artistic method:

(Please note that the numerous questions onwards from here are not new research questions within this project. On the contrary, the questions form a model for clarifying the methods and methodologies of any artist, across genres and (hopefully) disciplines.)

What are the initial input formats? (objects trouve/drum roles/words/social interactions/guitar chords/field recordings/transcriptions, etc.)

What physical materials are in use? (audio/paper/chopsticks/pen/mouse/cat, etc.)

What are the tech tools and instruments in use? (writing music by the piano, on the guitar, by voice or instrument, in a score, in a DAW, using midi or audio, voice memos, samples, etc.)

In which order are the musical dimensions being decided on?

What are the formats of early output-sketches? (lead sheet/drawing/chord sequenze/DAW-file, etc.)

What kinds of operations upon the material are used to add new material or to develop existing material? (re adding: adding what: further found items? other signals? Sections? Layers? By specific techniques? By pure inspiration? – re developing: repeat, cut, permutate, distort, amplify, contradict, disguise, combine, etc.?)

Which forms of documentation towards own memory are in use? (Regular notation, graphic notation, voice memos, lyrics, photos of analogue settings, map of cable connections, etc.)

How do the artist’s daily routines and practice, including embodied action and tacit knowledge interact with the material? (meditation, warm up, spiritual practices, etc)

Which kinds of reiterative processes are in play? Are some outputs treated as new inputs? Which processes are repeated, and for what reasons? What kind of reflection goes on between one iteration and the next?

Is the music created from start to end, or from one layer to another, or unfolding from an inner core concept?

Is the process based on a vision-driven (top-down) or a material-interacting (bottom-up) approach? - Which kind of each?

What is the format that the work aims for in the end (score, album, concert, game, soundtrack, installation, etc.), and how early in the process is that format allowed to define the properties of the unfinished work?

What is the order of the above decisions?


So far, so good.

The way the Sonic Complexion Project made me think about method, cognition, topics, etc., led me to articulating how the above model lacks a number of crucial points, among others:


More paradigmatical clarifying questions regarding artistic method:


Which dimensions of the art form are being specifically (consciously) investigated within the work?

Which (other) dimensions are left to operate below the radar of the artist’s consciousness?

What is the topic/artistic question being investigated, and how does this inform the methodological choices?

Which kinds of physical representation models are in use within the process? (graphical models, notation formats, muscle memory, tactile operations, built models, graphic user interfaces, etc.)

Which kinds of analysis are in play along the way, and when? (transcriptions of field recordings, analysis of other music, structural considerations, historical comparisons, etc.)

Which means of language and mental representations are in use? Which types of cognition processes are applied, what are the cognitive domains of engagement, and which types of intelligences are primarily activated?

Is the artist applying parametrical, stylistic/historical, structural, or metaphorical/metaphysical ways of cognitively grasping what is going on in the process?

What kinds of metaphors are being used in the artist’s own understanding of investigation’s core: spatial, visual, narrative, logical, kinaesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, orientational, linguistic, existential, moral and/or ecological metaphors?



What I am trying to convey here is that the lastly added considerations (dimensions, topic, representation, analysis, language, cognition, metaphor) are far more paradigmatic, and thus more effective in changing the artistic direction of the output. Using the terms “paradigmatic” and “effective” in the previous sentence owes a lot of its logic to the writings of Donella Meadows, especially the text “Leverage Points – places to intervene in a system”.


(Meadows, speaking from a position in environmental science & systems theory, names and describes 12 “Places to intervene in a system”. In a short recap, they are, in increasing order of effectivenessConstants/parameters/numbers, buffer sizes, material flows, delay lengths, negative feedback loop strengths, positive feedback loop gains, information flow, system rules, power to change system, system goal, mindset or paradigm that system arises from, and power to transcend paradigms. One interpretation by today of Meadows’ almost prophetic text, dating from the 1990’s, could be that we will not be able to solve our environmental problems just by changing the parameters, buffer sizes or material flows of our societies, if we do not also change the system rules, system goals, and paradigms of our societies, and the power to change or transcend those.)


I will try to explain in the following text how and why I see artistic methodologies as systems to which we can apply Meadows’ reasoning[1]. Regarding the dimensions of differences between the strands of the Sonic Complexion project, as outlined in the graph/form above, and inspired by Donella Meadows “Leverage Points” theory, I will state the following:

Among my decisions in each strand, on e.g. Topic, Mapping, Key approach, Analysis, Method outline, Harmony, Cognition focus, the most decisive in terms of changing the direction of one’s own art work will be the decisions on topic and cognition. Those domains (or leverage points) are obviously the most paradigmatically defining.

To paraphrase Meadows, this time heretically freely, the first list above, the “clarifying questions regarding artistic method” could be compared to the seven first, least effective leverage points from Meadows list (“Constants/parameters/numbers, buffer sizes, material flows, delay lengths, negative feedback loop strengths, positive feedback loop gains, and Information flow”).

Whereas the second list above, the “more paradigmatical clarifying questions regarding artistic method” could be said to compare to the last, most effective leverage points from Meadows list: “System rules, power to change system, system goal, mindset or paradigm that system arises from, and power to transcend paradigms”.


Another way of retelling the journey leading me to this point of view:

I started out in this project imagining that a mix of investigations on harmony and texture, paired with a perspective on linguist metaphor theory, would point to interesting new approaches to my music making. Through my readings on metaphor, and while working on creating new music with harmonic-textural inventions as my goal, I gradually drifted away from this purely metaphorical-linguistic interest. I realized that the concept of metaphor was too narrow to name what I was interested in. What in stead ended up being the main perspective in my artistic investigations, was how my diverse ways of approaching embodied cognition and mental representation was forming my artistic output in a way that I would describe as not just thematic, but rather paradigmatic:

* Method, entangled with cognition, as always situated in a cognitive mental representation paradigm.

* Changing this paradigm being among the strongest possible leverage points for developing or changing one’s artistic outcome, if wanted.

By not just reflecting on one such approach, but actually comparing three to four quite different cognitive approaches in the music making, I hope that this point is demonstrated even more in the artistic outcome than in this short text: Each project strand demonstrating a specific choice in terms of which mental representation forms and cognition thematics are allowed to inform the artistic choices.


Summing up, here is an attempt at listing the project's contribution to artistic research:

- I have shown a way to approach the mapping of clarification of musical dimensions through multi-stranded systematics.

- Via the vast differences in types of cognition in each project strand, I have indirectly demonstrated how strongly connected the artistic-methodological as well as the Artistic research study is to the cognitive models of what our field consists of

- I have created a number of new works with a vast sonic width, and yet from a unified aesthetic point of view.

- I have created a multidimensional, shareable model for how to map musical texture

- In terms of the harmonic meta-system of the “Complexion Miniatures” series, I have explained the intended end properties of the works. I have explained how I arrived at the systematics around the construction of this meta-system for harmonious variation across a large number of compositions.

- As a spill over result, I have suggested a model for description or clarification of artistic methods.

- I have shown how the question of context can be closely tied to an on going artistic practice.


[1] If the reader is unfamiliar with Meadows, I recommend visiting donellameadows.org or searching online for Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System.

Reflections on cognition and methods


In the form to the right, I have tried to make an overview of the project strands in terms of topic, mapping, albums, approach, type of analysis, general methods, type of harmony and “cognition focus”.


Considering how the different strands of the project distanced themselves from each other in terms of sounding result, I see the following relations between the parts of the project:

Each project strand, leading each to one or two albums, was informed by a choice of a.o. a “topic” or a musical dimension to investigate, a concept of what to map, a type of analysis, and a resulting artistic methodology. On a deeper level, one could argue that each strand has a focus on a specific kind of intelligence, or a specific type of mental representation – see “cognition focus” in the overview.

While working on the project, I was teaching my students ways to consider method in their work, and especially how to use the development and expansions of own methods for changing one’s music when wanted. Comparing the thoughts in this project with how the dialogue with students on method played out, I realized that the above concepts were pointing towards rethinking how I perceive the topic of artistic method:


Project Output


The Artistic output:


Released albums:

* Fosterchild: Dear Earthling, ILK, October, 2019

* Jacob Anderskov: Anterior Current, ILK, June 2020.

* Jacob Anderskov: Spirit of the Hive, ILK, June 2021


Loosely related, released albums:

* Zeuthen – Anderskov – Vestergaard: Ecstatic Embrace, ILK, September 2020

* Kinetics + Evan Parker: CHIASM, Clean Feed, June 2019


Closely related albums, still in the making:

* Jacob Anderskov: Emerald 

* Jacob Anderskov: Resonance III


Project Overview       Texture      Harmony      Context      Output and conclusions

Radio broadcasts:

DR P8 Jazz Alive, Koncerthuset, March 2018, premiering “But who is the Dreamer”, a commissioned piece for Gråbrødre Kammerkor, by J.A.

WDR: Resonance live in Köln, November 2019

JAPD forårsfællessang, Brorsons Kirke (broadcast from the Village), maj 2020.

DR Organ festival, J.A. - Monica Melcova Duo, October 2020

DR Midsommerfællessang, J.A. + DR Vokalensemblet, DR Koncerthuset, June 2020

ILK sessions @ The Lake Radio, April 2021: EMERALD (band world premiere)




(Onto Occidents performing beta version of card game, live, July 2019.

Live Video from Fosterchild live concert @ Jazzschmiede in Düsseldorf, March 2020 - omitted here for limitation concerns)

Documentation collage Video with photos from recording of Spirit of the Hive, November 2020

Compilation (excerpts) from Spirit of the Hive album, Released June 2018

(Spirit of the Hive, live at Danish Music Awards Jazz, December 2021 - recorded & broadcast by TV2 Lorry - performed after finishing this exposition. P.t. available online). 

Project info - credits.


The artistic research project Sonic Complexion was commenced in 2018. The main research work was done 2018-2020, with most album releases and exposition finalizing happening 2020-2021. The project was supported partly by the Danish Ministry of Culture's pool for artistic research and mainly by the R&D dept. at Rhythmic Music Conservatory, Copenhagen, for at total of 8 months. Some of the album productions from within the project received support from KODA Kultur, Kunststyrelsen, DJBFA, Kapelmesterforeningen & DMF.


At this time the 3 main albums and the 2 extra albums have been released. As of writing, it is not known when the aforementioned albums Emerald & Resonance III will be out. The sheet music book is expected to be released fall 2022.


This Research Catalogue exposition was peer reviewed, winter 2021-22, based on the RMC’s artistic research quality criteria SITRE (link).


Complexion Miniature #1 - commisioned by Fondation Danoise for Katrine Gislinge.

BOIDS - Swarming pieces for multiple improvisers: For SPIRIT OF THE HIVE: Bats, Bees, Birds, Bovinae, Bugs, "SOTH DMA". "Entanglement" commisioned by Lars Greve/Resonerende Rum, for Holstebro Musikskoles horn students, live at Gong Festival/ Alice, Sept 2021.

Complexion Miniatures: Turqoise, Opal, Agate, Fluorite, Fish Spotting, Citrin, Onyx, Amber, Ruby I, Amethyst I, Bloodstone, Sapphire, Shrine, Amethyst II, Ruby II, Emerald, Beryl , Quartz, Malachite, Sunstone, Pearl, Jade. (Sheet music book p.t. in the process of engraving + design, expected publishing fall 2022).

Saligia - 45 minutes piece for Antioxidanterne based on the seven deadly sins, February 2018.

Reinterpretations and improvisations around Post WW2-Western New Music repertoire, including: Randolf Moment, Ecrie “Clan”, Alfa Ruin, Prude lamb - cool Eel, Lou’s buzzed too Antoine, Unfair Prälat, Noten Warben (No tan, Webern), Akutschönes Chaoskünste.

Numerous improvisations, performed live and/or recorded & released.



Card Decks:

Metaphor Card Deck

Texture Card Deck

Changes Card Deck


The Texture Board Game: Planned, but abandoned…

Concerts (this listing contains only concerts from within the project, and omits Covid-related cancellations of planned events):


February: Antioxidanterne @ Stengade, ZAV @ Koncertkirken, KINETICS & EVAN PARKER TOUR: Huset, Aalborg - Koncertkirken, Cph - Sun Ship, Århus – Vortex, London.

March: DR P8 Jazz Live, Koncerthuset, premiering “But who is the Dreamer”, a commissioned piece for Gråbrødre Kammerkor, by J.A.

May: Fosterchild, Köln,

July: Anderskov Accident @ 5e, ZAV @ Christianshavns Beboerhus, Resonance @ Koncertkirken, J.A.-Maria Laurette Friis duo @ 5e, Laubroch-Anker-Strønen-Anderskov @ 5e.

August: J.A. Solo organ concert @ Freedom Music festival

September: Anderskov Accident @ Kollektive Nights, Berlin, Resonance @ JazzCup, Resonance @ DKDM

October: Anderskov solo, concert+talk @ NUT Ålborg, Nominee for Nordic Council Music Prize.

December: Resonance, Kulturhus Islands Brygge.


February: Solo @ Koncertkirken, ZAV @ H15.

March: J.A. + 10 MGK students, concerts at misc. venues, including Hotel Cecil, Cph, ZAV @ Brötz Göteborg, ZAV @ H15, Solo on World Piano Day @ Koncertkirken.

April: ZAV @ Sun Ship, Århus

May: Fosterchild in Köln + Dortmund. Katrine Gislinge world Premiere of Complexion Miniature @ Fondation Danoise, Paris

July: J.A.’s Onto-Occidentals @ 5e, Kinetics + Evan Parker @ Beboerhuset, Resonance @ Koncertkirken, solo improv fællessang #1 @ Brorson Kirke, ZAV @ 5e, J.A. & Sven Ingvarts Mikkelsen Du @ Skt Markus Kirke, Solo @ Designmuseet, Fosterchild @ 5e, ZAV @ Koncertkirken, Resonance @ PetroJazz, Skt Peterborg, Russia.

September: Resonance @ Faroe Islands x 3, ZAV @ Paradise Cph.

October: Solo @ Koncertkirken, Solo + presentation @ ICKA opening conference

November: Resonance @ Koncertkirken, ZAV tour (Lemvig, Krabbesholm, Literaturhaus Cph, Berlin, Köln, Hamburg), Resonance @ Klaen Köln incl. WDR Radio Broadcast.


February: Onto Occidentals @ H15, J.A. solo @ Brorson Vinterfællessang, Fosterchild @ Friesoythe.

March: Fosterchild @ Darmstadt & Köln & Dusseldorf, ZAV @ Club Primi & Testrup Højskole

May: J.A. Solo "Forårs-fællessang" Streamed, Village Recording

June: J.A. + DR Vokalensemblet, Live broadcast from DR Koncerthuset

July: Fosterchild @ Koncertkirken, ZAV @ Koncertkirken & Erlings.

September: ZAV @ Koncertkirken & Jyderup Højskole

October: ZAV @ Papaya, Ålborg

November: J.A. + Monica Melcova Duo @ Cph Organ Festival.


May: Spirit of the Hive, Club Primi.

June: Spirit of the Hive, Koncertkirken.

July: Resonance @ Koncertkirken, ZAV & Emerald & solo @ 5e, “Anderskov stjæler sangbogen til bage” @ Brorsons Kirke.




AR Output:

ICKA presentations, October 2019 & February 2021

RMC presentations for students February 2019, October 2019, August 2020.

RMC presentation for staff October 2019.

Danish KUV-network, presentation at RMC, April 2019

SAR - Bergen - “The lost conference” March 2020 – documented at https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/1192071/1192072

EPARM: performance lecture @ EPARM London, April 2020, cancelled.


Relevance for and inclusion of students:


In the medium-large ensemble Spirit of the Hive, previously known as Antioxidanterne/ Onto Occidentals, I have made it a point to have many students participate in the band. On the album, 5 musicians are current or recent students at RMC, and over the years, around three times as many students have been involved in performing with the band.


The project has been presented to different students at different times during the project time frame, reaching graduating students from at least five student years. On top of this, a number of composition students have encountered general perspectives from the project in the subject Composition.


The chain of though in the project has informed and influenced how I teach reflection on method, context, clarification of intension, etc. in the subject KUA (Artistic Development Work) at RMC.