T. Jervell – Just a little Coco loco interview

Trond Jervell lives and works in Lofoten, Norway. A Love Letter to Coco is his 7th solo album. 

Working in the cross section between Ambient, Musique Concrete and Noise, T. Jervell strives to strike a balance between chaos and order, silence and noise, texture and tone.  

So Trond, how and why did you start making music? 

This is such a cliché, but I started making music because (for as long as I can remember) I have had a strong urge/need to make music. 

I have fond memories of summer holidays at Tofte where I sat on the rocks by the sea, beating and scraping stones against the rock, singing spontaneous (improvised) songs to myself. 

Much to my frustration, I had no instruments of my own at that time. So, when my stepfather was at work, I used to sneak down to his “office” in the basement, and hammer away at his guitar. He also had a Roland RE-201 that we used to make “chipmunk voices” with. It wasn’t until I was 12-13 years old that I got my first keyboard (Casio Rapman), and that was the starting point for my music making. 

In the same period, I stumbled across the British group The KLF’s “Chill Out” album. This album, as well as Biosphere’s “Patashnik”, opened a whole new (sound)world for me and eventually lead me to explore composers such as Stockhausen and Pierre Henry. 

How is your musical practice today? 

As I experience it, music, and the urge to create music, is a fundamental part of me as a person. For me, this means that I “need” to work on different aspects of my musical practice on a daily basis. Be it listening, exploring/playing instruments, recording interesting sounds, composing, conversing, and theorizing about music, etc. Much of this relates to a want, and need, to being curious, searching, listening, exploring, and trying to frame my sound/musical ideas. 

When it comes to presenting my music to an audience, I have mostly worked within the confines of the studio. In other words, I have only manifested my sound universe in the form of physical (and digital) releases. 

However, as the years go by, the urge to play live has emerged. Which has lead to a few nice concerts, and gig at the Insomnia Festival in Tromsø. The live experience is something I really enjoyed, and it’s something I want to do more of in the future. 

How did you come up with the title of your new release “Love Letter to Coco”? And how are the song titles put together? 

When I started the process of recording this album, I had an idea that the music should be “the sound” of a love letter. In my artistic work, letters, and the postal service, has been a recurring theme. There are several aspects of this theme that I find captivating, but with this release it was the intimacy of the handwritten letter, and the waiting (longing) for a letter from one’s beloved to arrive, that inspired me. 

I also found inspiration in the Norwegian postal service’s old audio letters, an inspiration that I want to focus on further in a future project. 

The title “Love Letter to Coco” is based on two different approaches to the composition work. 

The first aspect is related to the instruments I used on the release, and the second is related to a narrative I built up in connection with the composing work. 

A compositional approach I sometimes use is to limit the number of instruments that I can utilize in the work. In this case I chose to focus on one special instrument, an esoteric sampler/delay called “Cocoquantus”. This is a stand-alone instrument, but it can also be used to process external sound sources. 

So, the Coco part of the title refers to this aforementioned instrument, but it also refers to the story of a fictional baroness, named Coco Bosanquet Von Zellersasn. (The baroness’ full name also reveals two other instruments that can be heard on the album.) A baroness with white hair, flashy dresses, a magnificent castle, and a grandiose garden. 

It is this Coco who receives a passionate love letter from her beloved. A letter that reminisces the memories of a summer day (and night) infused with intense romantic feelings and loving words, but also insecurity and jealousy. This is the narrative that I used as a compositional tool, in the making of this album. 

The song titles on the album are sentences and fragments taken from the love letter and can therefore be seen as elements that underpin the musical narrative. 

Can you tell us a bit about how the various tracks are built up, instrumentation, mixing, composition vs improvisation etc.? 

All the tracks have the use of the instrument Cocoquantus as a common denominator. This is an instrument I have worked with for several years, so I know it very well. 

Sometimes I have worked with this instrument alone, but most often I have used it to process other sound sources/instruments. With the narrative in mind, I have improvised long recording sessions on my instruments, which I then edit down to small segments. These edits are either used as they are in the composition, or further processed with the help of the Coco. Here, much of the compositional work has been in arranging and putting these various segments and processed pieces together in a way that is interesting and that supports the story I am trying to tell. 

Other times, like on “Flutter Ceaslessly In Your Direction”, I’ve composed a melody line that I then record (in real time) into the Coco, while I both fill in with other sounds and make (patch)connections that change the way the Coco is processing the sound sources. 

The tracks with this approach have largely been recorded directly, without significant post-work/editing. 

The sounding material on the album thus rests to a large extent on improvisations on various instruments, which are then processed, manipulated and arranged. Or improvisation based on planned/composed melodic structures. 

In other words, I have tried to find a balance between the spontaneous and the constructed. 

By allowing a more free-spirited approach to the recording of the various instruments, I experience a greater breadth in the sound material available to me in the composing process. Something that I feel opens up sounds and aural events that I probably wouldn’t have come across from a more predetermined (score-based/composed) starting point. 

What are the plans going forward? 

First of all, I want to play more concerts. 

As of today, a release concert for “Love Letter for Coco” has been booked in Kabelvåg/Lofoten on the 18th of October 2023. Next year I will be doing a silent film concert, during the silent film days (Tromsø International Film Festival) in April 2024. 

I am also working on several releases, including one based on Postens Lydkassett, as well as another mail/letter-based composition, which I want to perform eventually. 

Radical Ambient Music is a project based on a manifesto (of sorts) that I have written. In short, it is an initiative/invitation to other artists to create site-specific music, without artificial sound enhancers such as delay and reverb effects, but rather, preferably played (and recorded) in the area/place they describe musically. In this way, acknowledging Brian Eno’s thoughts on what ambient music is. The various artists’ contributions are then published on R.A.M.’s bandcamp page, as part of a larger collection of Radical Ambient Music. 

For more information please visit: https://radicalambient.bandcamp.com/album/radical-ambient-music 

Planks Editions is a series of cassette releases, where different artists work based on a set of rules. The first cassette in the series consisted of music from “The &co Choir”, the next release is planned for December 2023.

Shawn Hansen’s Radio Badlands Invisible Medium (Family) History

Shawn Hansen’s new cassette album is out on TIEP may 28th 2018! It’s called Radio Badlands and is a 70 minutes long phonographic + impro piece. TIEP-man asked Mr. Hansen a couple of questions about the process etc. Hope you find the time to read a bit while you’re here.
Maybe you can turn on the radio in the background while reading?: tiep.bandcamp.com/album/radio-badlands

1. What were your musical beginnings and how did you find your way into electronic music?

Besides studying music formally, I think the origins of music making and interest in electronics stems from the turntable, radio, and making mix tapes (or what my family called Misc. tapes, short for miscellaneous). My father was a record salesman in the 1950’s and 60’s before I was born and the main turntable in the house was an altar of sorts; a place of magic, solitude, togetherness, and spiritual pursuit. Even though I was studying traditional acoustic instruments at the same time, I did not initially differentiate between playing music on the piano versus the turntable. It wasn’t until a teacher of mine in college, who introduced me to the EMS synthi AKS, an analog synthesizer from the early 1970’s and Pierre Schaeffer’s tape music, Musique Concrete, that I started to see the application of exploring this line between playing music on an instrument and playing music on a turntable.

2. You were using phonography in the making of your album. How and why does it work? And how did you first come in contact with these kinds of tools?

Phonography, or field recording or sound hunting has been in the mix for me sonically back to when I originally was making tapes. I was making Misc. tapes direct from recordings, but I would also make recordings onto cassette of the radio, citizen-band radio, and found sounds around the house with a shoebox recorder. I started to use walkie-talkies to make recordings from a distance of close-up sounds and creating radio feedback. I used a Sharp top-loading cassette recorder until I was living in New York, and the deck wore out. Just prior to that Mini-Discs came out and that opened up the possibilities of portable recording and very high-fidelity recordings for relatively little money. I would invite people over to eat and hang out at home and I’d have people take turns wearing the headphones while the Mini-Disc recorded our hang. That recorder wore out as well and I went for a number of years without doing field recordings but in the last few years I rediscovered the joy and awe of hunting sounds with a recorder. I recommend it to everyone.

Phonographer in action

3. Can you tell us some more about the non-tech sides of your album – your trip to the Dakotas?

I had been thinking about field recordings and I was also investigating natural radio, so when a trip started to formulate around putting my grandparents’ ashes to rest in a cemetery in North Dakota, I decided it was time to try to create an album documenting a different type of performance; one abandoning the conventional public stage and a recording process that happened outside of the home or professional recording studio. My parents and brother and I had visited South Dakota when we were kids, so my brother and I tried to recreate some of the same events that had occurred thirty years before as we drove up to North Dakota, staying in the same cabin and seeing the same tourist attractions.

After the burial, my wife and I decided to pursue other family history and I had researched and found the plot of land that my great grandmother had homesteaded as a young woman after emigrating from Norway. In a rental car, we drove for four or more hours on dirt roads and did not see one other living soul. We found the plot and walked around. I shot some photos but I was too spooked to doing any recording. Not so much about ghosts, but more about being so isolated from other humans and trespassing on someone else’s property. It felt amazing to find the land, but I also realized how significant it was to see how insignificant and mundane the land was. It is hard to explain, but I would liken it to seeing something in real life in color vision after only seeing in in a black and white photo. There was zero fantasy about this flat and desolate place. If I could do it over again I would have recorded there, but that’s how it goes. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to hit record, or play the first note.

Homestead rock pile (trespassing)

From here we planned on camping in national parks for the next week or more and I would try to record on-site improvisations while doing field recordings. It was also a goal to capture the dawn chorus, a natural radio phenomena, present in the VLF radio band. Both of these goals informed our movements and choices of what and where to go to a great degree. Finding unique sounding places, or waking up well before dawn in order to find a place as far away from the electrical grid as possible gave us a structure for our adventure.

Painting from old time Dakota

4. Working with the album – did you think about concepts like the spiritual, the natural and the technological world?

Definitely thought about the natural world. As phonography can often be about ecology or non-human sounds, this album certainly pivoted around the national park landscapes of the badlands in North and South Dakota. The main reasons for this were the fact that we wanted to camp and be out doors, but also the VLF receiver only works when you are away from the electrical grid. The spiritual was not a huge driving force in the album, but I would suggest that this idea of nature is tied closely with my definition of the spirit, so maybe it was a part of it. Ironically, technology was not important, conceptually, to the album. Though I am using electronic recording instruments and musical instruments, they felt and feel transparent to me. Most compositional and performance work for me is concerned with sound at a very fundamental level and electronic instruments and the recorded medium can be stripped down to nothing and built back up as needed, without the baggage of the history of a particular instrument’s historical repertoire.

5. How do you understand/explain the concept/word “radio”?

Radio, like the turntable, has a magical place in my cosmology. Sound is an invisible medium, and radio is cloaked in yet another veil needing to be decoded and amplified by circuitry to be able to hear it. I would hazard that radio, as we know it today, is a technological version of what we already understand, subconsciously, as telepathy, esp, sixth sense, intuition, coincidence, precognition etc. Traditionally, radio was a community tool, and the listeners, though perhaps alone, knew that others were listening to the same broadcast at the same time. Most distributed mediums are no longer synced in this way, and may be consumed at any time for the listener’s convenience. Back in 1984 when I was making random cassette recordings, I created my own imaginary radio station, KJEA-radio, and started to curate the cassettes in this fashion. I kept up the concept loosely, until in 2001, while living in New York, I built my first radio transmitter with the help of Brenda Hutchinson. KJEA-radio became a very active conceptual framework for me to either conceptually or literally transmit sound, ideas, space or time. I’m happy to champion the idea of radio in any way, shape or form these days, taking great inspiration from Buckminster Fuller’s ideas about radio and its role in human social evolution.

6. And the Badlands – what’s that?

The badlands are a region in the western parts of both North and South Dakota states. Most people refer to the Badlands as only the park in South Dakota, but this is a misconception. Theodore Roosevelt Nation Park in North Dakota is also an area of badlands and is quite unique. It is the least visited National Park in the contiguous United States. Great for visiting, but certainly more people should go! The Badlands in South Dakota are more extreme with less vegetation. It resembles the moon or mars in ways, because of this lack of vegetation and I think many film crews have utilized this resemblance. Go check out these parks for yourselves!

7. Can you tell us a little bit about the other instruments used on the album – OP1 and Standuino 2pi?

Searching for portable instruments, even just something to easily load and carry to gigs after playing a large Farfisa organ for years, lead eventually to the OP-1 by Teenage Engineering out of Sweden. It is an unbelievably clever and intuitive instrument, based on early smart phone technology. Since it was developed by a design company, rather than a company who makes musical instruments, it was able to shed the somewhat boring and overly codified and typical synth hardware features, like a mod and pitch shift wheel. Filters that only do “X” and oscillators that always sound like “Y” and have “Z” functionality. Instead the instrument has a wild variety of features, but each with very narrow parameters, making experimenting and exploring the instrument very feasible and enjoyable. It has sampling capabilities so I was able to capture natural sounds from the location I was in and use that in improvising with the same environment.

The Standuino 2pi is a rare instrument from the Czech Republic based on arduino tech. It is a white noise and sine wave oscillator synth (two of my favorite sound building blocks), with no discernable way to navigate or learn how to use the instrument. It just has five knobs and three function buttons all unlabeled and fifteen slots to change the sounds you can use and when you power it off you have to start all over from scratch. It is very portable and great for drones and visceral sonic textures.

8. What are your thoughts about improvisation vs. composition in music?

The short answer is improvisation is instant composition. For me, I was brought up on jazz and improvisation plays such a featured role in the genre, more so than other popular musical forms. The jazz avant-garde was my gateway to fully improvised music apart from any one form or genre of music. Composition is basically organization of music, whether it be the traditional paper notation or the recorded medium, but improvisation, in its purest form, is more about the organization of sound. It is a more general practice, and this discipline, either solo or with other improvisers, can greatly inform the compositional process. I often reduce these functions down to basics in order to utilize their unique creative perspectives: phonography is listening, composition is contemplation, and improvisation is action.

9. What kind of connections do you see between your work as a piano technician and the music you make?

Even though I was interested in sound and acoustics as it pertained to music, I was shocked and delighted on how challenging it was to learn how to tune pianos by ear. I had to scrap the way I used my ears, almost entirely, and start over from scratch. It has made me a much more specific listener, given me a greater endurance for listening and discerning between similar sounds, and a propensity towards sonic and mechanical problem solving. Most of my piano clients do not have an understanding of my musical practice but most of my musical friends and followers know about my piano technology career. I love that I get to work with sound all day every day.

10. What are your upcoming musical projects? Other material coming out, concerts, etc.?

This weekend I am playing a dream set for a camping music festival in Kansas City. I’ll be playing a relatively short set at 2:20am till around 4:00am. I’m looking forward to it. The world is pretty quiet at that time of night/morning, but some robins in this area start up around 4am so they might join in my set. Other than improvised electronics and phonography, I am interested in reinvestigating the music I was raised on, jazz big band music spanning from the 1930’s to the 1970’s. This new material may take years to form, but I am excited to have started the exploration this year. Another recording session with Chris Forsyth’s Solar Motel Band is penciled in for 2018 and Sean Julian is visiting Kansas City to work on our first duo recording of Buchla Music Easel and Ciat Lonbarde duets. Last but not least, I have been collaborating with the writer, Cyrus Console, for the last year developing a set of films of sound and visual text, and a way of performing these films live. It has been a beautifully paced collaboration; it’s always so exciting to improvise with someone outside of the musical context.

11. Anything else you would like to say to the world?

KJEA radio! killer jams every afternoon

the radio radiates

love casts no shadow

Sean Julian Thunder Mountain Music Easel

Interview with Sean Julian about his debut album release Sounds of the Birch Forest.

When and how did you get on the path of electronic music?

I would say my path of making music started with 2 turntables and a SP-1200 sampler. This is back in 1995, I was 18 years old and obsessed with hip-hop. I remember being drawn to the beats I was hearing from A Tribe Called Quest, Gangstarr, and Beastie Boys (just to name a few). Although I’m not sure if people would call hip hop beats electronic music… but I’m going to say that’s where i got started. If you were to ask me back then what is electronic music I would have said “Dance Music” (techno and house). But I do remember finding weird old records on a label called Nonsuch which was usually titled Electronic Music. This Electronic Music fascinated me, but I had no clue to what was making these strange sounds or any understanding of what the composition were about. Really just thought it was a bunch of noise and it puzzled me how someone was able to release this kind of music. Pan forward to about 2008 when I got my first synthesizer from a friend of mine, which was an old Oberheim 2 voice. I remember asking him what is in that black case sitting over there in your living room. “Oh that, some kind of keyboard, but I don’t think it works”. When I lifted the lid to take a peek I just saw a bunch of knobs, I remember plugging it in, and immediately hearing these bleeps and bloops sounds that reminded me of those Nonsuch records. Right then I knew that I had to have it! So I guess that’s when I would say my interested in making the kind of electronic music/sounds that I play today really began.

How did you end up on Thunder Mountain and in the Birch Forest?

This I feel it is a long story but to make a long story short I ended up on Thunder Mountain by getting to know the community who lives there, The Peaceweavers. I met them by attending a couple of their silent meditation retreats. At around the time of May 2016 I knew I wanted a change from the city lifestyle where i was living which was Ridgewood New York, so I started to look into how I could live closer to nature. I ended up writing them an email asking to do a live work stay for a year on their organic farm. They agreed and even had a cabin out in the woods that I could stay in. So now I’m living a more Walden life style, farming and tending to my cabin on Thunder Mountain which is not really a mountain, but more like a big hill in Bath New York.

Sean in the birch forest

What is a Music Easel and what makes it so special?

The BEMI music easel that I use is a reissue of Don Buchla’s Music Easel from the early 70s. Which is a portable suit case style synthesizer with semi modular capabilities. There are only a handful of the original ones made by Don out in the world. So I was excited when I found out that they were being made again. What makes it special to me is that it’s beautifully designed, basic, and simple but at the same time very complex. I have yet to run out of ideas with using it and in all actuality I am still finding my way with it. I think I read somewhere that Don’s original concept for the Easel was for it to be played in nature and I really like that! I have a rechargeable battery that I use to power the cabin and I also use it to power the Easel in the forest on nice days.

How is cabin life (as seen on the cover photo) and how does it affect your music?

All the recordings you hear on the album are a reflection of what I’ve experienced in the pass year living in the cabin. It has been an incredible journey so far and at times challenging. But every day when I step outside into the woods I give thanks for having this opportunity. There’s a quieting that the forest gives me not just in the physical but more in a spiritual sense. Which is what I was searching for when I decided I wanted to leave the congested city. Just walking around listening to the sounds in the forest is truly the main inspiration to my work. The slower paced lifestyle of being on the farm as also had a major affect on me. I’ve noticed that I feel more at ease when I go to make music in this peaceful setting. The simplicity of the cabin with its wood burning stove, my coat rack, some books and the Easel contributes to the minimalism in the music I record there. I like things simple, when I record I only use a Sony PCM recorder to record with. I’m not one to do any post production with a computer or anything. I look at it like a camera to a photo trying my best to capture a moment while being in the moment. If there are any mistakes I’ll either wait and try again later or keep it the way it is.

Sean’s cabin

Where can we hear you live in 2018?

I hope to play out more often in 2018 in places all around New York State and possibly San Francisco. Really down to play where ever and I’ll for sure continue to play in random places outside probably to no one 🙂 But a goal of mine will be to travel abroad to Norway or Japan. I guess the real answer is stay tuned!

More about Sean Julian here:
YouTube channel

Tenori-Are @ home

Halloi! Here is a fresh from the oven interview with Are Mokkelbost, about the album Rundhåndet, which will be released on TIEP December 8th 2017.

1. What is a Tenori-On and what does it do?

It’s a small sequencer that Yamaha launched about ten years ago. It is handheld and based on an interface consisting of 16 x 16 luminous buttons that work both as a display and as an interface for making audio. It is powered by battery and has built-in speakers and sounds – like a small sketchpad for music really.

There are some similar things that are more advanced, but I immediately liked these limitations when I saw it in a store in Denmark. I did not buy it, but that night I dreamed a lot about it. So then I got the day after.


2. Where and how were the songs for Rundhåndet made? 

I traveled a lot when I bought it, and in a time before smartphones I think it was magical to be able to make music at the airport or on the train. Later it was typically on the couch or the bed. A little like drawing doodles.

In the past, I had worked very linearly with audio, pasting and gluing directly into the timeline – so sequencing felt difficult. This became a gateway, and not being able to choose your own sounds was nice. It means that you can avoid thinking about genres, in a way.

Making many layers of simple shapes, which sum up to something else, that was more than enough for me. In addition, the Tenori-On has some fun, original angles on how to create arpeggios and sequences, such as bouncing balls and balls that fly between a note-constellation, which again can be rotated..!

Since this was pastime activity and playful exercises, expectations were none to zero – and so the music came pouring out. The songs have since have been on my hard drive until you guys asked if I had anything laying around.

3. What do you put in the term Rundhåndet?

It means to be generous, which fits since we are giving away this album for Christmas! And then it’s a very corny and literal picture of how the music is made; by pushing on and off round buttons with your hands…

4. How did you come up with the song titles? Why Norwegian titles? Could you imagine creating lyrics or libretto?

I think text and music is almost impossible to combine. I often perceive that vocals are a kind of shanghai’ing of music, a way to force the abstract into the literal language. But there are many exceptions to that, of course, but I don’t feel I can master anything like that.

The titles are inspired by the password generator of my internet banking. Each time you log in, it generates a random combination of an adjective and a noun, such as “Ivrig Bever” and “Snodig Elsker” – in Norwegian. It is like an intro course in poetry, and I find it always work on some level. You obviously understand the super-simple random algorithm while at the same time you can’t avoid imagining something. That is how it is with music and titles too; nothing is ever completely wrong, all combinations give a certain meaning. So then it is fun trying to hear the music for the first time and imagine what it IS, and forget how it came about.

5. What do you like best working with, music or art (if you were forced to choose)? Why? And what differences and similarities do you see in what you do as a visual artist and as a musician / composer?

I thought for a long time I had to choose, but gave it up. Today, I live off the visual arts strangely enough, so the music is automatically allocated to evenings and weekends. One of the great privileges of making art is to be able to listen to music at the studio all day. So I’m surrounded by music all the time, and since my music studio is in the same spot, everything is happening in close proximity.

At its best, one activity becomes time off from the other. Then you do not experience it as work anymore, but what can be called plus-energy activity. Or simply a great hobby. What serves this purpose depends on what you did during the daytime. If I have been sitting in front of my computer, I want to spend the evening away from the screen, so then it’s fitting to tweak physical sound boxes in the living room, do carpentry or something physical. Having worked at the workshop, it’s a luxury to sit down, open a sound project on my computer and edit last week’s improvisations – nice and clean.

This is one similarity between how I work with art and music: I like to change between periods of improvisation and editing – I rarely produce anything in one go. I guess most people work like this, it just seems I tend to repeat the process quite a few times. It is like I have to leave the material for a great while to be able to hear it freed from my original intentions. And then cut it into pieces and then try to repair it again, having changed it completely in the process.

Another hang up that I have had over the last couple of years is to use concepts and formalistic ideas more as starting points, often leaving them behind as the work comes into its own. If there was any relevance to the idea then it hopefully is present somehow, if not at least it gives the process a specific direction I can respond to. Simply stated I am more interested in concepts as temporary fixtures, not an aim in itself. An ideal to strive towards, at least.

6. Does it matter to you whether tools / materials are digital or analogue? What do you think of the new Eurorack enthusiasts? And how is the Tenori as a (relatively limited) digital box interesting, compared to advanced controllers for Ableton Live and alike?

With images and music, I increasingly like to base myself on very simple formal premises, and see how far I can get. I have previously worked with more complex systems with many rules at the same time, while now I try to reduce to fewer parameters at a time.

Often the formal premise lies in the technology itself, whether it is scissors and paper, stained glass, drum machines or image scanners. The simpler the starting point is, the easier it is to begin the process of getting to know a new technique, I find. Then you always go deeper later, as a consequence of having spent time with it.

So I really like both: I need tools that are high end and deep (usually more expensive) and more eclectic stuff that only does one thing (usually cheaper), where the fun lies in luring something interesting out of them. Be it digital or analogue. I’m just as fond of my small, roll out pocket organ with low-resolution sounds, as of my expensive, digital FM synthesizer.

Another example: I’ve created a large audio library based on the recording of feedback loops I’ve made with various low cost effect units. The feedback chains in effect become a form of synthesis that generates lots of strange sounds that I isolate and use when making other music. At this point it’s great to be able to use Ableton Live’s samplers and juicy plugins to wedge it well into the rest of the music.

I haven’t dared starting with Eurorack yet, because I’m still battling with what feels like endless possibilities in the rig I already have. And because of the limited space in my studio. After a period of knob tweaking in real-time, I’m also ready to go back into the editing process again, being more interested in having the music occur in the cutting and pasting itself, and less as a steady stream of sound from various sources. But if I find some productive limitations I can cultivate in the Eurorack format, I´m sure I will end up there too.

7. What do you think about the relationship between recorded music and live music? Are improvisation, coincidence and generative processes important to you, or do you want to compose / write music in a more classic sense?

Live music is a kind of fresh goods, a way to be together at a given moment, like a mix of a concentration exercise and collective daydreaming, gone when it´s over. And I love it for those qualities. And then I love composed music, as carefully organized sounds assembled by one human being, made for other people’s private experience, potentially to be enjoyed at various times in the endless future.

I have to say that over the years I have been going less and less to shows. There are so many things that I am wary of at concerts at this point, which tend to take over the whole experience, for a cranky, old man like myself. But in the right setting it’s amazing, of course. More daytime hours and food in combination with music, please!

I improvise just about every day – on the organ in the studio, on various gadgets I’m taking home from the studio, and so on. However, recordings as documentation of live music I rarely listen to. I remember, I had a heated discussion with Keith Rowe about this many years ago at the art academy – he thought it was something bourgeois and speculative with composed music, that free improvisation was more real and direct. He elevated that moment when the music occurs in real time, and put it in opposition to the organized sound. When I asked what he was thinking about when he was improvising music, he answered the “the struggle of the working class”. Wow! To me, there is nothing more generous and touching than carefully organized music that can be experienced by anyone regardless of time and space.

To me, improvisation is a prerequisite for composition. Just as when cutting in pictures, I like to manage sonic building blocks of information that has a defined energy and then see how they affect each other. These are completely unpredictable things that can hardly be hatched out in advance. The few times that I compose things from scratch from an idea, almost without exception it turns out totally different than I expected. Then the dilemma arises between harrowing on with the original intention, or trying to work more pragmatically from what have arisen and do something else. Any which way I have to cut and paste in the material until it starts to resemble something that I want to listen to again – which is the only relevant goal. I envy those who work in a linear way, but I can´t seem to do it like that.

As such, this album is untypical – it is more like a selection of more spontaneous sketches that I think have just enough to them to be spared a lifetime sentence on a hard drive.

8. Do you play concerts with the Rundhåndet material? If so where and how?

Sure, I will play some if asked! Like for example now when the album is to be released at Rett Ned (a concert series). Weirdly enough, last time I played with the Tenori-On was for the Norwegian King. I doubt that it will be stranger than that!

9. Do you have any other synths, sequencers, software etc. you like to work with?

Two favorites are the Tempest drum machine by Dave Smith Instruments and the Nord Lead 3 digital synthesizer by Clavia. They are both instruments where you can go deep and design your own sounds, and I use that a lot. They can make everything from very clean and pretty sounds to really mean sounding things. There are so many corny presets out there, so I find it a big challenge to make a palette of sounds that seem natural and simple enough, somehow.

I also have many of Elektron’s machines and love the parameter lock feature there. But it annoys me that they always have to vary where the buttons are located and that they do not have individual ADSR envelopes on all sounds, more LFOs and deeper synth engines.

10. Do you have any new music on time?

Thank you for asking! I have done lots of sketches over the last ten years on a lot of different gear, in a period where I have had to prioritize working on art commissions during the daytime. Now I finally have the time and studio space to work with music again and am seeing the contours of some albums. We’ll see!

More about Are: www.aremokkelbost.com

Tiger Iguana Elephant Pelican

So 606

On Nov 2, 2016, at 3:52 PM, Christa Barlinn Korvald wrote:

Hello So,

You have made a cassette on the record label TIEP, do you want to give an interview about the songs? Then we can post it on the TIEP Blog!

1) What kind of animals or beast do you see in your music?

I see different kind of abstract creatures. Espen captured it pretty well on the artwork of cassette though ! 

2) What do they do?

They are mingling and dancing. 

3) Do you often see animals when you are making design?

Only when I make music with modular synth. 

4) You have not made music for 15 years, why is that you think?

I lost interest in making software based music during the 00’s until I discover Eurorack modular synth. Guess I was missing more tactile & organic experience in creating music. 

5) Did you see creatures in your music 15 years ago?

I saw computer screens 🙂 

6) How did you discover the modular synthesis?

I understood modular synthesis when I discovered Hosono Haruomi’s experimental “electro-exotica” album Cochin Moon which was also a collaboration with Tadanori Yokoo who is a well known artist/graphic designer.

7) Will you make more music in this way?

Modular synthesis will be the canvas of my musical expression for a long time to come.

8) Do you like TIEP?

We are so in tuned with understanding and appreciation on music and arts in general. 

9) If TIEP was an animal, what would it be?

Not just an animal but Tiger Iguana Elephant Pelican.

10) How will you spend the rest of the day?

I tame the creatures.

11) I hope you can answer! Thank you!

Thanks you, hope you enjoyed the answers! 

Cheers, So 

Conversation with Titus B


Titus B is back with a  new EP, we asked him some questions:

Hello Titus B.! Hope you’re fine! Here are some questions from Oslo:

1. Where are you and what are you doing right now?

Hi TIEP! I am in Stockholm and trying to survive.

2. How long have you been making music?

I have made music since i was about 12.

3. How / when did you discover electronic music?

My first encounter with techno was a playlist with DJ godfather and DJ assault.

4. You draw and paint as well. Does your art have any connection with the music? Or there are two (three) different worlds for you?

My drawing has nothing to do with my music, but the drawing in general has everything to do with music? It is a dance.

5. Are you a future man?

Absolutely. Compulsive future optimistic.

6. Where does your sounds come from?

My sounds mainly comes from a sampling cd from the 90s that I bought for 10 kronor in a music store.

7. Where does your song titles come from?

The titles comes from words that are related to sex and love.

8. Do you exercise?

I workout 2-3 times a week. Makes you bright and strong. Workout People are scary and have sexy bodies. LOL.

9. Do you dance?

I dance all the time.

10. What is the best club in Stockholm?

Haha, best club .. I think most of them are bad. I heard some good music at a rave this summer.. a portuguese 18 year old girl who played a nice set.

11. What was the best album in 2015?

“Formula 2” by Romeo Santos.

12. What is the best album ever?

Anita Baker “Giving you the best That I Got”

13. Where is your music most relevant?

My music is most relevant on the dance floor.

14. What is the Bassmusik?

Music where the bass is a shock.

15. Do you have an anecdote to share?

My computer crashed last night as I listened to Sade “You’re not the man”.

16. If you want to ask us in TIEP about something?

No, I have no questions .. I think you should get a medal, and I miss Oslo. Stockholm is OK, but … you know 😉

Interview with コッペン

Today we are releasing a new cassette with コ ッ ペ ン aka Koppen. It’s called Okinawa Adventure Team. Here is a little interview we did with him:

Are you tired of making ‘pop’? Have you started to make sound art now?

No, I have not made anything really. I’ve just pressed record on a tablet.

What is this project?

It´s sounds and songs I recorded during a holiday in Okinawa. It is almost completely untreated. Some minor editing only.

What does the title “Okinawa Adventure Team” mean? – What are we listening to?

The title is in English so I assume most people understand what it means. Or? The team is me, Moet and Sean, but with the exception of Moet you cannot hear us not on the recordings. There are some nature sounds, some kids, some people walking with geta shoes and som folk music from Okinawa. Some of the footage is from Kyoto, but most it is from Okinawa. All the songs are from Okinawa. Most were recorded while we sat on the roof of an old man, drinking. It is he and his cousins playing.

What did you do in / on Okinawa?

Swam in the ocean and drank awamori. Not much more to do there.

How did you do the recordings (did people know that you recorded etc.)?

I recorded on a phone and on a tablet. The old man and his cousins saw me hit record but forgot about it pretty soon I guess. It was quite “humid”.

How did you de the editing (is the unedited)?

I had Thomas cut and fix levels. I just sat there with my whip, like a dictator.

Where is the green fish from?

The photo was taken at the fish market Makishi in Naha. Think it’s a Toerka Fugu. The fish that is poisonous if you cut it wrong.

Would you like to make more of this type of publication?

Yes, I would love to. Was that a proposition?

Yes! Is there an ‘Oslo Adventure Team’?

Yes, but they only do parkour and urban exploration.

Anything you want to say to the kids?

Hey, hey, hey … smoke weed every day!

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