fredag 19. desember 2014

Arne Nordheim / Deathprod split 7" single out now

A Forum for the Arts (1969)
Taken from the soundtrack to A Forum for the Arts  –  a promotional film about Henie Onstad Kunstsenter directed by Pål Bang-Hansen in 1970. Original material recorded in Studio Eksperymentlne Warsaw, 1969. Edited and reconstructed by Helge Sten at Audio Virus Lab, 2012. Licensed by Rannveig Getz

Studio (2010)
Taken from the sound and light installation Studio commissioned for the John Cage – The Anarchy of Silence exhibition at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, 2010. Recorded and produced by Helge Sten.

Cover photo by Lars Mørch Finborud
Art Direction by Lasse Marhaug
Special thanks to Rannveig Getz
Masterd by Helge Sten
Cut by Rinus Hooning at Record Industry
Prisma Records 2014

torsdag 29. august 2013

New release: ARNE NORDHEIM: Selected Works for Television 1967-1974 [DVD]

Arne Nordheim (1931-2010) is widely regarded as Norway’s best-known composer after Edvard Grieg. But did you know that he was a multidisciplinary artist and that his work inspired several of the country’s greatest visual artists?

Arne Nordheim’s art extends way beyond the confines of music. Throughout his life, he also worked closely with other art forms, such as theatre, fine arts, ballet, film, literature, architecture and installation art. In 1955, a journalist asked the young, up-and-coming composer: “What about the present, the future and -isms?” Arne Nordheim replied confidently: “No -isms for me, please!”

This DVD-release shows how Nordheim’s 50-year long multidisciplinary and ground-breaking career lived up to this motto and established him as a key figure of Norwegian, post-war art. This is the first opportunity to see his pioneering works in the field of television art created in collaboration with Norwegian visual artists such as Per Kleiva and Rolf Aamot, and known NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Bureau) technicians and directors such as Ole Henrik Moe, Stein-Roger Bull and Rolf Clemens. The DVD also includes the hour-long documentary Occupation: Composer, a film about Arne Nordheim made by Istvan Korda Kovacs in 1974.

The DVD accompanies the exhibition Arne Nordheim in the world of arts: No “-isms” for me, please! shown at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter August 22th 2013 – January 12th 2014.

This release is supported by The Freedom of Expression Foundation Oslo and The Norwegian Society of Composers.

onsdag 28. august 2013

New release: CAMILLE NORMENT: Toll CD

Camille Norment - Toll

Releasedate: September 9th 2013
Distributed through Musikkoperatørene, Forced Exposure, F-Minor, iTunes and Spotify

Camille Norment (b. 1970) is an American born artist, composer and musician living and working in Norway. For her debut album Toll she assembled an ensemble consisting of electric guitar, Norwegian hardingfele, and the rare glass armonica to explore the instruments’ collective sensual  and contextual psychoacoustics. Toll resonates through a tantalizing union of its instruments’ voices and their often paradoxical cultural histories. Each of the instruments were simultaneously revered and feared or even outlawed at various points in their histories.

In a slipstream of warping time and abrasive textures, the music levels ‘beauty’ with ‘noise’, and the consonant with the dissonant, as it embraces scratches, squeals, and taunting microtones as equals to purest of tones. Forming earworms and wooing songs, simple melodic phrases reference one another throughout the tracks - the echo is like the conjuring and re-forming of a memory that is at once psychological and somatic.

Toll was recorded at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Norway during the crystalline resonance of 18-21 February 2013. Besides Camille Norment the album feature the musicians Håvard Skaset and Vegard Vårdal.

The album is released by Henie Onstad Kunstsenters label Prisma Records.

For more info go to and


1. Toll
2. Lyst
3. Glare

torsdag 30. mai 2013

New release: HAL CLARK: Electro-Acoustic Works 1974–75

Hal Clark – Electro-Acoustic Works 1974-75
Release date: July 1st 2013
Distributed by Musikkoperatørene
Digital: iTunes, Spotify, Wimp

Composer, sound designer and curator/researcher Harold (Hal) Clark moved to Norway from San Francisco in the early 1970s to carry on his musical studies and career. In 1972 he was hired as a producer and tonmeister at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter at Høvikodden, Norway. Here he co-founded the Norwegian Studio for Electronic Music (NSEM) together with the late composer Arne Nordheim (1931-2010). 
Meeting with young Norwegian composers in regular salon-workshops and bringing with him the influences of the renowned San Francisco Tape Music Centre (studied with Robert Erickson), Harold commissioned technology artist Don Buchla to incorporate his series 502 digital-analog hybrid electronic instrument design into the completion of the NSEM studio in 1974. It was considered one of the foremost advanced instrument inventions at the time. 
Henie Onstad Kunstsenter and Harold Clark have now collaborated to publish his works from this period as a legacy project. Part of Harold’s electro-acoustic repertoire is exhibited with the release of this CD, capturing the essence of NSEM while revealing some of the composer’s musical character.
Harold Clark left Norway after 10 years and now lives in Vancouver, Canada, where he is writing a book on the ecology of contemporary music composition and the possible extinction of the modern composer as a socially relevant phenomenon in a world of corporate media.Prisma Records and HOK are proud to present this unknown hidden gem in the history of Norwegian and Canadian electronic and avant-garde music.

fredag 19. oktober 2012


Video From the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter Archives 1968-2011


Releasedate October 29, 2012

Artists: John Cage, Kjartan Slettemark, KILLL, Arne Nordheim, Stephen O`Malley, Mauricio Kagel, MoHa!, Christopher Nielsen/Masselys, Stian Skagen & Monica Winther.

This DVD presents seminal works of music, performance, dance, theater and installation art from the nearly 50-year history of Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK). When HOK founder Sonja Henie exclaimed that she wanted the Beatles to play at her art center,  in essence she expressed its founding ambition to produce and stage a lively cross-artistic program that captured the contemporary spirit of the day in live form. This release is filled with previous unreleased material from HOKs history, and shows for the first time Kjartan Slettemark dressed up as a poodle in 1975, Mauricio Kagels commisioned piece EX-POSITION from 1978, and the brilliant recording of John Cage reading Muoyce in 1983.

 "And now we take the first step into the future." Former director Ole Henrik Moe added this bold statement when HOK opened its doors to the public in 1968.  The museum of the future at Høvikodden would position dynamic time-based art alongside its collection of modernist masterworks of paintings and sculpture  ,demonstrating how the various forms art elaborate and collaborate with each other. Instead of expanding its art collection, the majority of HOK’s budget would go to events and exhibitions, to the production of new time-based works, and not least, to document ephemeral art.  

I Want the Beatles to Play at My Art Center! presents a small selction from Henie Onstad Kunstsenters videoarchives. The DVD contains a newly restored version of Pål Bang-Hansens promotional feature A Forum of the Arts from 1969 where amongst others Arne Nordheim performs his commisioned work for HOK Solitaire. For the first time one can see how the Norwegian Studio for Electronic Music looked like in 1975 and view an excerpt from Terje Rypdals opera Orfeus vender seg og ser på Eurydike. In addition the DVD contains more recent productions with artists like MoHa!, KILLL, Stephen O`Malley and Christopher Nielsen/Masselys.

This release accompanies the exhibition I Want the Beatles to Play at My Art Center! – Tidsbasert kunst ved HOK 1968-2011 opening October 28th at HOK with performances by Deathprod and Nils Bech. In relation the book Mot det totale museum is published by Forlaget Press together with a 2LP on Prisma Records. The exhibition and releases are curated by Lars Mørch Finborud.


- Music From the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter Archives 1968-2011

Releasedate October 29, 2012

This 2LP presents seminal works of music from the nearly 50-year history of Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK). When HOK founder Sonja Henie exclaimed that she wanted the Beatles to play at her art center,  in essence she expressed its founding ambition to produce and stage a lively cross-artistic program that captured the contemporary spirit of the day in live form. This release is filled with previous unreleased material recorded at HOK by artists such as Jim O`Rourke, Deathprod, Arne Nordheim, Soft Machine, John Cage and Jenny Hval.

 "And now we take the first step into the future." Former director Ole Henrik Moe added this bold statement when HOK opened its doors to the public in 1968.  The museum of the future at Høvikodden would position dynamic time-based art alongside its collection of modernist masterworks of paintings and sculpture, demonstrating how the various forms art elaborate and collaborate with each other. Instead of expanding its art collection, the majority of HOK’s budget would go to events and exhibitions, to the production of new time-based works, and not least, to document ephemeral art.  

I Want the Beatles to Play at My Art Center! presents a small selection from HOKs vast sound archives. For the first time one can hear excerpts from  Kåre Kolberg and Paal-Helge Haugens commisioned work Rekviem for Janis Joplin from 1972, Håkon Kornstad improvising in 2012, Hal Clark playing the legendary Buchla-synthesizer in The Norwegian Studio for Electronic Music in 1975, and Soft Machine at its prime in 1971 with Robert Wyatt on drums. The LP also contains commisoned works by Jenny Hval, Deathprod, Lasse Marhaug and Jim O`Rourke, all produced by HOK over the last years. Other artists represented on the 2LP are Bjørn Fongaard, The Aller Værste!, Svein Finnerud Trio, Sigurd Berge and Spontaneous Music Ensemble. 

This release accompanies the exhibition I Want the Beatles to Play at My Art Center! – Tidsbasert kunst ved HOK 1968-2011 opening on October 28th at HOK with performances by Deathprod and Nils Bech. In relation to the exhibition the book Mot det totale museum is published by Forlaget Press, together with a DVD on Prisma Records. The exhibition and releases are curated by Lars Mørch Finborud.

Tracklist LP

Side A
1. Arne Nordheim – A Forum of the Arts (1969)
2. Sigurd Berge – Excerpts from Blikk (1970)
3. Bjørn Fongaard - The Space Concerto for Piano and Tape (1971)

Side B
4. Soft Machine – Teeth  (1971)
5. Spontaneous Music Ensemble – Norway (1971)
6. Paal-Helge Haugen & Kåre Kolberg – Excerpts from Requiem for Janis
Joplin (1972)
7. Svein Finnerud Trio – Olga (1974)
8. Hal Clark – The Monkey and Organ Grinder (1975)

Side C
9. The Aller Værste! - Dans til musikken (1980)
10. John Cage – Excerpts from Muoyce (1983)
11. Magne Hegdal – Music for Marcel Duchamp (1983)
12. Lasse Marhaug – Ear Era 7 (2008)
13. Jim O`Rourke - Aunt Esther (2010)

Side D
14. Deathprod - Studio (2010)
15. Håkon Kornstad – Improvisations for Karin (2011) 
16. Jenny Hval – You sign your name (2012)

onsdag 17. oktober 2012

New release: OREN AMBARCHI / JAMES RUSHFORD: Wreckage [LP]

Wreckage presents a collaborative work jointly composed by Oren Ambarchi and James Rushford (originally commissioned for the Ultima Contemporary Music Festival at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter and premiered by Ensemble Neon) for their own instruments (piano and electric guitar) and a small chamber ensemble, performed here by an ensemble of leading lights in Melbourne’s experimental and new music communities. Rushford’s piano gently ushers the listener though a series of tonally ambiguous environments, building up unified textures through irregular iterations of small melodic and harmonic units. While the integration of Ambarchi’s spectral processed guitar (which gradually climbs to the foreground as the piece progresses) with the acoustic instrumentation recalls the late works of Luigi Nono, and the way the timbral lushness of the chamber group is tempered by never resolved harmonic tension seems to draw on Feldman’s work of the early 1970s, Wreckage also gestures towards the melancholic, intuitive minimalism of Luciano Cilio and Giusto Pio and the wandering melodicism of Aldo Clementi. The lushness of the instrumental textures employed and hints of almost-direct melodicism ensure the piece is approachable and immersive; but the ever-shifting harmonic foundations and complex interplay between voices ensures that it remains somewhere beyond the listener’s grasp, in a paradoxical state of simultaneous movement and stasis.

Limited edition of 400 copies.

onsdag 22. august 2012


This 2LP is a reissue of the holy grail of Norwegian free-jazz and electronic music, Popofoni, released by Sonet in 1973. It features compositions by Arne Nordheim, Terje Rypdal, Kåre Kolberg, Gunnar Sønstevold and Alfred Janson played by an extended Jan Garbarek Quintet. 

The Popofoni-project was initiated after a heated debate on Haagen Ringnes’ TV-show Åpen Post in autumn 1969, which dealt with the subject popmusic. Standing on one side you found the defenders of pop, actress and singer Elisabeth Grannemann, comedian and record producer Rolv Wesenlund and artist and record label owner Arne Bendiksen – who defended his 1969 Eurovision winner Oj oj oj så glad jeg skal bli. In the other corner was the “cultural elite” represented by literature researcher Erling Nielsen and pianist and Beethoven-expert Amalie Christie. Both sides expressed grave concerns about that their opponent’s music impaired their listeners abilities. During the broadcast, Grannemann performed a parody of an avant garde-composition which included throwing dishes and yelling, with direct reference to composer Arne Nordheims music. Some weeks later Nordheim picked up the handkerchief and responded by composing a pop song with avant garde qualities, Solar Plexus, performed by an expanded Jan Garbarek Quartet. Because of the great media attention this quarrel attracted, the organization Ny Musikk (IRCM) and Henie Onstad Kunstsenter decided to ask the experimental composers Kåre Kolberg, Alfred Janson, Gunnar Sønstevold, Terje Rypdal and Arne Nordheim to write new compositions in the meeting point be- tween pop and avant garde – hence the name Popofoni

The result was performed at a concert at the art centre in april 1970 and later documented on a double LP release on Sonet in 1973. It was pressed in 500 copies, and is now one of Norway’s rarest records.
This reissue is produced by Lars Mørch Finborud and Lasse Marhaug for Prisma Records, 2012. The release comes in a limited edition of 500 copies,

New release: KÅRE KOLBERG: ELECTRONIC WORKS 1970-1973 [LP]

Kåre Kolberg (b.1936) is one of Norway’s foremost contemporary composers and is regarded as one of the pioneers of early electronic music and cross-disciplinary art in Scandinavia. He has composed music for film, theatre and chamber orchestras to jazz acts such as Svein Finnerud Trio and Jan Garbarek. This LP contains three early electronic pieces by Kolberg and comes in a limited edition of 300 copies. 

The electronic tape composition Nova was made by Kåre Kolberg for the visual artist Anders Kjær’s multimedia-installation of the same title, exhibited at Henie Onstad Art Centre between 2–22 of august in 1972. The installation included a specially designed light-show and music playing from tapemachine in a loop – blended together with a huge 13x19 meter installation consisting of glass, rubber tires and piles of paper that the audience could walk through. Nova dealt directly with contemporary society’s destruction of nature and the glooming environmental threats of the 70s. It is regarded as one of Norway’s first examples of installation art. The sound was recorded in Polish Radio Experimental Studio in Warsaw, with the help of technician Bogdan Mazurek. The Polish Radio Experimental Studio was founded by Józef Patkowski in 1957. Kolberg was not the only Norwegian to use it; Arne Nordheim also went there to record his electronic music, including the famous Solitaire, which was presented at the opening of the Henie Onstad Art Centre in 1968.

Omgivelser (Enviroments) was a commissioned piece made for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) in 1970. It was composed as a soundtrack for a short film directed by Jan Horne. The idea was to melt abstract film impressions that showcased different sides of the environmental debate of the 1970s, together with experimental electronic music in order to create a singular expression. This piece was also recorded in Studio Eksperymentalne in Warsaw, together with sound engineer Bohdan Mazurek. Kolberg crafted the piece using the studio’s vast sound archives and two pre-recorded tapes. One tape consisted of different recordings Kolberg had made with jazz singer Karin Krog, and the other different field recordings by Kolberg, including Norwegian nursery rhymes sung by Kolberg’s oldest son. In the studio the material was treated with ring modulators and different filters. The result was broadcast in 1970. Since the standard TV-volume levels at the time were so low-fidelity, the dynamic range of Kolberg’s piece didn’t come out right. Kolberg therefore over the years re-presented the piece several times at various concerts.

The title translates to The Emperor’s New Tie. This piece was composed and recorded in 1973 at EMS (Electronic Music Studios) in Stockholm, using a PDP 15/40 computer. It was programmed in the EMS-1 computer language developed in the same studio. Keiserens nye slips was commissioned by Fylkingen, Stockholm.

mandag 16. april 2012

Prisma Records titles available

The following titles are still available:

Rolf Aamot: Tonal Image Films 1968-1991 (CD)
Kåre Kolberg: Nova (CD)
Kåre Kolberg: Omgivelser & Portando (CD)
Ingar Zach & Andreas Meland: Music For Tinguely (CD)
Sigurd Berge: Early Electronic Works (CD)
Merzbow: Live At Henie Onstad Art Centre (CD)
Masselys: Jimmy Polaris (CD)

Previous titles may still be found from shops and mailorders, but not from source.
All Prisma titles available digitally from iTunes.

søndag 8. januar 2012

Rolf Aamot - english text

By Rolf Aamot
The score of my auditive work is visual tone films, visual tone art; colour and curvilinear tones in changing spatial constellations. Tonality has been developed historically through many years, but provided an important impulse already in spring 1952 when I took part in a group of art and music students from Bergen invited to the city of Vienna as guests. Thus, we also were guest students at the Art Academy in Vienna at that time at a high artistic level. At the same time as the Viennese art museums gave us a thorough introduction to its collection, our meeting with Vienna's music were equally important.
In autumn 1952 I started at age 17 in the painting class at the National College of Art (SHKS), Oslo. Directly adjacent to SHKS was the Art Museum, where I had access to its unique art literature library. It was a collection with an international range, including the contemporary. It gave me a lasting inspiration to study the colour and curvilinear tones of visual art. Another, and neglected, source of inspiration occurred in the school canteen, where I met an active student environment from the Oslo School of Architecture.
The road to the auditory tone world is short, eg specifically, through concrete music. In 1952 Pierre Schaeffer and his Group on Concrete Music started a development project. Two years later, 1954, it was performed at the SHKS, Oslo, in the school auditorium. This electro-acoustic music, which makes use of natural sounds, often converted electronically, is closely related to film and visual arts. For this reason, French composers and filmmakers collaborated in the Group on Concrete Music. Jon Medböe, arts theorist and musicologist at the SHKS, enriched our art scene with his insightful lectures on the boundaries between art forms. He also opened up our attention to concrete music.
After studying at SHKS (1952-1955) and the National Art Academy, Oslo (1958-1960), I started an intense development with various forms of sound art. The first visual tone concert was launched in Bergen Art Museum, 1965. The following year, under the auspices of New Music, I perfomed another concert at the Munch Museum in Oslo. Parallel to the concerts I composed pictorial tone works for television and cinema. It was, at the same time, breaking and not breaking with musical tradition.
Visual art and the artist's freedom and human presence has always been musical language, colour and line. On the surface we find external content presenting as a mask - eg. the art of the later Rembrandt can also be regarded as a tonal work, with the simple surface structure blurred and lifted into a free rhythm and balance between accented light and shadowy tones, the colours of their overtones ubiquitous. It is in this context one must see the goal I set for myself - a visual tone art, in which line and colour, alone or in interaction with the auditive - the specific sound structures and their electronic transformations - may meld with musics other formal languages. Tone Art in space and time include inner and outer reality.
These issues, outlined above, was part of the philosophy I presented in 1964 to the composer Arne Nordheim and the art historian Ole Henrik Moe. Respecting each other's disciplines, we started a collaboration that led to the work Evolution. After agreeing on the composition structure, I played my part of the work at the NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation). Nordheim received a copy of the recording, then working on the basis of his own world of sounds. The electronic music was recorded in Warsaw, Poland. In its compound form the work was completed in 1966, and was broadcast in the spring of 1967. Later it turned out that this was the first time that television was used as an independent visual artistic expression.
In 1967 I started a new collaborative project, this time with composer Björn Fongaard and choreographer Edith Roger. It led to Relief (as in sculpture), a visual tone ballet for NRK Television Theater. Relief was the thematic basis. It was a close and intense cooperation between all involved in the project. The NRK studio team showed immediate openness to our artistic goals, and our demands. In 1968, Relief was broadcast by NRK-TV. That same year, German television showed a visual ballet of Otto Piene. When the two works were submitted, it was the second time television was used as a medium for direct expression of visual art.
In parallel with the collaboration with composers I created my sound structures / music based on the visual arts. My visual tone works are scores for the auditory: sine tones, specific sound structures, acoustic instruments, and voice and breathing, as sound sources. All of it subsumed under electronic transformations. The auditive and the visual field share a common tonal space. The painter Björg Lödöen and I often recorded the audio for a number of my visual tone films, where the association with colour and curvilinear tones is the supporting force. This includes Kinetic Energy (1967-1968), Vision (1969), Structures (1970), Actio (1980) and Northern Lights (1991).
Through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s I composed pictorial tone works for television. At the same time I worked with film for cinema and exhibitions. In the years from 1964 to 1970 I held visual tone concerts in Oslo, Bergen, Copenhagen and Paris.
Seen in retrospective
In the late 1950s the artistic and technical issues underpinning my visual and auditive tonal language had been established, leading to the development of electronic instruments for image and sound. The instruments for image tones were the precondition for my auditive work. The first pictorial instrument was a prototype. It had control over the colour frequencies regardless of tonal dynamics. In this context, the leader of the Christian Michelsen Institute, Helmer Dal, played an important role. With his background from World War II developing radar in the United Kingdom he immediately grasped the idea of an instrument based on colour frequencies. Thanks to Dal and his technicians my prototype got a crucial boost, and later they were to follow me during my first two visual tone concerts in Bergen.
It began with a concert for the board of the Bergen Art Museum, 1965. The concert opened up a further artistic and technical development of visual tone art, and its dissemination in various media. Bergen Bank, with its director Sjur Lindebrekke, was of vital importance economically, while Norwegian Film led by its director Erik Borge and NRK´s television director Otto Nes assured the practical conditions allowing my art to become part of film and television media.
The Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs invited me to hold a visual tone concert for the Council's board at The Norwegian Academy of Science in Oslo. Director Erik Borge gave a lecture about the film and about visual tone art before the concert. After the concert, the director of the Council, painter Haakon Stenstadvold, turned to me and said: "Will you go abroad?" I replied, "My application to the Council was for a development project, technically and artistically, for my musical language." Stenstadvold responded immediately, "I asked you if you will travel abroad." When none of the other board members said something, I realized there was no place for a question here but a matter of answering yes or no. So I said yes. Stenstadvold said: "We cannot risk building a fiddle in Norway, whilst other European countries might already have pianos." In other words, it was to be as he had said!
With the travel budget commissioned by the Council divided into three, there were to be three trips around Europe, reporting to our embassies in the respective countries. After each trip, I also had to deliver a report to the Arts Council in Norway, meeting with Stenstadvold at his office, which was also his studio at the time he was the dean of the SHKS.
As the Norwegian Council made me their envoy - on behalf of the Norwegian government - I met with open doors everywhere. There were many studio visits including at Le Parc´s, who had won the great painting prize at the Venice Biennale. He and his colleagues lived in old abandoned craft workshops in Paris. The economic foundation of artistic activity did, however, not compare with his fame and glory, forcing him to sell off reflector parts from his light reliefs as independent "art". For the market they were "art objects".
Later, I was a guest at Philips in Eindhoven, Holland. Philips had their main base there, in an egg-shaped exhibition building supposed to represent a vision for the future of electronics. The French artist Nicolas Schöffer had received a commission, with his light sculpture technique, in order to give the exhibition a flight of fantasy. When I later visited Schöffer in Paris at his studio, he believed that his art had been abused by Philips, warning me against signing a contract with the company.
My conclusion after my travels for the Norwegian Council of Cultural Affairs was that the belief that everything would be so much better out in the "big world" was a mere illusion. We so often tend to forget that art in Renaissance Italy, the Baroque in Holland, and the art research of Bauhaus did, in fact, occur in small and medium sized urban communities.
Rolf Aamot
June, 2011.
Some definitions
Visual tone films:
The score of auditory tone art is visual tone films.
Visual art tone:
Visual sound art / tone art is colour and curvilinear tones.
Colour and curvilinear tones:
Colour and curvilinear each has its tonal range,
as in music: 5, 7, 12 or quarter tones.
Translated from the Norwegian by Olav Arnold Lödöen

torsdag 22. desember 2011

Rolf Aamot tekst

In regards to the Prisma Records release of Tonal Images Films 1966-1991, Aamot wrote this piece about his works and career (this text is in Norwegian only)


Av Rolf Aamot

Partituret til mine auditive verk er bildende tonefilmer, bildende tonekunst; farge- og linjebuetoner i skiftende romkonstellasjoner. Tonespråket er utviklet over en årrekke, men fikk viktige impulser allerede våren 1952 da en gruppe kunst- og musikkstudenter fra Bergen ble invitert til byen Wien som gjester. Dermed ble vi også gjestehospitanter på Kunstakademiet i Wien som på denne tid var på et høyt kunstfaglig nivå. På samme tid som kunstmuséne gav oss grundig innføring i sine samlinger, ble også møtet med Wiens musikkliv stående som noe like viktig for oss.

Høsten 1952 begynte jeg 17 år gammel i malerklassen ved Statens Håndverks- og Kunstindustriskole (SHKS), Oslo. Vegg i vegg med SHKS lå Kunstindustrimuseet, her fikk jeg tilgang til museets unike kunstlitteraturbibliotek. Det var et internasjonalt spenn over museets samling av kunstbøker, også i tid. Det ga meg en vedvarende inspirasjon til å foreta studier av billedkunstens farge- og linjebuetoner. En annen og upåaktet inspirasjonskilde oppsto i skolens kantine, her traff jeg et aktivt studentmiljø fra Oslo Arkitekthøgskole.

Veien til den auditive toneverden er kort, bl.a. gjennom Konkret Musikk. I 1952 startet Pierre Schaeffer og hans Group on Concret Music et utviklingsprosjekt i Paris for denne musikkformen. To år senere, 1954, ble den konkrete musikken framført i SHKS, Oslo, i skolens forelesningssal. Denne elektro-akustiske musikken, som tar i bruk naturlige lyder, og som gjerne ble omarbeidet elektronisk, står billedkunsten og filmen nær. Av denne grunn samarbeidet franske komponister og filmskapere i Group on Concret Music. Jon Medbøe, SHKSs kunst- og musikkviter, sprengte med sine innsiktsfulle forelesninger vårt kunstmiljøs oppfatninger av grensene mellom kunstartene. Han åpnet dessuten opp vår oppmerksomhet for den konkrete musikken.

Etter studietiden ved SHKS (1952-1955) og Statens Kunstakademi, Oslo, (1958-1960) kom jeg i gang med et intenst utviklingsarbeid med ulike former av tonekunst. Den første bildende tonekonsert ble lansert i Bergen Kunstforening, 1965. Året etter, i regi av Ny Musikk, ble fremført en ny konsert på Munch Museet i Oslo. Parallelt med konsertene komponerte jeg bildende toneverk for fjernsyn og kino. Som fenomen i tidens utvikling både var og ikke var dette et tradisjonsbrudd.

Billedkunsten og malerens frihet og menneskelig nærhet har til alle tider vært tonespråket; fargen og linjen. Over ligger det ytre innhold som en maske. F. eks. er kunsten til den eldre Rembrandt også å betrakte som et toneverk, hvor komposisjonens enkle flatestruktur utviskes og går opp i en fri rytme og balanse mellom aksentuerte lys- og skyggetoner. Fargene med sine overtoner er allestedsnærværende. Det er i denne sammenheng man må se det målet jeg har satt meg; en bildende tonekunst, hvor linjen og fargen alene, eller i samspill med det auditive, fra de konkrete lydstrukturer og deres elektroniske forvandlinger kan sammensmelte med musikkens andre formspråk. Tonekunst i rom og tid omfatter den indre og ytre virkelighet.

Disse problemstillingene, som her er skissert, inngikk i det idègrunnlag som jeg i 1964
presenterte for komponisten Arne Nordheim og kunsthistorikeren Ole Henrik Moe.
Med respekt for hverandres fagfelt startet vi et samarbeid, som førte fram til verket Evolution. Etter at vi var blitt enig om komposisjonens struktur, spilte jeg inn min del av verket i NRK-jjernsynet. Nordheim fikk en kopi av opptaket, og arbeidet deretter videre ut fra sin egen klangverden. Den elektroniske musikken ble tatt opp i Warszawa, Polen. Verket var i sin sammensatte form ferdig i 1966, og sendt våren 1967. Senere viste det seg at dette var første gang – i en internasjonal sammenheng - at fjernsynet ble brukt som selvstendig billedkunstnerisk uttrykksmiddel.

I 1967 startet jeg et nytt samarbeidsprosjekt. Denne gangen med komponisten Bjørn Fongaard og koreografen Edith Roger. Det førte fram til Relieff, en bildende toneballett for NRK, Fjernsynsteateret. Det tematiske grunnlaget var bl.a. fra Relieff, en bildende tonefilm for kino. Det ble et nært og intenst samarbeid mellom alle som var involvert i prosjektet. NRKs studioteam viste en umiddelbar åpenhet overfor våre kunstneriske målsetninger, for ikke å si krav. I 1968 ble Relieff sendt i NRK-fjernsynet. Samme år viste tysk fjernsyn en billedballett av Otto Piene. Da de to verkene ble sendt var dette andre gangen at fjernsynet som medium var en direkte uttrykksform for billedkunsten.

Parallelt i samarbeidet med komponister formet jeg lydstrukturer/musikk basert på billedkunstens premisser. Mine billedtoneverk er partitur for det auditive: sinustoner, konkrete lydstrukturer, akustiske instrumenter, og stemmen og pusten som lydkilde. Alt under elektroniske forvandlinger. Det auditive og det visuelle har et felles tonerom å forholde seg til. Maleren Bjørg Lødøen og jeg har ofte sammen innspilt det auditive for en rekke av mine bildende tonefilmer, hvor tilhørigheten til farge- og linjebuetoner er den bærende kraft. Dette gjelder bl.a. Kinetisk Energi (1967-1968), Vision (1969), Strukturer (1970), Actio (1980) og Nordlys (1991).

Gjennom 1960-, 1970 og 1980 årene komponerte jeg bildende toneverk for fjernsyn. Samtidig arbeidet jeg med filmmediet for kino og utstilling. I årene fra 1964 til 1970 holdt jeg bildende tonekonserter i Oslo, Bergen, København og Paris.

Sett i et tilbakeblikk
I slutten av 1950 årene var de kunstneriske og tekniske problemstillingene klargjort for mitt visuelle og auditive tonespråk, som førte fram til elektroniske instrumenter for bilde og lyd. Forutsetningen for det auditive var instrumentene for billedtoner. Det første billedinstrumentet var en prototype. Den hadde kontroll over fargefrekvensene uansett tonenes dynamikk. I denne sammenheng ble lederen for Chr. Michelsens Institutt, Helmer Dal, viktig. Han deltok under 2. Verdenskrig med å utvikle radaren i England. Han oppfattet straks oppgavestillingen i mine fargefrekvenser. Takket være Dal bidro hans teknikere til at min prototype fikk et avgjørende løft, og i tillegg fulgte de meg opp under mine to første bildende tonekonserter i Bergen.

Det begynte med konsert for styret i Bergen Kunstforening, 1965. Konserten åpnet opp for en videre kunstnerisk og teknisk utvikling av den bildende tonekunst, og formidling av den i ulike media. Her var Bergen Bank, ved bankdirektør Sjur Lindebrekke, økonomisk avgjørende, mens Norsk Film as, ved direktør Erik Borge, og NRK-fjernsynets direktør Otto Nes la de praktiske forholdene til rette, for at min kunstart ble en del av film- og fjernsynsmediene.

Norsk Kulturråd inviterte meg til å holde en bildende tonekonsert for rådets styre i Det norske vitenskapsakademi i Oslo. Direktør Erik Borge holdt et foredrag om filmen og om den bildende tonekunst før konserten. Etter konserten sa Kulturrådets leder, maleren Håkon Stenstadvold, henvendt til meg: ”Vil du reise ut?” Jeg svarte: ”Min søknad til rådet var rettet mot et utviklingsprosjekt, teknisk og kunstnerisk, for mitt tonespråk”. Stenstadvold svarte umiddelbart kontant: ”Jeg spurte deg om du vil reise til utlandet”. Da ingen av de andre styremedlemene sa noe, forstod jeg at her var det kun et enten eller. Derfor sa jeg ja. Da kom det fra Stenstadvold: ”Vi kan ikke risikere at vi bygger en hardingfele i Norge mens de i utlandet allerede har flygler”. Med andre ord: Det fikk bli som han sa!

Oppdraget fra Kulturrådet ble tre reiser rundt om i Europa, nettopp fordi reisebudsjettet også var delt i tre, og med meldeplikt til våre ambasader i de landene jeg kom til. Etter hver reise måtte jeg dessuten avlevere en rapport til Kulturrådet hjemme i Norge. Stenstadvold møtte jeg på hans kontor, som også var hans atelier da han var han rektor ved SHKS.

Ettersom Norsk Kulturråd foretok min utsending – på vegne av Den norske regjering - møtte jeg åpne dører overalt. Det ble mange atelierbesøk bl.a. hos Le Parc, som hadde vunnet den store maleriprisen på Biennale de Venezia. Han og hans kolleger holdt til i gamle nedlagte håndverkverksteder i Paris. Det økonomiske grunnlaget for den kunstneriske virksomheten stod ikke i forhold den æren og berømmelsen han var blitt til del. Derfor solgte han reflektordeler fra sine lysrelieffer, som selvstendige ”kunstverk”. For markedet var de ”kunstobjekter”.

Senere var jeg gjest hos Phillips i Eindhoven, Holland. Phillips hadde her, i sin hovedbase, en eggformet utstillingsbygning som skulle gi en visjon om framtidens elektronikk. Den franske kunstneren Nicolas Schøffer hadde med sin lysskulpturteknikk fått i oppdrag å gi utstillingen en fantasiens løft. Da jeg senere besøkte Schøffer i Paris på hans atelier, mente han at hans kunst var blitt misbrukt av Phillips, og advarte meg derfor mot å skrive under en kontrakt med selskapet.

Min konklusjon etter mine reiser for Norsk Kulturåd var at troen på at alt er så mye bedre ute i ”den store verden” bare var en illusjon. Man glemmer så ofte at kunstlivet i de små bysamfunnene i renessansens Italia, i barokkens Holland, og Bauhaus sin kunstforskning, faktisk oppsto i små og middels store bysamfunn.

Rolf Aamot
Juni, 2011.

Noen definisjoner

Bildende tonefilmer:
Partituret til den auditive tonekunst er bildende tonefilmer.

Bildende tonekunst:
Bildende tonekunst/visuell tonekunst er farge- og linjebuetoner.

Farge- og linjebuetoner:
Fargen og linjebuetoner har hver for seg sitt toneomfang.
På linje med musikken: 5, 7, 12 eller kvarttoner.

onsdag 23. november 2011

Kåre Kolberg: Omgivelser & Portando CD

Kåre Kolberg (b.1936) is one of Norway’s foremost contemporary composers and is regarded as one of the pioneers of early electronic music and multi-disciplinarity art in Scandinavia. He has composed music for film, theatre and chamber orchestras to jazz acts such as Svein Finnerud Trio and Jan Garbarek.
Kolberg’s Omgivelser (Surroundings) was a commissioned piece made for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) in 1970. It was made as a soundtrack for a short TV-film of the same name that was made by director Jan Horne. The idea was to melt abstract film impressions that showcased different sides of the environmental debate of the 1970s, together with experimental electronic music in order to create a singular expression. Kolberg travelled to the famous Studio Eksperymentalne in Warsaw, run by Jósef Patowski, to record the music. Together with sound engineer Bohdan Mazurek Kolberg crafted the piece using the studio’s vast sound archives and two pre-recorded tapes that he had brought from Norway. One tape consisted of different sound recordings Kolberg had made with experimental jazz singer Karin Krog and the other contained different field recordings by Kolberg, including a Norwegian nursery rhymes sung by Kolberg’s eldest son. In the studio they processed this material with ring modulators and filters, and added different modified instruments created by an engineer at the studio. The piece was recorded using what were at the time the Rolls Royce of tape machines: two Telefunken Magnetophon M10s. The piece was originally broadcast to Norwegian homes in 1970. Since the standard TV-volume levels are set so low, the dynamic range of Kolberg’s music was not optimal. Kolberg kept the original master tape and over the years Omgivelser was presented several times at different electronic music concerts.

Portando, (meaning to transport or carry in Italian) was a commissioned piece for the Henie Onstad Art Centre in 1987. The centre’s music coordinator at that time, Åse Hedstrøm asked Kolberg to write the piece especially for the art centre. Kolberg worked together with the studio founder and sound-engineer Mats Claesson using Norway’s first micro-processors and Mac based Studio Technology. The piece is written for electronic tapes and two live percussionists, which were played by Bjørn Rabben and Einar Fjævoll.

The CD release of Omgivelser & Portando is an important addition to the history of Norwegian electronic music, and should be of great interest to fans of Arne Nordheim and Kåre Kolberg.

Available on CD and iTunes from November 2011.

Rolf Aamot: Tonal Image Films 1968-1991 CD

Rolf Aamot (b.1934) is a Norwegian electronic painter, graphic artist, film director and tonal image composer. Since the early 60s he has worked with the relationship between image and sound and he is regarded as one of the pioneers of audio-visual art in Scandinavia. Aamot has collaborated with artists and composers such as Bjørg Lødøen, Arne Nordheim and Bjørn Fongaard and his work Evolution, made together with Nordheim in 1966 was the the first time the television was used as a creative medium in Norway. In the 70s and 80s Aamot continued this work in electronic and digital paintings.

Tonal Image Films 1968-1991 documents for the first time Rolf Aamots and Bjørg Lødøen’s tonal images, the audio part to the tonal image films he directed between 1968 and 1991. The music consists of abstract sounds and movements from different electronic sources, interacting with pre-recorded and prepared acoustic instruments and human voices. Prisma Records is proud to present the previously unreleased but highly original music of Rolf Aamot for the first time.

Available on CD and iTunes from November 2011.

Masselys: Jimmy Polars - Live at the Henie Onstad Art Centre CD

This release documents the music Masselys made for the commisioned audio-visual piece, Jimmy Polaris, by visual artist Christopher Nielsen, animator Matt Willis-Jones and Masselys.

Nielsen and Willis-Jones worked together on Norway’s most expensive animation film; Slipp Jimmy Fri from 2006. For Jimmy Polaris they used early raw animation snippets from the film’s preproduction phase. Nielsen and Willis-Jones then real-time manipulated these sketches into a psychedelic visual overload, which Masselys then provided the soundtrack to. Jimmy Polaris premiered at the Henie Onstad Art Centre the 8th of May 2011 to a sold out venue.

Masselys consists of Bjarne Larsen, John Birger Wormdahl, Jonas Hestvik Dahl and Kjell-Olav Jørgensen. Together they produce a melting pot of mutant disco, electronica, funk and krautrock. Jimmy Polaris consists of seven new tracks.

For the show at Henie Onstad Art Centre Christopher Nielsen wrote: ”Welcome to a consciousness expanding seance, where it is highly possible to see the light."

Available on CD and iTunes from November 2011.