Punktfest 06 - Kristiansand, Norway - Day Three, August 26, 2006
The final live remix performance in the Alpha Room brought together what might appear to be a paradoxical collection of players on the surface. On one hand there were contemporary sound sculptors like Erik Honoré and Peter Baden, guitarist Eyvind Aarset and Nils Petter Molvaer. On the other, traditional singer Mari Boine and percussionist Gunnar Augland. But Boine's recent album, Eight Seasons (Northside, 2003), was a collaboration with producer/programmer/keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft, so the idea of the old and new finding a common meeting place wasn't the least bit outlandish.
In fact, while this was not the final performance of the festivalthat honor went to the Danish group Tys Tysperhaps it should have been. The remarkable way in which Augland's hand drumming meshed with Baden's programming and Honoré's live remixing/sampling was matched by the way Molvaer's modernistic tone worked hand-in-glove with Boine's voice. Once again Aarset proved himself a most atypical guitaristone who may remain silent for minutes, then contribute a brief passage of perhaps half a dozen notes. But when he plays those notes, every single one counts for something.
With Punkt 06 wrapping up, a quick look back reinforces just how unique an event it is. Its core philosophieslive remixing, unhindered innovation, and an open sense of community extending beyond the musicians to embrace the audience, stage presentations and sounddistinguish it from virtually every other improvisation-based festival. The very fact that it has core philosophies at all is enough to separate it from most festivals, actually.
There are plans to turn Punkt into a movable feast which could take place at any point in the world. But the fact is that it could only have begun in Norway, where there's a vibrant group of artists, many of whom are conversant with the language of American jazz, but choose to use their own cultural roots as an inspiration for innovation. While many will debate the validity or relevance of Punkt in the "jazz" scheme of things, that simply isn't an issue. Call it what you will, Punkt represents the kind of informed, organized and inviting festival that others should watch to learn exactly how such an event should be done.