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Arve Henriksen: The Trumpet is My Pen

By Published: May 20, 2013
AAJ: Is the new material present in the box [Chron] going to be published separately as an independent release?

AH: This new material is planned to be released this fall as a separate release. It runs around 40 minutes and we might add some bonus material. We'll see. Basically, the box needed something special inside to offer and the new material is a way of presenting this package as a separate and special entity. It will probably be out this fall.

AAJ: Please discuss the creative spark behind your upcoming record.

AH: Chron was a collection of very different compositions or songs which I'd made in the last three or four years. Some are new and some are bit older. It is based on the possibility of recording whenever and wherever you want. With the recording equipment you have today, like laptops, and making recordings of differing qualities—ranging from MP3 to 24-bit—or with Dictaphones, there is now some very advanced recording equipment. One can even buy recording equipment for the iPhone. All these media for recording are very interesting. And I've been thinking of having this momentum of in life regarding music and composing; I can sit anywhere and get ideas by just listening to one sound. This is something Storløkken talked about many years ago. When he was working on a synthetic structure, a single sound or a new sound, that he gradually managed to program, could inspire him to write a new composition.

This is a very interesting way of thinking, and I've been influenced by what he has said. For me, sitting at the restaurant and suddenly hearing an ambulance and a waitress putting a glass on the table—all these daily life sounds with which we are surrounded every day—could be possible inspirations for small sequences of music.

So, very often, I carry with myself small recorders and I can easily record some sound I hear at an airport, on a street. I travel a lot, and I can record various sounds in different places. I collect these sounds and bring them back into my studio. I did a concert in Parma, Italy, and I found this Celeste piano, and while the others were having a sound check, I was backstage recording Celeste sounds. I immediately put the sounds into my computer and made a sequence of Celeste sounds. I could pitch them, I could twist them, I could play Around backwards, or use them as two or three-minute fundamentals. I play these fundamentals in concert, we improvise upon them and I record it and this becomes a new composition for me. You can use all kinds of situations to compose. The speed with which we can compose is really fast. It is a matter of several minutes.

The compositions on Chron were made while on tour. Some of them were recorded in the Studio, based on material recorded live while touring. The second track on Chron was based on a metal installation in a hotel reception in Cologne and the piano was added half a year later on a tour with Supersilent, when I was sitting backstage with a piano. So, Chron is very multilayered record, including the context. There are some tracks where I don't play a trumpet at all—I play an organ, synthesizers or other sounds which I put together like vocals or drums. It has a different approach compared to Cartography. Probably it is closest to Strjon. I think there is a link to that Rune Grammofon material. One of the songs was done in a hotel room in Heidelberg, Germany.

I've just been collecting sounds, and Chron is the result. I think that is a very interesting way of working with music these days and it matches my attitude towards music. It is linked to real-time recording and real-time live and trying to be in it. Of course, I have to mention the importance of Helge Sten, who is the producer. He made the selection, put it together, mixed it and mastered it. He knows my way of music-making and he produced it together nicely. Helge is a "shmecker." I have to point out that he is also the brains behind the records of Supersilent. He is the producer and the elder gentleman. Supersilent is based on the input of all of us, but Helge is the guy producing and putting things together. So, he is very important both for the Supersilent concept and for me with my solo albums, and I'm really proud of our achievements.

Selected Discography

Arve Henriksen, Solidification (Rune Grammofon, 2013)
Supersilent, 11 (Rune Grammofon, 2010)
Supersilent, 10 (Rune Grammofon, 2010)
Supersilent, 9 (Rune Grammofon, 2009)
Arve Henriksen, Cartography (ECM, 2008)
Arve Henriksen, Strjon (Rune Grammofon, 2007)
Supersilent, 8 (Rune Grammofon, 2007)
Supersilent, 7 (Rune Grammofon, 2005)
Arve Henriksen, Chiaroscuro (Rune Grammofon, 2004)
Supersilent, 6 (Rune Grammofon, 2003)
Arve Henriksen, Sakuteiki (Rune Grammofon, 2001)
Supersilent, 5 (Rune Grammofon, 2001)
Supersilent, 4 (Rune Grammofon, 1998)
Supersilent, 1-3 (Rune Grammofon, 1997)

Photo Credit

Page 2 (top): John Kelman

Page 2 (bottom): Klaus Muempfer

All Other Photos: courtesy Arve Henriksen

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