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Norwegian Sound Poems: Kristoffer Lo and Bjorn Thevik

Eyal Hareuveni By

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These two debut solo albums of innovative Norwegian musicians—Kristoffer Lo and Bjørn Thevik feature long and nuanced sound poems, created with minimal means.

Kristoffer Lo

Anomie

Gigafon

2013

Tuba player Lo, a member of the art-rock trio PELbO and Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, is using only his tuba, amplified via a big bass amplifier and few pedals. With these minimalist means he creates an hour long, intense and atmospheric musical universe of his own, showing a remarkable command of his instrument.

The tube is transformed into a sound generator that creates a hushed, repetitive deep drone, meditative overtones, otherworldly whispers, disturbing rustles, resonating tones and even distant cries. At first it sounds as if time stands still but the sound of the amplified tuba becomes elastic, it mutates and thickens patiently, adding more dark, evocative colors and dissonant sounds till it sounds like a new organism, with its own sonic properties.

Halfway through Anomie, the sculpted sonic texture reaches its climax, already with few recurring elements. Its reserved progression is still intense, highly detailed and emotionally charged. But after more than twenty minutes of meditative introduction, Anomie sound is noisier, with a threatening impact, close in its spirit to the drone-metal symphonies of Stephen O'Malley and Oren Ambarchi. Than in its last ten minutes the tension dissolves and and the thick sonic texture is reduced into a fragile, ethereal drone.

A unique masterpiece.

Enter the album name hereBjørn Thevik

Introitus

Atterklang

2013

Multi-instrumentalist Thevik has played with experimental pop bands but his main interest in music is improvisation. On Introitus he uses the analogue Moog synthesizer, two analogue Nagra tape machines and delay pedals to create a low-key, atmospheric sound poem.

The music of Thevik is much more brighter than the Lo's Anomie. The sound of the old synthesizer, even when it is stretched with more up-to-date devices, is limited to a melodic spectrum of colors, almost pop-ish ones. The beginning of Introitus sound indeed as a new-age sonic tapestry that may refer to the 1970s/1980s folk-synth symphonies of Kitaro.

But then Thevik gently and patiently alters and distorts these melodic washes, transforms them into mysterious waves of sounds and sketches a completely new texture, beautiful and optimistic. The altered texture is still a fragile, soothing soundscape, but richer, with its own sense of spare rhythm and with a minimalist, cinematic narrative.

Thevik is a true explorer of the synthesizer.


Tracks and Personnel

Anomie

Tracks: Anomie.

Personnel: Kristoffer Lo: amplified tuba.

Introitus

Track: Introitus.

Personnel: Bjørn Thevik: moog synthesizer, delay pedal, tape recorder.

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