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Punkt 2019

Punkt 2019

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Sørlandet Art Museum, Kick Scene, Domkirken, Kilden
Kristiansand, Norway
September 5-7, 2019

Punkt, with its 15th anniversary, is a quite young member among this year's prominent jubilees. It is still in the thrilling and promising future that has taken its course from 2005 on. Punkt then brought studio-technology to the stage, thereby establishing an extended form of improvisation, the live-remix of a concert as a whole, on the crossroads of other musicians' listening, their memory and recorded traces of that very music. After 15 years it has become a striking practice of an open form that has developed via felicitous moments of transformation, stunning highlights as well as productive failures.

The Punkt Projections at Sørlandet Art Museum with graphic work of Nina Birkelan and photography of Alf Solbakken floating on a mixtape of Punkt musical performances through the years compiled by Punkt-originators Jan Bang and Erik Honore offered a memory space to walk around and meditate sitting while the crossfading pictures triggered the spectator's own memory traces and associations. A strikingly clear and evocative iconography as a representation of and guide into Punkt's very own concept and aesthetics was presented there in a fabulous frugal way.

Punkt has been covered at All About Jazz through the years, from 2006—2019: see the reviews here: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006.

A recollective intro

As a 2018-addendum and short exercise in recollection, a snapshot of last year's coherent opening night of Punkt with exclusively younger-generation-musicians is here called to mind. The five performances in the bare geometrical ambience of Kristiansand Kunsthall were revealed as a strikingly coherent, concentrated and exemplary sequence showing the range, variability and the possibilities of contemporary electro-acoustic music created by a new young generation. As such it served as an ideal and well-chosen basic stepping-stone into the wider landscape of live-remix work during the next two days.

Starting out with the hyper precision of Agnes Hvizdalek's vocal work on the sub-atomic level employing the entirety of the human vocalization apparatus the subsequent Skrap duo of Anna Lauvdal and Heida Mobeck went into an extreme opposite field with their rampant tumbling and sprawling conglomerations of utterly diverse snippets and threads of all kinds of collected music, sprouting in a glistering volcanic seething. The duo Glimt of Ingvild Sandstad and Ieva Praneviciute then brought another kind of precision in its subtle crossfading of acoustic and electronic sound. The Greek duo of Giorgos Varoutas and Anna Linardou took up the vocal thread of the beginning in a quite different way. From abstract vocalizations intertwined with masterful sophisticated electronics the music gradually grew into veiled and slightly distorted fragments of Greek and other Mediterranean folk songs. The force of these songs strongly permeated the electronic vapor time and time again and lent them a special touching emanation. In his performance at the end of the evening Matthew Collings broke it open again. His way of varying and expanding a strong basic pattern unleashed a layered dust-cloud of sound. With its special tension of stasis and turbulence, it manifested as a strong counterpart to Hvizdalek's initial solo-performance.

Four sequences

Punkt 2019 offered six seminars, an exposition and four varied series of concerts/live-remixes spread over one night and two whole days. Each sequence of concerts/live-remixes had its very own character:

(1) from microtonal materiality into song-lines emerging from electronics noir
(2) angelic contrasts and sounding fringes
(3) from discoing out to rocking hailstorm, moving and uplifting the mountains
(4) all these combing, strumming, unraveling creative deeds

The performances took place at four locations in town: at Sørlandet Art Museum, at the Cathedral, at Club Kick Scene and at Kilden Music Hall.

Sequence 1: from microtonal materiality into songlines emerging from electronics noir

The sequence of the opening comprised Trio Azkadenya, Ensemble Modern + Jan Bang and brand-new quartet Dark Star Safari as a premiere. Azkadenya, a double bass-violin-vocal configuration of Inga Margrete Aas, Vilde Sandve Alnæs and Sidsel Endresen, was born in 2015 when former students Aas and Alnæs joined forces with their former teacher Sidsel Endresen. Its music breathed the materiality of the wooden string instruments and the core of vocality, that was intertwining in the abstract concreteness of the trio's music. About Sidsel Endresen's vocal art I gave a description on the occasion of her performance at Punkt Festival 2015:

"Generically speaking she is not just producing plosives and stuttering guttural sounds, playing around, nor is she imitating instruments. Her expression moves with basic vocalizations combined in a non-arbitrary way, to syllables freed of conventional meaning placed and articulated with great urge, driven by a deep musical intuition. She digs deep into the essence of the human voice and creates a strong visceral coherence. Melody is always in the air (or triggered vaguely in listeners' minds), sometimes touched upon or even fully articulated. She is one of the most extraordinary post-bop vocalists and the source for younger Norwegian jazz and improv singers."

Sandwiched between Azkadenya and Dark Star Safari a configuration of musicians from Germany's prestigious Ensemble Modern—Dietmar Wiesner (fl), Saar Berger (horn), Sava Stoianov (tp), Giorgos Panagiotidis (vln), Eva Böcker (vlc)—together with Jan Bang made its first astounding appearance in Norway. The group unfolded a highly sophisticated, fully improvised set. Was there a difference with so called free improvisers? Yes and no. The musicians of Ensemble Modern apparently can tap from other, quite sophisticated (re)sources that they implemented elegantly in their fluent collective improvisation. In this improvisational context they also played on greater distance (and maybe more deliberately) than hardcore improvisers. Another Norwegian premiere was the music of a new group Dark Star Safari, initiated around a year ago by drummer Samuel Rohrer comprising Jan Bang, Eivind Aarset, Erik Honore, which recently released its eponymous debut album on Rohrer's exquisite label Arjunamusic Records. The music has been emerging from an unusual process of inspecting, exploring and rebuilding free improvised instrumental material recorded at Berlin's renowned Candy Bomber studio by Tonmeister Ingo Krauss. In a creative chain reaction that very process then triggered Jan Bang, to his own and -at the Punkt night -also Kristiansand's audience's surprise, to resume his former musical practice as a vocalist. It became a new form of rebuilding, a not preplanned way of shaping songs from free improvised instrumental material. Now at its tertiary stage, the transition to straight performance of the songs live, a circle is closing. It was exciting to learn how it would unfold and evolve: the music manifested as a fascinating subtle passage noir into a new territory of song with a deep, wide and appealing performance of the group's "Child of Folly" as an outstanding and memorable example of this new thing. It happened to great acclaim of the audience and opened up a new chapter. This new semblance came into being particularly through the great shadings and coloring Eivind Aarset infused, and through Samuel Rohrer's sensitive and passionate drumming.

Sequence 2: angelic contrasts and sounding fringes

The second sequence brought us to Kristiansand's Cathedral just a few footsteps from Sørlandet Art Museum where Norway's eminent keyboardist Ståle Storløkken opened with a strong, competent and coherent solo recital on church organ. His exposition of different layers, interweaving and orchestrating them and letting them grow into a graceful sonority imbuing the church's space was masterfully enticing. It served as an upbeat to a new work, "Folklore" for the nine female Trondheim Voices, a piece composed by Ståle Storløkken and his fellow musician from Supersilent, Helge Sten aka Deathprod. Remarkably the third member of Supersilent, trumpeter/vocalist Arve Henriksen, sat in the live remix crew for this performance. The high standard of the carefully and elegantly choreographed, costumed and illuminated performance of the Trondheim Voices was—as always an immediate eye-and ear- catcher. The coalescing high-pitched voices lifted up into solemn space in a kind of modular, almost one-hour long opus in changing shapes of microtonal movements, at certain moments supported by light percussion flurries and highlighted by a staggering solo of singer Natali Abrahamsen Garner. The piece was based both on dazzling vocal skills and electronic amplification of the voices. A key factor also was the high-quality ensemble work which became apparent in the quick and apt way the ensemble compensated for the temporary outage of a singer during the performance. The openings, variations, transitions and transformations the ensemble can create are amazing, but the revolving creative urge also tends towards oversaturation and loss of the emotional narrative line. Through its cumulative length it couldn't keep the tension and hold the attention—a fly in the ointment. After that excursion extraordinaire it was not easy to take root in the sonic space of the cathedral and the listening minds of the audience. Guitarist Steve Tibbetts and percussionist Mark W Anderson entered on soft feet as a rippling fringe, indiscernibly gaining attention for their iridescent realm of arabesques. At that moment the urge of physical hunger to be satisfied became too strong to stay in that sonic realm. A heavy night program at Kick Scene club urgently needed a solid nutrition base! Later it became clear that the live-remix crew at the church comprising Eivind Aarset, Jan Bang, Arve Henriksen and Erik Honoré created a three-step live-remix response to the preceding performances of Ståle Storløkken, Trondheim Voices and Tibbets/Anderson, which according to witnesses became a masterful touching piece of music. Happily, during my writing I had the opportunity to listen to it at the BBC where it was part of Fiona Talkington's historical last episode of BBC's Late Junction program after 20 years. It indeed turned out as an endearing affair where all virtues of the punktish live remix blossomed, were shining brightly and deeply touching.

For me it remains wondrous how these musicians alertly and smoothly let arise a vaporous flow of music from their immediate choice and sonic manipulation of particles from just-heard music (Storløkken, Trondheim Voices, Tibbets/Anderson) in mutual exchange and division of labor. Every part of the just indicated process is a highly sophisticated thing not to mention the creation of such a rich and spraying flow of narrative significance. They enmesh fragments of the received music in a deep space, the twilight of a huge cave with lots of mysterious openings from which circulating melodic swathes ascend, levitating. Thereby they create an open, inviting form of improvised music that trustingly 'plays itself' at a high degree. There are a lot of possible fits in this kind of flow. It's a question of finding the most promising and surprising ones, arriving at the best fits in the immediate interaction of the live-remix crew. Despite lots of knowledge and routine this remains a highly intuitive process. When watching and listening to it, you can from time to time discern flurries of the original performance in surrealistic disguised forms such as a strangely muted sound of the percussive hang-bowls on the background. Happily, the speed and seductive force of the flow is such that it is mainly absorbed subconsciously by the listener. This may also trigger images of musical bats, moles, insects and birds causing vibrations and phantasmagoric figments—the bestiary of live-remixing.

Sequence 3: from hyper discoing out to rocking hailstorm, moving and uplifting the mountains

The night program at Kick Scene club, which has been hosting Punkt for a while now, showed another rougher side of Punkt which has been obvious from the very beginning of the festival. The range and the contrasts have never been part of a commercial tactic as at many other festivals but have always been a part of a coherent artistic concept and awareness. The night started with the seven-piece band Drongo, a bunch of freewheeling, bustling young musicians originally growing out of Kristiansand music scene. In a line-up of a keyboard escort of Fender, Prophet and Korg (Auver Gaare, Eirik Ask, Øystein Heide Aadland) two guitarists (Tov Espelid, Nicolai Gill Johannesen) and a rhythm tandem (Magnus Westgaard, Hans Uhre), the group came with a bubbling thunder roller of sound. Whirring, squealing and stomping it rode a kind of super disco making a mark. Centered around steady rhythms, improvisation and shifting minimalism it heated the energy level getting people ready for more raging things to come. The live-remix came from Simen Løvgren, student of Jan Bang at Kristiansand's University of Agder and member of live improvisation group /grå of minimal techno. Løvgren has previously been involved in live remixes at Punkt Festival in 2016 and 2018. He spliced and cut through Drongo's input, rebuilt it with drama-loaded dynamics to an energetically spreading sound creation.

Myself, I was familiar with Thurston Moore only by occasional listening through the years without diving deeper into his musical universe. So, I was open and curious about the musical expression to come with Moore and James Sedwards on 12-string electric guitar, Debbie Googe on six string electric bass and Jeb Doulton on cymbals and drums. Thurston Moore appeared to be a master of stage tableau, minimal movement and the 'battente' dynamics of the heavy strumming and engorging guitar music. The statuesque visual appearance and almost ritualistic about-turns remain deeply inscribed in my memory. This impression was reinforced the next morning during a seminar where Moore read his text about formative experiences of music during his teenage years. The steadiness and sonority of his reading voice has a strong impact carrying the listener distanced and in-depth at the same time. It is one of the specialties and merits of Punkt Festival to undergo this kind of experience in such a close and intimate way.

The members of Supersilent, who were already involved in different roles in the late afternoon program in the cathedral, gathered as a group at Kick Scene to give their comment on the firm performance block of Thurston Moore 4 in a live-remix by every member taking care of different parts of 'the block,' drums, bass guitar and guitar, Moore's guitar. Knowing what would invade the club when Supersilent leaves its dormant state, many in the audience prudently braced themselves in time with ear-plugs. The sound hurricane was not long in coming and burst out in full sonic violence. It turned out as a volcanic eruption with crashing and collapsing mountain ridges, continuous assault waves rummaging and ripping the ground permeated by portentous piercing trumpet blare and the growls of Henriksen's voice. It pierced the audience's bodies and let the room quake. The peaks of the sonic eruption at times reached 120 decibels but finally the purgatory turmoil

ceased to give leeway to new bloom or to become dormant and supersilent again. On this day, Arve Henriksen and Ståle Storløkken embodied both sides of music and nature dialectically connected. Helge Sten stayed in the balanced and sealed middle. Supersilent regularly reaches extraordinary violence of sound that forces the audience to undergo it fully and suffer (or kick on it), put in good ear-plugs or just keep larger distance or leave. Extreme loudness is for sure something that plays more and more a role at Punkt and in general. Its function is worth reflection and discussion.

Sequence 4: all these combing, strumming, unraveling creative deeds

The last night comprised three concerts each with an adjacent live-remix: first the Shamisen Concerto of Japanese composer Daï Fujikura featuring shamisen virtuoso Hidejiro Honjoh with Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra (members of the orchestra took part in the 2009 edition of Punkt), then the You | Me opus of Norwegian guitarist Kim Myhr and finally an appearance of the new Rymden trio of Bugge Wesseltoft (p) with Dan Berglund (b) and Magnus Ostrom (dr), the rhythm section of the original Esbjorn Svensson Trio.

Strings have taken a prominent role at Punkt through the years. Last year's edition, for example, presented two high profile string units, Norwegian drummer Thomas Stroenen's Time Is A Blind Guide with Ayumi Tanaka (piano), Håkon Aase (violin), Ole Morten Vågan (bass) and Leo Svensson Sander (cello) and the premiere of Norwegian-Italian-French double trio Unbroken that consists of violinist Régis Huby, viola player Guillaume Roy and cellist Vincent Courtois on the French string side, Jan Bang, guitarist Eivind Aarset from Norway and Italian percussionist Michele Rabbia (for a review of Unbroken see here).

The "Shamisen Concerto" with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra under conductor Christoffer Nobin and soloist Hidejiro Honjoh raised high expectations due to its intercultural character and that very special Japanese three string solo-instrument, the shamisen. It is played with a huge plectrum in the whole hand, the bachi, and is similar in tone to a banjo. It is a highly flexible and variable instrument in terms of sound and ways of strumming and plucking presently used in different kinds of music. It can however sound a bit strange and distant in the context of a Western symphonic orchestra. Fujikura did not try to 'equalize' or 'harmonize' it but worked with the differential quality. The shamisen has a strong steely but thin sound, no bright sustain. The player can produce scratching sounds as well, scraping sound with a tone destabilizing way of bowing. It can also sound like the beat of wings. It got its projection and dynamics in the concert(o) here from the alternation of plucking and strumming. The 'battente' sound of the strummed shamisen was drifting in the sea of the orchestral sound, bobbed up from it and disappeared again, emerging and submerging. It also moved shadowy, ghostlike through space, appearing and disappearing. In other parts the shamisen was setting in a stomping, rock-like theme that again and again slipped away. The orchestra then mirrored the shamisen, however, in slightly distorted and time-lagged way which gave the effect of listening to two different pieces shifting through each other. It was a constant game, with not only different sound characteristics and foregrounding and shifting back, but also a game that let the music wander through the whole acoustic space. However, this delicate game of space and sound with lots of nuances got a bit lost in the acoustics of the hall. Closer listening revealed a lot of characteristics in this symphonic concerto piece that were also found in the subsequent concert by the seven-piece Kim Myhr unit, among others. That tells a lot about Fujikura as a composer. He respected the traditional way of playing -not exploiting the rich possibilities of extended techniques—but composed in a completely contemporary way with influences from a diversity of genres. This part of Punkt 2019 with a symphonic orchestra was a special opportunity worth continuation in next editions and should be exploited more than 20 minutes.

The live-remix came from one of the prime, equally electro-acoustic units, the duo of vocalist extraordinaire Sidsel Endresen and electronic master mind Jan Bang. Opposite to lots of vocalists that presently multiply themselves by looping and sampling I never saw Sidsel Endresen performing with anything more than a microphone, here facilitated by master sound engineer Asle Karstad. The echoing and feedback aspect Endresen leaves to her long term duo partner Jan Bang, freeing herself for improvisations from the core of human vocality as described above. The shamisen concerto gave Endresen possibilities to go into crackling, raspy explosive articulations piercing the floating and whispering electronic fabric, thereby also provoking little cracks on both sides. It was a short footnote hinting at a new hinterland and a highlight of the festival.

Norwegian guitarist Kim Myhr assembled his "You | Me" opus in reclusion for months in his studio. After that he brought it to the stage transforming it with six fellow musicians in a live version. Having seen it first at Berlin Jazzfest in November last year it has since evolved through an extended international tour and alternating line-ups involved in its performance. The Punkt-performance with Tony Buck, Ingar Zach, Michaela Antalová on drums/percussion and the guitarists Daniel Meyer Grønvold, David Stackenäs and Adrian Fiskum Myhr, turned out as a considerably speeded up, vigorous, urged on version, resulting in avalanching effects—no calm floating ocean but wild, effervescent swirling waves. It seems that the possibilities that the substance offers are not yet exhausted! And by the way: similarities with the Thurston Moore 4 performance were not completely accidental!

The immediate live-remix came from a new duo unit under the name Elektroshop, Pål-Kåres Elektroshop. It turned out as a visually attractive, funny juggling with sounds and light from the depth of space swirling on the strumming continuum of the Kim Myhr unit. Drummer Paal Hausken and producer/keyboardist/composer Kåre Christoffer Vestrheim delivered a relaxed, refreshing and highly enjoyable new element of hyper electronic circus— definitely something of a charm of its own with no need to impose meanings of all sorts. Yes, and Hausken and Vestrheim are experienced young veterans on the Nordic firmament who know the ropes. Wrapped in the dancing visuals of master Tord Knudsen, music, visuals and movements became a colorful entangled whole.

As the one who once gave a decisive impulse for Bang and Honore to bring the studio as a tool for improvisation on stage Bugge Wesseltoft could not be missing at this 15-year Punkt celebration. Wesseltoft's newly established piano-trio, Rymden, with bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Ostrom of former Esbjorn Svensson Trio, carries the precious accumulated baggage of this format's rich history. Rock steady, with smearing keys and reverbing double bass, the trio made its statement by reviving old times in tight, updated form.

The live-remix (by Nils Petter Molvaer, Dai Fujikura, Eivind Aarset, Jan Bang and Erik Honoré) got the last word of the 2019 edition of Punkt. Nils Petter Molvær made a strong move and blew in fire. It bulged but finally it became a tiger's short goodbye for the 2020 throws to come.


This year's Punkt seminar program was curated by exquisite writer/musician David Toop. David Toop participated in Punkt previously in a live-remix and a seminar. He has published six books, translated into ten languages, including Rap Attack, Ocean of Sound, Haunted Weather, Sinister Resonance, Into the Maelstrom (shortlisted for the Penderyn Music Book Prize) and the autobiographic Flutter Echo, all essential contributions for understanding current music development. Since his first album, released on Brian Eno's Obscure label in 1975, he has released twelve solo albums.

The theme of the Punkt seminars was Voice of Memory: "sounding, listening, memory and the sense of who we are. Memory is vital to music, if only because sound is always running away from us., slipping into the air like a ghost. To understand from, relationships, the developing shape of a musical piece depends on keeping memory alongside our immediate sense of what is happening. This is quite a challenge, particularly since music can be so immersive, emotional and physically seductive, but without this capacity, music would only possess the most basic characteristics of sound—its ability to disturb. There are many facets to musical memory, ranging from personal and cultural identity, to archival and technological memory, to the different memories involved in notation or improvisation, to the way we constantly rewrite our memory of music in relation to our changing selves. The contributors I have invited to this year's Punkt seminars all have fascinating and diverse takes on this question. I have asked them to think about the format of how they present their ideas and that's all I need to know. What they actually show, present, perform or discuss is entirely up to them and I look forward to being surprised." (David Toop)

He invited Yuka Fujii, Dai Fujikura and Elaine Mitchener for the first day; Thurston Moore and Eva Prinz, Camille Norment and Daniella Cascella were invited for the second day. Unfortunately, Elaine Mitchener had to cancel her visit at the last minute. David Toop subbed for her by reading from his recent book "Flutter Echo." Here's a short impression of the presentations I attended. About Thurston Moore's reading from his teenage years' musical memories I already commented above.

Yuka Fujii is author of the book Like Planets [unreel]. The book documents in photographs and sparing text in five chapters—Solstice, Holy Games, Brilliant Trees, Alchemy, Equinox—a seemingly quiet, intimate, existence in the company of her then partner, the artist, David Sylvian. It is a time between the early to late 1980s, in which David Sylvian changed, rather rapidly, from well documented glamorous pop star to retiring spiritual aspirant. A 35 minutes cine-photo version was premiered at the seminar. The short film features a specially commissioned soundtrack by musician and owner of label Concord Records, Mark Wastell.

"I've frequently created film based around still images, slowly dissolving from one image to the next. I've always found this simple technique very moving and engaging especially when accompanied by the appropriate soundtrack. Punkt finally gave me the opportunity to explore this approach more fully as did Mark Wastell who has created a specially commissioned composition for the piece. The book stands alone as a work in itself for the individual to explore in their own time. The film works on another level. A shared experience which takes place within a given time frame hopefully drawing the audience into the world created by both sound and vision." (Yuka Fujii)

Fujii's pictures, in fascinating ways, are schematically remote and intimately close at the same time, with strong suggestions of striding through the dust of time and the emotional-intellectual processes underneath. The cinematic shifting and fading of the pictures nourished lasting feelings and remaining understanding for the viewer that were only tentatively explicable. The static and dynamic side of the pictures unfolded a touching experiential quality.

David Toops' reading from his recent autobiographical book "Flutter Echo" was an inspiring affair. In his delightful, slightly understated and yet elevating way he introduced the audience to his early sonic and musical perceptions. It immediately triggers listeners' own aural traces from the past leading to amazement at how deep these spots and traces are implanted in the mind, how the personal sonic spurs developed alongside sometimes quite peculiar knots. Toop succeeded in awaking the pleasure of self-wonderment.

Considerations: loudness, labs, length

From a biological and social view, loudness always has a purpose. It can serve to appear big and large, to intimidate, to be heard, to dominate, to have fun, to celebrate, to prepare/accompany acts of physical or psychological aggression etc. Concerning music making, volume and loudness through history is connected to amplification, starting from the mask in ancient Greek theatre, via opera houses and opera singing and stronger and further reaching instruments, such as the baritone saxophone, to broad and heavy electrification since early 20th century. Electrification has opened gates to seemingly infinite levels of loudness, even hyper loudness in its own right. And it seems the race for the loudest of all is still going on in music making, which means that the level of loudness in general still goes up further. It might be due to self-feeding and self-reinforcing dynamics but might also be a sign of protest, desperation, opposition, resistance in a time that much is drowned in a cacophony of voices and noises. After Jimi Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner," Blue Cheer's "Summertime Blues" and MC5's "Kick Out The Jams" (among others), loud gestures from almost 50 years ago, turning up the volume seemed to be the only option: make use of the possibilities and go on expanding even if it is (far) beyond our ear's capacity, and turning into an aural state of emergency. It also has to be said that there are many forms of loudness, some more preferable than others. The most terrifying cases of loudness at Punkt Festival I can remember were Serena Maneesh (2011), Ben Frost (2012) and Uwe Schmidt aka Atom TM (2015). Others, such as Stian Westerhus and Christian Fennesz, were pretty loud, too, but there was rapport with it.

Loudness together with other contextual social elements can also have purgatory effects. It's then not the loudness as such but its function as a tool of enforcement among other forces. At Punkt 2019 Supersilent undoubtedly took the cake—not only in terms of measurable decibels, but in terms of the impact of the sheer force incited ... .

Apart from this loudness race as a consequence of electrification we are caught in more general sense in electric amplification. Music and speech in the tiniest rooms is miked and amplified as the normal mode. It is more and more difficult to imagine how things once worked without it and what acoustic reality in those days was like. Punkt, with its approach of sampling of live recordings as a point of departure for on the spot creation of new musical shapes, shortened the time gap between absorptive listening and personal (re)creation of the past. It brought an improvisational continuum of creation and re-creation into existence. In the pioneering years of Punkt Festival at Agder theatre its laboratory character was much more evident than nowadays. For the remix the audience had to rush to the basement where the remix crafters were tinkering and could be observed by the audience on the same level. Nowadays the tinkerers are often shadowy alchemistic figures behind or beside the stage, mysteriously mixing their sonic concoctions. In practical terms, the present set-up has a lot of advantages and creates a new sphere (of mystery). In the 2015 edition of Punkt the audience still had to change room at the Kristiansand cinema complex, but then there were also simultaneous remixes were going on. This is a plea for clearly reintroducing the laboratory situation to Punkt Festival. The best laboratory room I experienced in a concert recently is the Hvelvet Room at Sentralen in Oslo. There you can really see and observe on same ground-level electronic musicians working on their instruments, a very clarifying experience.

Due to length of this excursive paragraph I'll reflect on the issue of length of performance on the next occasion.


The electronic vacuum cleaner of Punkt leaves nothing unscathed, lets things slide, morph, wrap and lay bare, shatter and scatter, splitter and pulverize into close or distant, odd or familiar, recognizable or confusing transformations. It's a game where acoustics and electronics meet and challenge, inspire and influence each other. There are a lot of advanced things happening in acoustic music that should hit and meet Punkt in future editions. The outcome of Punkt programming approach is a magical mystery affair every time—perplexity, astonishment guaranteed. The arrangement of locations in town is different every year too, some precious basics but never 100 percent habituation effect.



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