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Punkt Festival 2014

Henning Bolte By

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Punkt Festival
Kristiansand, Norway
September, 4-6, 2014

Kristiansand, home of the Annual Punkt Festival for the past decade, is a municipality situated on the southernmost point of Norway at the Skagerrag strait. It has a population of 86,000 (the greater urban area, 155,000) and is the county capital of Vest- Agder.

Crystallization of new concepts and development often take place and are given a push from the periphery, with Punkt a good and prominent example. Organized by Jan Bang and Erik Honoré, who have known each other very well from their adolescent days in Kristiansand, started The festival in 2005, carrying through and reaching the festival's 10th edition this year. To mark the anniversary, the festival invited one of music's most important artistic pioneers: American musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson.

Punkt Elements

The festival concept is centered around the concept of Live Remix. Immediately following Punkt performances, they are remixed live for the audience. The remixes work on the basis of the recorded original performance, which is reused and transformed in manifold ways. The remix can be solely electronic, but more often than not it is a combination of musicians acting in both modes, electronically and acoustically. As a small-scale festival, Punkt is artistically focused, interdisciplinary, horizontal, local and communicative.

Over the years Punkt's key element, the live remix, has had a lot of consequences. It has brought about lots of challenges, involvement in a range of interdisciplinary processes, and changes in the perception of music and its innovative effects. At certain points this has resulted in recordings like this year's Heliographs (from Erik Honorė) or, from the previous two years, Honoré and Bang's Uncommon Deities, guitarist Eivind Aarset's Dream Logic, Trumpeter Arve Henriksen's Places Of Worship and Bang's Narrative from the Subtropics. These albums are inseparable from the whole process and context of Punkt. To really get an idea of the reality of the remix and the performance and production processes it really must be experienced first hand at the yearly festival In Kristiansand -or at the smaller offshoots that have taken place at festivals in Europe and further abroad. This experience quality is a core thing, crucial in a digital era with unlimited access to oceans of recorded and stored music).

Over the years, Punkt also has served a "looking glass" function for musical developments in Norway and elsewhere. Punkt has developed its own routine(s) and grown into adulthood, but is still opening up to and focusing on new things. As such, it is still both ardent and necessary.

Punkt has always been built on a web of interdisciplinary activities spread over an easily walkable area in the town. This year's events, with its 17 concerts, took place at five neighboring places: Kristiansand Kunsthall; Musikkens Hus; Hotel Norge,; Kick Scene; and the big Fønix Kino Hall.

All told, Punkt 2014 consisted of five concerts (sPace moNkey, Honoré's Heliographs release concert, Christian Fennesz, Zapp 4 and Dodebum/Friis/Osgood) immediately followed by live remix performances; five other concerts (Beckett, Streifenjunko+Sheriffs of Nothingness, Håkon Stene, Mural, and a performance of Christian Wolff's piece, "Edges" that we're not remixed; three listening sessions (Winderen/Harding, Paulsen/Solbakken, Nils Christian Moe-Repstad); six seminars (Anderson, Bolte, Engelbrecht, Qvenild, Winderen/Harding, Zapp); a book presentation (Luca Vitali's Il suono del nord); and a visual art installation by Kjell Bjørgeengen/Keith Rowe at Kristiansand Kunsthall where Jan Bang, Erik Honore, Eivind Aarset, Arve Henriksen and Ingar Zach were involved most frequently of all, but which also featured guitarists Christian Fennesz and Keith Rowe, pianist Morten Qvenild, the string players of Zapp4, trumpeter Eivind Lønning, saxophonist Espen Reinertsen and violinist Ole-Henrik Moe, who all performed more than once.

As usual also this year's Punkt was a combination of known and new faces and multinational voices from Norway, Denmark, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, The United States and Australia. Among the new faces there were musicians who had worked with Punkt artists or at Punkt events in other places, such as drummers Hamid Drake and Samuel Rohrer, the string quartet Zapp 4 (Jeffrey Bruinsma, Jasper le Clercq, Oene Van Geel , Emile Visser) and saxophonist Rafaele Casarano. The notable young Norwegian label, Hubro, was represented prominently this year (Håkon Stene, sPace moNkey, Erik Honoré) alongside Norwegian labels Sofa and Gigafon, British label Touch, Danish label ILK and German Arjuna label, amongst others.

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