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Punkt Festival 2014

Henning Bolte By

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Next up was Danish trio Friis/Osgood/Dodebum, also new to Punkt. Maria Laurette Friis is a Danish composing and improvising sound artist who explores the space between primal, ceremonial sound, classical eastern influences, 20th century classical music, noise and folk song, currently using processed voice, Korg MS-10, cembalo, flutes and tamboura. She has collaborated with the likes of Pamelia Kurstin, Stian Westerhus, Eivind Lønning, Fred Frith and Mat Maneri. Kresten Osgood, a member of Kopenhagen's ILK collective, is one of the most colorful and busiest drummers on the Danish scene, covering a broad range of musical idioms. He has collaborated with likes of Sam Rivers, Tim Berne and Paul Bley, and has his own annual Musketeer Festival, where musicians from all styles of music meet and break down the walls of the music scene of Copenhagen. Dodebum is Henrik Sundh, electronic musician and producer from Copenhagen. His musical universe is mostly dark, spooky and almost empty, with some decrepit leftovers inhabited by sparse, lonesome flitting melodic fragments.

The trio's performance became an utterly darkened affair, with Osgood's razor- sharp muscular and sweeping drum cycles, Sundh's inward directed electronics and Friis' multiple sound extensions and layering. What started quite fascinating became more and more locked in a feeling—what might have been intentionally or unintentionally accepted. It seemed the trio was caught in an endless electro-acoustical loop that reproduced itself with only minimal shifts that constantly reentered the cycle. A kind of dark doom trance which did not appeal to everybody.

Again, a remix crew with a strong signature—Nils Petter Molvaer, Hamid Drake, Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang—was ready to take up the challenge and do their collective thing with it. The piece of departure and the remix should be considered as constituting a special kind of working unit. And then it becomes fascinating what the remix musicians hear in the source music—what they can get out of it and how they do it. There are so many possibilities to fail gorgeously or splendidly, or get stuck in one's own routines and patterns. In this case, however, something happened—far from expectations or set frames. Provoked by a strong initial attack from Molvær, the crew turned it all radically over into a brilliantly shining light and banned the dark spirits...an ingenious prank! Once underway, the music started to vibrate, quaking like a pow-wow and conjuring up the spirit of Jim Pepper. A wonderful unexpected segue which, for the time being, brought into existence a new brotherhood of breath. And it was a remix that brought forth an encore. Many things were at work to bring all this about, one of them, apparently, the strong impulse given by the source material and, of course, the strong chemistry of the remix crew.

Another remix concert, a concluding apotheosis was still waiting to happen in the big hall of the Fønix cinema: the performance of Laurie Anderson and Arve Henriksen, remixed by Christian Fennesz, with visuals by the great master, Tord Knudsen. The stage setting was brilliant, the commitment high. So were expectations. Both Anderson and Henriksen were—as usual—good in focusing on intimate sounds, gestures and narratives. Both manifested themselves in full strength unfolding rich and flourishing sonic landscapes, but maybe it was just that which prevented moments of sudden bare wonder to arise, unforeseen transmutation to happen or cross-fertilizations to occur. Some elements did not find their place, getting lost. Nevertheless, moments of pure beauty, reminiscence and near- surrender occurred, strengthened by Fennesz's remix, which followed immediately. The shrieking sound streams of his guitar, full of subtleties, gradually burned away the sonic landscapes just experienced. It remains a miracle how he managed this appealing equilibrium of loudness, noise, texturing and sub-melodic traits.

Conclusion

2014, at the end of a cruel summer, was a less abundant and euphoric edition than some editions in the past but it was very much focused and structured with lots of striking contrasts and fits. There were clear highlights, some doubts and even dislikes.

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