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Punkt Festival 2017

Henning Bolte By

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Contrary to sound bricolage in the studio, for the live-remix at Punkt Festival almost everything has to happen in real time, and quickly: listen intensely to the 'input' performance and take decisions on what to act on and how, and then (re)act wurh the live-remix crew in a reworking process to build up a 'new' piece of music in real time from the 'input' performance.

The Punkt live-remix has some resemblance with the deeply ingrained practice of reworking standards and evergreens of popular music in jazz. The original versions are usually memorized and deeply absorbed by jazz musicians. For the live-remix the 'input' is however always new and has to be apprehended and stored immediately. From this jazz tradition perspective it might be a bit strange to immediately react to a whole live performance and rework it. The more direct approach in front of an audience is quite challenging for the musicians. For the audience the experience of the immediacy of transformation and possibly de-familiarizing, estranging effects is the attractive side.

Part of the game of the Punkt live-remix is its working with/on varied 'input.' This year's edition had live remixes on rock and dub-reggae, soul jazz, pop and various forms of free improvising music and genre-defying composed music, although Punkt has been and is open to techno, hard rock, classical, folk and singer-songwriter music. However, this is not a Punkt exclusive thing. Punkt is unique when it comes to the immediacy of the incorporation, orchestration and transformation. It happens in attendance of the audience. In the Punkt live-remix the (transitional) process is more transparent, not directed by one authoritative hand. It's a joint adventure instead. It offers the audience/listeners more insight into the process, thereby providing extra thrills and stimulating curiosity. Some time ago film director Tom Tykwer applied this in his highly successful movie "Run Lola Run." The authority lies in the exposing and directing of the process, no so much in the exposition of the authority of the omniscient artist. Punkt's transparent way is non-hierarchical, the redefinition of things a continuous, open process.


In/through live-remixes different musical spheres get in direct contact, are confronted with each other and meet. The live-remix practice also leads to special combinations and constellations of musicians, as you can see from the list of this year's live-remixes at Punkt Festival.

1. Ole Andreas Undhjem Hagelia: Rohey
2. Daniel Lanois / Kyle Crane / Jim Wilson: The Necks
3. Jan Bang / Erik Honoré / Eivind Aarset / Anders Engen / Mats Eilertsen: Sidsel Endresen / David Toop
4. Anneli Drecker / Peter Baden / Rolf-Erik Nystrøm / Ole Andreas Undhjem Hagelia: Broen
5. Jez riley French / David Toop: Arve Henriksen "Towards Language" with Jan Bang / Erik Honoré / Eivind Aarset
6. Yann Coppier / Peter Baden / DJ Strangefruit: Punkt- Ensemble with Johannes Vaage / Idar Eliassen Pedersen / Jens Kola / Stian Balducci
7. Audun Kleive / Eivind Aarset / Jan Bang / Erik Honoré / Arve Henriksen: Daniel Lanois / Kyle Crane / Jim Wilson

Live-remixes arose from studio-technology and techniques migrating to live stage settings (Bugge Wesseltoft played a seminal role in this). Sampling, looping, distorting, extending, layering etc. sound(s) offered a lot of new musical possibilities and a fresh start, but from the beginning electronics coexisted in a productive way with traditional acoustic instruments. Electronics also changed the use and sound of 'old' acoustic instruments. In these live- remixes acoustic instruments were clearly present, in some cases electrically or electronically modified. There were the drummers Anders Engen, Audun Kleive, and Kyle Crane, the bassists Mats Eilertsen and Jim Wilson, the reedist Rolf-Erik Nystrøm, the singer Anneli Drecker, and David Toop's various flutes. Hereafter both live-remixes as initial 'input' performances will be dealt with.

The second day's concert started with legendary Australian group The Necks. Since the '80s this band has played an unabatedly fascinating kind of music. Every performance of The Necks has to be built up from zero, acting on the actual space, its vibes evoking a mighty ascending and descending wave bigger than the musicians' joint maneuvers. As a consequence every continuous set is and works differently (see my report of recent performances in Ljubljana and Wroclaw). ). This time the arc was more flat-bottomed and 'introvert' in a way (see also DrawNote in the slide show).


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