Most Memorable Music Of 2012
Posted December 29th 2012, at 11:38 with tags , , , ,

A collection of tracks I listened to in 2012:

Also the following albums: Enslaved's RIITIIR, the score for The Artist, Motorpsycho and Storløkken's Death Defying Unicorn, Desplat's score for La Fille Du Puisatier, Tom Waits Bad As Me.

For second half of 2012 I mostly researched and listened to East-European classical and contemporary music of the Soviet Union era, for the Aelita project. And a bunch of Fantastika soundtracks. I discovered vast amounts of hidden treasures; tracks, tricks, composers, recordings. For now though, the map is a company secret.

Eight Most Memorable Films Of 2012
Posted December 27th 2012, at 18:59 with tags , , ,

Eight most memorable films of 2012.

Le Havre (2011)

Aki Kaurismäki

The letters of "Kaurismäki" is an almost-anagram of "Murakami". The extra S is for Somewhat. The two dots are escaped moons.

The meals of Murakami, the bars of Kaurismäki.

The Artist (2011)

Michel Hazanavicius

I watched The Artist at the perfect moment in time, early 2012. I had just decided to do the music for Aelita, and was not quite sure I would be able to pull it off. The magic of The Artist was not only great inspiration, it was also unexpected encouragement.


Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Wes Anderson

Been there done that didn't get the girl never do also I failed boy scouts anyway.

Tron (1982)

Stephen Lisberger

A scandal, I had not seen this movie as of 2012. I was impressed. Not at all what I expected. Much better, and also much worse. I expected "flatter", it wasn't.

Lots of pop and tech culture references suddenly clicked into place, "oh so THAT'S where that's from".

Nostalghia (1983)

Andrei Tarkovsky

My eternal uncanny fascination of Tarkovsky approaches cinematographical completeness in glacial slow motion. Like some of his scenes.

Iron Sky (2012)

Timo Vuorensola

Rhymes with irony.




Pina (2011)

Wim Wenders

A three dimensional portrait. 

 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Tomas Alfredson

Smart slick clever dry. 


Eleven Most Memorable Books Of 2012
Posted December 27th 2012, at 17:23 with tags , , ,

The top 11 most memorable books for me in 2012.

Wool, Hugh Howey.

Thrillingly unravellingly.

IQ84, Haruki Murakami.

Spaghetti penrose reality, the worlds of Murakami are abandoned theme parks becoming self-aware, and with gloomy satisfaction appreciate finding themselves empty, far into a state of decomposition.

The Summer Book, Tove Jansson.

All summers end.

Railsea, China Mieville.

Whatever you do, just don't step off the track.

The Forest Of Hanged Foxes, Arto Paasilinna.

Nordic surrealist hilarious fairytales.

The Sense Of An Ending, Julian Barnes.

Each letter and word in the text is a drip of champagne, each sentence a sip, but with suble hints of the liquid turning to concrete at any moment and then pull you through the the floor down into the darkness of the ground. It never does but still.

Delicious bubbles of subtle discomfort.

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline. 

Press play on everything you grew up with and goto next run never stop looking back. 

 Quiet, Susan Cain.

(The Power Of Introverts In World That Can't Stop Talking.)

Oh look somebody wrote a book about me.

She also got shorter, interesting NY Times op-eds. 

The Book Thief, Markus Suzak.

The comfort of words, the importance of books, the narration by Death.

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern.



The Hare With The Amber Eyes, Edmund De Waal.

Through the darkness of Europe.


Music for La Muda, Carte Blanche
Posted December 3rd 2012, at 15:59 with tags , , , , ,

December, January, February I will compose, produce and perform music for La Muda by Núria Guiu Sagarra, part of Carte Blanche's Yasgurs Farm. Premiere is January 23rd at the Opera in Oslo, and tour continues in Oslo, Fredrikstad, Bergen.

 Núria Guiu Sagarra moves in an Alice in Wonderland-inspired hyper-reality in which “the copy of reality is worth more than the actual reality”.

"My soul was sucked into a black hole, it exists now only through networks, TV-screens, media images. My empty shell reflects only a ghost of myself, travelling along the blurry line between reality and fiction. Two worlds mixed to one, deformed images of love, beauty, social justice and fake castles, where someone other than myself is in charge."

La Muda is the spanish word for a woman; the mute, but also the one who changes skin.

Photos of Aelita performance
Posted November 26th 2012, at 12:43 with tags , , , , , , ,

Some photos from the Aelita performance and pre-production at Cinemateket USF, Bergen, November 2012.


Aelita - Video Preview Teaser
Posted November 21st 2012, at 16:03 with tags , , , , , , ,

Aelita - Queen Of Mars, with live soundtrack by Ugress. A preview cut, from the secret and intricate lift-off procedure in Moscow.

Aelita - Production notes, preview sounds
Posted November 19th 2012, at 19:40 with tags , , , , , , ,

Production notes for the live performing soundtrack to Aelita - Queen Of Mars (1925). 

The score is in music and sound built from the sci-fi of the Soviet Union, or rather from Fantastika, a broader Russian term than the Western concept of "science fiction".
The underlying overall structure, texture, sound, rhythm, harmony, pulse, energy are from Aelita's contemporary music: Classical, futuristic, ethnic, modernist and gypsy jazz. A massive amount of multiple recordings of single notes, simple phrases, symphonies, rhythm patterns, complex tonal clusters and hungry jazz riffs from music of the early 20th century has been reduced and isolated down to each individual element within each sound and then everything re-constructed and re-sculpted in detail to a common work of sound and music. 
It's like the great ENHANCE function of bad detective series where a technician who knows her Linux can endlessly zoom into a grainy polaroid photo of a city from afar and then read each digit on a number plate of a car behind a house. Except, here, it's real, it actually works. Within a whole symphony one can take out any single tone or sound and tune or stretch or sculpt it, and in this way re-structure one symphony to a complete new, or to fit another, or to fit a russian gypsy jazz track. And then further manipulate these two hen into a third layer. Or hundreds.   
In realtime.
In addition to the orchestral fundament there is an armada of real-time instruments, sounds, tone-scapes and percussion systems built from thousands of samples from the span of Soviet or Eastern Bloc sci-fi movies, from the first sound films in 1936 until the droning, post-apocalyptic introspective works culminating the cold war at the end of the 1980s. The hum of a thinking ocean beneath a space-station becomes a muted choir, the whirr of a sinister UFO turns into naive strings, a broken cryogenic tube turns into delicate glockenspiels. 
Finally, extra layers of subtle electronic rhythms, pulses, glitches, movements are taken only from drum and rhythm machines produced in the Soviet Union during the same period. A similar minor selection of vinyl samples and dirty beats for spice are taken from Easter bloc world of elektronika and prog-rock LPs, all with flirty inklings and connections to sci-fi.
The resulting score is a musical and sonic representation of Fantastika in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. Of which Aelita is the silent, Martian mother.
Performed live Nov 23rd at Cinemateket USF, Bergen and Nov 30th at Cinemateket, Oslo. 


Aelita - Queen Of Mars - Ugress Live
Posted November 1st 2012, at 22:22 with tags , , , , ,


Ugress writes and performs live new music to Soviet sci-fi classic Aelita - Queen Of Mars.

A mysterious radio signal intrigues all of Planet Earth, including brilliant engineer Los. Could it be from Mars? With great cost to life and love he builds a rocketship, heads for Mars. But all is not as it seems to want to be seemed to be... 

Directed by Yakov Protazanov in 1925, Aelita was the first film to reveal life on other planets. With impressive constructivist sets and costumes, Aelita introduced fantastical elements still echoing in current sci-fi cinema. The film is a wonderful treasure of silent cinema. 

Ugress creates a complete new score, to be performed live with the film in cinemas with Nasra Ali Omar and Thomas T. Dahl.

Indie cinemas, tickets at the door. Usually 200 NOK.

If you come from Mars or further away either email us or directly the cinemas to reserve tickets. 


Report: Harpa Film Awards, Reykjavik
Posted October 31st 2012, at 20:49 with tags , , , , ,

Went to Iceland. Nomination. Short on time, so short report, photos.

Fredrik won. The fermented shark is horrible. They have a pixel church. A tree and a weed discuss Jules Verne in an elevator. You can die from dehydration in the hot pools. The president has a sword. Yoko Ono is a ninja. They have volcanoes. But no trains. The crabs are flewn in from Vietnam. Russian gangsters has peculiar mobile etiquette. Endless ringroad highways at 02 am. Malt.
Photos over at the Reykjavik Flickr set.

Report: TryAngle: Ghost Tram - A Horror Musical Prototype
Posted October 9th 2012, at 09:00 with tags , , , ,

All photos by TryAngle Mediateam.

The Ghost Tram is a prototype for a horror musical in a contemporary performing arts context. The tram has lost it's track, navigated by a crying captain, endlessly floating streets at dawn, a surreal murder mystery happens inside.

Based on and/or stealing shamelessly from Moby-Dick the novel, The Flying Dutchman myth and Wagner opera, Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, Massive Attack's Teardrop, the theme was crying is not allowed and will be punished via a virtual abstract element in a tragi-comic horror musical setup.

Demo with guide vocals. During performance the first song was performed by the captain, with sections of the chorus doing the final two tracks in various constellations. Texts where developed by brilliant Slovenian writer Jasmina Zalonik and we had lots of help from a lot of incredible people in putting this on stage in only three days.

I was performing some of the vocals and doing the music live on stage. Everything was played and performed "live", with virtual instruments built for the musical. Most of the material from the instruments came from recordings at the TryAngle lab, there are instruments from the Sounds Of Dusseldorf project as well as other projects. 

The whole project was developed over a few days together with a fantastic team of artists at the TryAngle lab in Dusseldorf 2012, many people generously adding their time, help and input at different levels. 

It was performed as a splendid prototype on the main stage of Tanzhaus NRW at the final laboratory showcase evening. It was great fun to play, the performance slides from sinister, dark electronic soundscapes through pop soundtracks to hilarious playful classical chorus segments. 

Conclusion. The project was great fun and extremely hard work. A horror musical that was horribly hard to realize. It went through many versions and tried multiple methods to get on stage. I think everyone involved was fundamentally exhausted at the end. But we made it. The process itself was awesome and the result is promising. In conclude absolute success, the concept will be developed further.

Ugress interprets Enslaved
Posted October 3rd 2012, at 19:01 with tags , , , ,


Friday October 12th 2012, at the 15th anniversary concert event of Brak at Østre, Ugress will perform an interpretational work based on the music of black metal legends Enslaved. 
Brak is an interest organisation for music in western Norway, celebrating 15 years.
Enslaved is a progressive black metal band currently making black waves with their Riitiir release.
Østre is the brand new Bergen stage for contemporary sound and electronica, opening just this month.

Interview with ChipFlip on retro chipsounds
Posted October 2nd 2012, at 16:13 with tags , , ,

I did a super interesting conversation with Anders Carlsson "C64-sounds Hiding in Soundtracks"

It's about chip-sounds and retro aesthetics. I am mostly involved with these kinds of sounds in my Ninja 9000 project but retro C64 chip sounds pop up in all of my projects.

Anders Carlsson is perhaps more famously known as chip legend Goto80, of which I have been a long time fan.

Website tweaks
Posted October 2nd 2012, at 15:15 with tags , ,

Did some minor (major?) changes to the website. Upgrades or downgrades, who knows. Disabled comments for the time being, removed a few noisy graphic elements, updated others, simplified things.

The reason for disabling new comments (excisting comments are still there) is temporary experimental decision based on a loose combination of multiple tiny things.

The ever-changing nature of online content and engagement is one reason. A few years ago a typical conversation could be carried directly on content here. Now this happens spread over various social media. Also, another reason, the content of this website has slowly shifted over time. Some years ago there was a lot of non-artist related blubbering in the blog. Now, I concentrate more on music. There is mostly concrete Ugress news on the front page, and dedicated artistic content in the blog. This results in less frequent updates, but more concentrated content. 

Also, other reasons are general time constraints for keeping an eye on everything everywhere, future plans and sporadic spam attacks, all nudging the decision towards a simpler core website.  

Registering is still possible and everything that happened is still here and will stay. The comments and conversations already here are important to me.

I removed some smaller things and also the huge language translation box because I have no data on the usage. My analytics tool can not tell me if anyone clicks there. So I remove it, and see if anybody complains. But since I removed commenting, nobody can complain! Ha ha, life as dictator is great!

Report: What Is The Music Of Dusseldorf
Posted October 1st 2012, at 22:22 with tags , , , , , ,

What kind of music is already present everywhere? Or in particular, in Dusseldorf?

This summer at TryAngle in Dusseldorf I continued looking for music, harmony and rhythm in a certain element, like cities or tractors or ballett dancers. For this three day project on the sound and music of Dusseldorf I worked together with a team of crazy genius artists, exploring the sound and music of Dusseldorf. We found sounds, built instruments, played a composition and presented the resulting prototype interpreted as improvisational dance.
A demo of the sketch we developed, this is a shorter version and simpler version than performance:

It's perhaps a little strange all by itself. It is a three-day prototype, tied to a live impro performance, a live explanation and live demonstration of the sounds and instruments. I'm not going to try make much sense of it in this report, which is just a brief documentation a la "this happened there then, developed like this, and it sounded like that." 
TryAngle is a performing arts laboratory, with labs happening in different European cities. I participated at the Dusseldorf lab and wrote a separate report on the whole experience. This project was one of many.
What is the music already present in a city? How will a dancer dance to a city? Together with a team of other artists, we explored Dusseldorf for a whole day, as complete strangers to the city and each other. Listening for peculiar or representative sounds in alien surroundings. Best kind of expedition.
We got lots of great sounds. Some cliche, some original, all kinds. We sat down and listened and discussed, which sounds we found interesting and/or representative for this city and our experience of it. We discussed what kind of instruments they could become. How could we play the sounds? Would it sound like Dusseldorf? Who should play what? Why? How? What should be a melodic instrument, what should be percussive? How should the musical structure be? How to make Dusseldorf into music?
It's much easier to demonstrate this in real sound examples, a few embedded below. See comments during play. For the performance we did a proper demonstration of sounds, how they go from original recording to tonal sound to instrument to performance to composition. 

We built a lot of instruments to play, only some of those were used in the final composition. The process is kind of separated into a technical phase with artistic considerations (prepare and build), and an artistic phase with technical considerations (play and compose).  
For preparation, it's a lot of solo laptop time doing musical sonic forensics. It is important to me that I never add anything to any sound or element, I only remove to reveal. Filter out noise, cut out unwanted frequencies, stripping away fringes to reveal core. I use digital tools like Sonicworx Isolate, Celemony Melodyne, Izotope RX and IRIS at this stage. I listen or look for fundamentals, prominent harmonies, percussive patterns, melodic repetitions... It's not super difficult, the human brain is good at this kind of "looking for the maybe that no maybe that oh there it is". It just costs attention to detail. And hand editing to make the details shine, with some regular synth modulation techniques to rebuild the sounds into musically usable instruments.
I am also making sure there are a multitude of takes for every sound, to avoid static repetitions of single notes. For exaple the tap of a bike bell is done 10-12 times, and each take cleaned and processed the same. After recordings are washed and prepared, sounds are patiently organized into organic, playable software instruments. 
Software handling of instruments is mostly the Kontakt sampler, and some instances of Alchemy for granular or spectral versions. Interfaces for these software instruments are handled by various midi keyboards, midi drum pads, midi controllers, Nintendo Wiis, or custom touch interfaces represented through Lemur on iPads or iPhones. The interface to play the instrument is often just as important as the sound of the instrument.
Practically, for composition and performance, this means we had a multitude of instruments to play in various ways and due to multiple takes, it never sounds static. Some keyboard based, some gesture based, some virtual physical interactions on iPads, others on physical movement of hands or body parts. It all depends on what kind of sound, and what kind of scale, melody or pattern to play within. 
Overall musical structure was taken from the pitch of a ticket printer in metro station ticket machines. See example above. These machines made a wonderful tonal pattern when printing tickets, as demonstrated in sound example. This became the core melodic theme of the piece, the Dusseldorf leitmotif. All sounds are playing tones in the same scale and variations of the pattern of the ticket machine.
We were limited to three days of development before performance, time permitted only a prototype of the various segments, but this was the intention of the project. For composition and performance we set together a simple sequential narrative, a combination of instrument demonstrations and rhythmical transactions. Each artist involved played their own "instrument" in their own way, with different kinds of techniques and interfaces. 
The final composition was then played for a dancer to respond and improvise to. The dancer knew Dusseldorf, but did not know which sounds or melodies or rhythms we would provide. I found his interpretation intriguing and moving. It is very interesting to observe how everything interacts, both in the work itself and also between all artists involved, in such a short period of time. We also did sound and instrument demonstrations during performance. 
Conclusion. I liked to be able to research and probe for the sound and music of a city. I very much enjoyed working with a team, to have a varied approach of which sounds, and how to build instruments. In particular I liked that the personality of all artists are present in the final work. And the response from the dancer was incredible. I conclude the research and prototype performance for this project most successful. Will continue research.
An interesting note at the end. My favorite sound of Dusseldorf was the sound of wheeled luggage passing over guiding lines for blind people at the central train station. It was a great sound, and we built a fantastic instrument for it. It was such fun to play, a wonderful tone and an amazing story. But kill your darlings.
All photos by TryAngle Mediateam.

Ugress track in Sony's new Little Big Planet
Posted September 25th 2012, at 15:42 with tags , , , ,

The Ugress track Ghost Von Frost is in-game music for the brand new Little Big Planet game for Sony's fresh PS Vita

The game is a winning combination of adventure, tilt, touch, puzzle, build, share. Released today September 25th, it has so far received superb reviews; Amazon users, IGN, Gamespot, T3, Joystiq.

Haven't got my hands on it myself, so I don't know which level Ghost Von Frost is featured with yet! 


Time Machine production notes
Posted September 12th 2012, at 16:33 with tags , , ,

Production notes from recently released Time Machine, title track of the Time Machine EP, fifth episode in the Planet U saga.

This track has a long development story, even splitting into multiple tracks for multiple projects.

The very first draft was created autumn of 2009, as a sketch for a cover track idea, which never worked out. The first standalone sketch was then drafted, based on scrapped ideas from the remix in 2010, starting out with a gritty synth loop, adding beats. This was taken from the first draft, but simplified, I removed musical structure. There's a terrible synthline on top of that in the draft. It's never intented to be released like that, just a conceptual note to myself that at this point something should happen in that soundspace:

I continued with this version, and summer of 2011 I added a lot of complex orchestral stuff, both instrumental arrangement and musical structure, on top of the bassline and the beats. This was nice, but not great. I banged my head in the wall for a long time with this version, until I found a solution: I split the track in two. I took the orchestral parts out, moving those ideas to Nebular Spool, replacing the beats, completely shifting timing and drive. 

I kept the beats and movement, and programmed a new bassline, the current one, which opened up another direction. (Second example in the Soundcloud widget.) I kept working on this for a year or so, trying out various ideas, and working a lot on the mix. The vocal bits was (as usual) more complex and busy, but when I added live guitars, brilliantly improvised by Thomas Dahl, I could relax the vocal samples. There has also been more complex musical structures and movement, but there too, I reduce it back to just a few key changes in the part leading up to the chorus.

I toyed with a bunch of "time machine" sonic tricks or effects, but they were all too cute or too obvious. I kept a minimum of them, hopefully they are not too obvious. Maybe for a long edit I could use them, but not in this efficient version.

The bassline as surprising amounts of processing and layering for a bassline, I usually prefer bass to be clean and simple. This one has a lot of detail and complex strips, it's built up of a Kontakt 5 sampler providing the pluckety pluck attack variations, and two separate Zebra 2 plugins processed differently to give it a consistent bottom and animated top. The screenshot at the top is one of the Zebra plugins.  

I struggled - and still struggle - with the balance between content/mix/tempo/efficiency/attention and my impatience with musical and sonic development, one day I think it needs more action and should move faster, other days I find it too busy and hectic. I'm not sure, but it's time to find out, releasing it now to watch how it performs, and plan to try it out live too and see how it behaves on stage.

Ugress - Time Machine EP
Posted September 12th 2012, at 16:22 with tags , , ,

Available now for immediate listen, or download at my Bandcamp store.

Will arrive in Spotify, Wimp, iTunes, Amazon etc as soon as they update their catalogues.

There are production notes for title track Time Machine.

Pushwagner Nordic Film Composer Awards
Posted September 12th 2012, at 15:28 with tags , , , ,

The Pushwagner music is nominated for the Harpa Nordic Film Composer Awards.

The awards ceremony is October 6th, at Reykjavik International Film Festival, Iceland.

Expedition must be made.

The Scientist - Production Notes
Posted September 5th 2012, at 20:38 with tags , , ,


Some notes on the development and production of The Scientist. Final project screenshot above.

Of course there is a scientist on Planet U. She's risky.

The track was started summer of 2010 as I started working on the Planet U project. The first version is from June that year. It sounded like this:

Ugh. Doesn't sound good, no, but this is often enough for me as a prototype, I have a mental idea of what it will become when I flesh it out. Nobody else gets to hear it like this.

Since then the track stayed in hiatus for a long time. I knew what I wanted to do with it, how I wanted to develop it into production, but I had multiple candidates for the "scientist" song. So the track stayed on ice. Over time those other candidates disappeared into other projects or soundtracks, and eventually winter of 2011/2012, working on Episode 5 I decided to finish the production.

I spent surprisingly much work on subtle sounds and balances. I'm usually building walls of sound, it was a nice  exercise to go the other way, building spaces for sound instead of walls.

For a long time there was a cheesy bossa nova flute involved for the melody line, you can hear an early draft of that in the sketch version. In the final version this is performed by a broken-down lo-fi Hammond organ. I really wanted to have some kind of flute or wind sound there. I therefore spent unhealthy amounts of resources this spring building a Frankenflute, like my other Frankenflugel and Frankenclarinet instruments; a flute built from hundreds of different single flute samples, all taken from different musical recordings through history.

However, when the Frankenflute was finished, it sounded really great in itself, but totally not in the context of this track, it was terrible, it sucked surprisingly hard. This is good example of how I can sometimes spend a lot of time on something that ultimately does not work as intended. Though, not a waste of time in the long run, the Frankenflute will be very usable in other projects. Just not here.

(The track does use a somewhat-working version of a Frankenpizzicato, but not very prominent.)

The first final candidate did not have vocals. I wasn't completely happy with it. It was nice but boring.

During research for another idea this winter I stumbled across the source for the vocals. It's individual words from dialogues throughout a rather splendid B-movie. I catalogued all the words available and re-wrote the text. 

It can be a bit challenging making cut-up words from different locations, sources or situations fit together in a new context. But I've found recording myself as a guide track first and then manipulating the cuts both visually and sonically to ghost myself is the most efficient process. There's an uncanny glimpse of symbolism there.

Earlier vocal versions had a bit more complex texts and vocal lines. But just as with the sound design, I reduced the text design to more simple phrases and ideas.

We discussed a bit back and forth during beta listens how much to make her sing, or at all. We didn't agree, and I can't even agree with myself on a consensus, but I am the dictator so I just decided. This version is like this.


New track: The Scientist
Posted September 5th 2012, at 20:33 with tags , , , , ,

Third track from upcoming new EP, it is The Scientist

Making-of and production notes for this track in the blog

Chase Aux - Production Notes
Posted August 29th 2012, at 16:44 with tags , , , , , , , ,


Production notes and making of "Chase Aux", second track from upcoming Planet U Episode 5. 

 Performed this track live at the cinema in May, in a slightly different edit. It worked very well in the set, and was great fun to play. It sort of builds upon itself, there is little musical development, only energy. Maybe this is a track that works better live than recorded, but I'm curious to know so I'm trying it to observe.
It's an Amiga Protracker slash Teenage Engineering OP-1 slash live guitar track. The title (and idea) comes from an Amiga game I always wanted to play but never could get my hands on, Chase HQ. I changed title to Chase Aux for release. 
The core of the track was written on New Years Eve last year, during exploration of my then brand new Teenage Engineering OP-1.
I love that noisy little devil very much. I got it for myself for Christmas present last Christmas, didn't give it away, the next day, and then spent the holidays exploring the unit. The busy pattern that starts of the track is from the string synthesis with the step sequencer, I somewhat liked the simplicity of both and I also liked that I also did not like it. 
Above, sound example, the first sketch.
It is interesting to observe that most of the track was written during one evening, and it's all there really. Later is just production, mixing, layering. I have not changed much since the first version in musical terms. Screenshot of first project:
The hectic core sequence was kind of spur-of-moment thing but also I think it's a typical sound and pattern of the unit. The song uses multiple layers of this, dropping in and out, it's all OP-1 re-recorded or re-sampled or manipulated, and eventually dubbed by Thomas. 
Live guitar, by Thomas, is mostly duplicating, replicating and expanding the programmed synth lines. We tried a few wild ideas during guitar sessions but I landed on making guitar a supplement rather than featured element. This also worked live, because the track becomes a "transactional" element between other tracks where Thomas has a larger improvisational role.
The track also uses a lot of classical Amiga ProTracker samples loaded onto the OP-1 and played with the unit's sampler, then recorded and further played, both for melodic and rhythmical sounds. Mostly I liked the sound of OP-1 more than the user interface, so it's kind of: Some ancient synth or sound some time sampled to Amiga ProTracker ST disk then transferred and played by OP-1 then probably sampled by Wave Editor or Logic into Kontakt 5 then played again and programmed as Midi in Logic. 
I'm quite sure this process is less than beneficial to certain aspects of crystal clear sound quality but I like the complexity of it, the sounds have been through a complex story to get there, each technology from different eras distort the sound slightly. The story or process of a track can be interesting, maybe only in technical terms interesting to the creator, but actually I am the creator of this and soon world domination dictator, so there.
The two first tracks of this EP so far has a lot of energy. The next one, next week, is a laboratory ballad.

New track: Chase Aux
Posted August 29th 2012, at 16:38 with tags , , , , ,

Second track from upcoming new EP, Chase Aux

Making-of and production notes in the blog.

Expedition Report: Amanda Awards
Posted August 24th 2012, at 20:41 with tags , , , , , , ,

Due to an unforeseen nomination, this correspondent found himself on expedition to the Amanda awards. It's the Norwegian Oscars. The awards are part of the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund.

Strange serums! Action heroines! Occupy mayor desk! Visual effects! Red carpets!

My expedition notes.

It is a grand and strange spectacle. I attended the award ceremony on Friday and the opening of the festival on Saturday. My manager Per was there with me and also lots of the Indie team (production company), as the film was nominated to four awards. I was glad to have clever friends.

I had calculated and reasoned with myself, with four nominations and on average four nominees per category it was statistically likely that Pushwagner would receive one award. Most obvious award would be the visual effects.
It just makes sense. If you watch the movie it's obvious. The visuals brings to life the established art of Pushwagner into the universe of the film, which again represents a struggle of making art. It's like animating layers of dimensions of meta. It's not only great production by the effects team, it is a great idea by the directors and brilliant enhancement of Pushwagner's art. Everything combined into a perfect formula. Not saying other parts of the movie is bad, it's just that the visuals are in a league of their own both in execution and concept. I am satisfied these calculations turned out correct.
Still, during the award ceremony I was extremely nervous and excited and hyped until THE EVIL HAPPENED. Then I made some quiet Gollum sounds, just loud enough for the production director (row in front of me) to hear. After that I was extremely bored.
I found it more fascinating to watch the production itself than the show. It's like they are running a kindergarten. The production is really tight. You are not allowed to do anything. You are shepherded anywhere everywhere. Sit in your seat and keep quiet and clap when we say so! YES SIR! If you get an award stand here! YES! After, go THERE! YES SIR! The show was buffered, not live, everything was happening 30-40 minutes before airing. So they could redo some segments that sucked. They did. 
I was seated on row 2, dangerously close to the stage, grouped with most of the Indie crew. That is them directors there in that photo, and visual effects guys taking seats behind. I was next to the camera. 
People winning awards still need to use my USB cable to charge their iPhones, hah!
Lost my iPhone. Actually didn't really LOOSE it, I LEFT it UNINTENIONABLE on a table. Bar crew found it. A smirking hotel reception gave it back to this mildly panicking correspondent at 05 am. Find my iPhone doesn't really work when you are 8 floors above it. Or maybe it does. 
There are a lot of film stars everywhere at all times and I had no idea who anybody was anytime. Doesn't matter, everybody was friendly. Sometimes somebody told me who somebody somewhere were and I still had no idea. 
I'm sure I grabbed the last bacon at breakfast just in front of someone extremely famous. Dear extremely famous: Those eggs and bacon was REALLY GREAT and bacon always is and I'm quicker than you.
On my way in, I was arriving Haugesund from Berlin via Copenhagen and Oslo. Early morning at Tegel I ran into a great friend of mine also going to the festival. He travels a lot and has business lounge access at Kastrup, where there is free everything! Ha ha! He can bring a guest. That was me! Ha ha! This expedition was hardly off the ground before we were in film star operation mode in the business lounge.
After this flying start, more airports. Less lounges. On the final flight into Haugesund, lots of film people. The woman next to me looked like an action movie film star. I felt quite safe flying next to her, I'm sure if snakes hijacked the plane she would chew them apart and all that stuff they do, but in a very gracious manner.
But she fell asleep. I watched Norway scrolling below me. I pretended not to worry about what to say. Then, on approach to Haugesund, a windy coastal town, the plane went into spontaneous crazy turbulence. Dearest me. I started worrying, what happens if we crash? Will it improve my chances of an award? Probably! Because if I'm dead it's like a post-humous thing. Will anybody cry? Will they make a montage? What track will they use? Mine? Will I get royalties? Maybe it will suck. I should have planned this. Or will everybody laugh? Oh no. Who will receive my award? But this internal drama of a few milliseconds was suddenly interrupted. Action movie film star woman next to me woke up like any action movie star and said something hilarious about waking up and cowboys driving airplanes. She was like Bruce Willis mixed with Bill Murray. Only prettier.  
Lost that tiny USB thing for the wireless mouse. It's completely gone. Why do they make them so small! It's great until it's not!
By magical coincidence that only happens in movies, I was in an elevator trip that resulted with this correspondent hooking up with the other best music nominees. They were awesome. We had great fun comparing work and experiences and genres and awards and curiosity and disappointments and beers and laughs. We were the last table to be thrown out of the festival opening party. This was great. It was also the same scene as the disappearing iPhone. It's always like this I find new friends I loose iPhones.
Haugesund is a nice town. There's a fjord, or the Hauge-"sund" I guess, cutting straight through the city. But only one fjord. Haugesund is like a monophonic 2D version of Venice. 
Late afternoon on awards night, something appeared in my hotel room. I really mean it, it just APPEARED! Look photo above. WHAT IS THAT!
Came running back to my room to change in 2 minutes, and found... THAT. A bag on my floor. Just like that, there. With strange artifacts of science and foreign languages. I was fascinated. Investigated.
Made an honest observation field report. Quite peculiar! Seems to be some kind of collection of youth serum from another world. I am reluctant to make experiments. There was also a mysterious cube of rock.
An asteroid from another world! Maybe from the world of the funny action movie film star eating turbulence. Observe the geometrical shapes! Observe rock formation changing from bottom to top. They make no sense. So strange.
Earlier, upon arrival in Haugesund there was a reception at city hall, with the mayor and all that... things and people of importance.
I met the rest of the Indie crew. Everyone looked super sexy hot. The room also really was hot. There was sushi. It was really bad sushi. There was a speech by the mayor. I missed it! We were out for fresh air because we were so hot. There was the mayor. I shook hands with him. And his wife. They must have greeted hundreds. What a job. I also occupied his desk! He didn't notice. I was nervous. maybe he was too.
And voila I'm a thing of importance! All it takes is a desk. 
Walked many red carpets here and there, they're everywhere, unavoidable.
Did some interviews. I observe, if you don't win, they don't use it. If you win, they use whatever they got. So you kind of have to pretend you might win but not enough so it looks like you think you might win.
Saturday, the day after the awards, was some business and stuff, hanging with manager, meeting people, but also free time, hung out with the visual effects guys, they are really great guys, we drifted around, watching festival movies, having dinner, flowing around the festival area, laughing over beers.
Splendid day. There were fireworks at some point. Very lots of fireworks, lots of oil money up in the clouds. Discussed with the visual effects guys, fireworks is the most obvious effect to do in post. There's an unlearnable lesson there.
Saw Kon-Tiki, the festival opening feature. Gorgeous, crammed with impressement and blue ocean and malevolent sushi. It's like Titanic just about science and mad crazy archeology and the iceberg is at the start and it's very tiny and Heyerdahl is like a social democratic Indiana Jones so maybe not really Titanic but sort of Kon't-Panic. 
I got secret love messages from the festival on my TV in the hotel room! But they were really boring and stuff like "A car will pick you up at 1400". Blah blah! Soon, everything on the planet will have an inbox. This is also both good and bad. 
My final, and maybe most important observation struck me a few days after the the festival. And I didn't Tumblr it because I didn't realize. But everybody everywhere was the same age. My age. Our age? Both at the awards and at the festival. There were exceptions but they were exceptions. It's like a single generation. I don't know if this is a good sign or bad sign. I think it is both.
Conclusion! This was my third visit as nominee to awards in different media. I've been to music and TV previously. Statistically I'm on schedule, I'm still way below average, and certainly per award. I think maybe I liked this one best, film awards are nice. It was a more relaxed tone, balanced. I had a really great time. I got to meet a lot of great people.
I'm surprisingly satisfied with how the awards were awarded. Everything felt just right.
Expedition status: Success. 

Fountain Of Gloom - Production Notes
Posted August 22th 2012, at 12:45 with tags , , ,

Fountain Of Gloom is somewhat dark and complex, massive and busy but also cartoony naive. I wanted to make a modern version of a tracker song. There are a lot of retro sounds and minor chords inside. The track has been all over Europe and through many hotel rooms during production.

Some production notes!

The first sketch was created in Renoise above the Mediterranean, mid-flight between Germany and Portugal in January. Escaping the cruel central European winter.

I was playing around trying to make really classic early 90ies Amiga Protracker A0F bass-line pulses. I love those, I had great fun trying to recreate them as cliched as possible.

I like to work with Renoise on the laptop when traveling, it's more immediate and very laptop-keyboard friendly, I can quickly create sketches or just mess around with programming beats.  
First sketch Renoise, click for large.
The melody and structure was developed further throughout January on Madeira, a volcanic island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. I loved being there, exploring the dramatic mountains and mysterious valleys, sleeping volcanoes, working on this track late at night. I really liked the retro bass stuff I did in Renoise so I rendered that down, brought it into Logic, which I find better for arrangement and production. I also wrote a vocal line and some sketches for texts.
Melodic development Logic, click for large.

Eventually, later during production, I re-created those tracker-ish A0F sounds from Renoise as Kontakt instruments in Logic. I got tired of re-rendering or re-wiring, having them in realtime gave me more flexibility to change key without going all left-brain. Also gave me some options to make them more dynamic, throw more effects on them, a nice trick to learn.
Then there was a break, I didn't work on it until March, where I finished a version of the track back in Berlin, without the guitar (which is there now). At the moment, I was considering the track for a side project, most likely Shadow Of The Beat, but in a harder and longer edit. There was a lot of retro Amiga ST-disk samples in it, maybe too much. I also had sketches and ideas for vocals. Or I could skip the vocals and release as-is with Ugress. I wasn't sure. As mentioned previously, I almost released an EP including this track back then, but canceled at the last moment, wasn't satisfied with anything. 
I decided to try it out live.
Playing live with Thomas Dahl, Cinemateket USF Bergen, Norway.
I removed a few elements, and with guitarist Thomas Dahl did a live version of the track at the Live Cinema show in Bergen early May. That worked a bit better, I liked what Thomas improvised so I decided to record guitars and this nudged the track towards Ugress. The preparations for live version was done during a spring stay by the Baltic Sea (where I discovered the massive Prora nazi ruins), where I also developed live visuals for the track. More on those another time, but they are very integral to the track, I developed visuals and music simultaneously.
Guitar recording was done in multiple sessions whenever I was in Norway and Thomas had available hours. I like our way of working, we hook up laptops and gear and hang out at Thomas's place, simple and unpretentious, move quickly through songs, easy ideas, having fun, it's somewhat sketch'y and improvised. We get great takes and also weird takes and I love them both.
Then I work alone in Germany, editing, considering, structuring, manipulating, programming. We hook up again and maybe next time re-record stuff that turned out usable, or try something else. It's a flowing process, I love working like this when we have time to play like this.   
Final project Logic, click for large.
I mixed and produced the track in Berlin and Dusseldorf during summer. I wanted to keep the original Amiga bass-line, but mostly hidden, it's there most of the time as glue but only partly noticeable at selected segments. There are still a lot of Amiga ST-disks samples here and there, and a few C64 tricks. 
The final edit is a little bit more complex than I prefer, I think the overall process was TOO long, at the end I became too worried about silly details and I knew too much about the track, kept editing invisible sounds and irrelevant levels. So i'm relieved to finally release the fountain, let it splash its own gloomy life for a while.  

New track: Fountain Of Gloom
Posted August 22th 2012, at 12:22 with tags , , ,

Fountain Of Gloom, the first track from upcoming Episode 5 of Planet U.

Dark twilight chords, heroic lonely guitar, retro Amiga and C64 sonic tricks, sinister beats... it's noir cartoonitronica. Featuring Thomas T. Dahl on guitar.

Making-of, production notes, sound examples in this blog report.

Report: TryAngle: EU Arts Laboratory
Posted August 6th 2012, at 10:57 with tags , , , , , ,

All photos by TryAngle Mediateam.

Recently stayed some weeks with 20 other performing artists at Tanzhaus NRW in Dusseldorf for TryAngle, a European performing arts research laboratory. I was invited to participate as a Norwegian representative, through associate partner Carte Blanche.

The Dusseldorf TryAngle lab is part of a triangle (tadaa!), with similar labs happening in Marseille, France and Montemor, Portugal. The maddest, sharpest, nicest minds in Europe, thrown together in a huge dance theatre complex with the intention of … umm.. do what you want. Make something. Or not. Research, create, explore, interrupt, connect. We did.

The editorial over at official site explains the theoretical purpose of the lab better than me.
The Tanzhaus NRW dance complex in Dusseldorf is an amazing re-purposed tram factory building, a huge space with multiple studios, stages and performance spaces. We had it all to ourselves. There were tram tracks everywhere, even in the basement! How did they get the trams up and down? Tram elevators?
It's like Charlie's Chocolate Factory, Hogwarths, Black Swan and social-anarchistic scout camp for mad evil creative geniuses. There were performing artists of all kinds: Dancers, choreographers, video artists, stage designers, directors, curators, video artists, actors, writers, performers, photographers, composers, programmers, musicians, visitors, administrators, scribes, scholars, media teams, technicians, coordinators - and everybody overlapping with multiple roles, impossible to box anyone in a certain role or position. Havoc and beauty and explosions and tears and quiet evil clever schemes. 
There were also all kinds of human personalities and this was intriguing, how to relate and balance intentions, creativity and art between multiple fields, approaches, minds, personalities? I worked with a lot of different people on different projects and every time there were different ways and wishes to communicate, participate and produce. Some of the artists, including this correspondent, are used to working on their own. Groups and teams are friendly furry monsters we're not sure to feed.
What happened? Everything! Prototypes, performances, works-in-progress, flashes of ideas, miniature conclusions and compositions, conceptual abstracts and concrete souvenirs. Success and failure. Performances and presentations. I joined in multiple projects and also initiated a few on my own. I will report on my ideas separately. For most projects, not all, there are various text, photo and video documentation over at the TryAngle website. Many projects were private, personal, secret, or simply not documented because of time and resources.
From my own ideas, I initiated Sound of Dus, a flexible group composition for a dance performance based on everyday sounds, rhythms and hidden melodies of Dusseldorf; Fragile, a research project looking for the sound, music and humor of fragility; and Ghost Tram, a comic-tragic musical about a ghost tram, based on the Moby-Dick novel, The Flying Dutchman myth and Wagner opera, Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, Massive Attack's Teardrop and the core concept that crying is not allowed and will be punished via a virtual element. Yes, it was slightly too much for a three day project. 
Other projects I was more or less involved in included a pop dance hit for dancing yellow teddybears, performing a character in realtime multi video-impro performance, scanning my body to 3D models in more or less flattering positions, brushed my teeth with a crowd at Burger King, tried sampling that, failed, floating frozen in air with laptop, stayed there, tried controlling gameshow-fanfares with my vocal chords while dancing to it, failed, but laughed so hard, interrupted myself as my evil conscience Dr Doppeltganger in my own scientific presentation of my periodic system of personal contradictions… and some things I forget, and some things unspeakable.
Some projects where presented to the public at the end, but I very much liked that many of the projects were only presented and discussed within the group. This was liberating in multiple directions, both because it was easy to take chances and try new ideas in a safe, closed environment, and also because working within your tribe makes it possible to state "and HERE we would be doing THIS" and then not do it, just say it would've been done. You could make abstract leaps and shortcuts.  
It's not possible to recap properly everything that happened in text or photo or video or music. The lab was marvelous and magic and massive. I am very grateful for it. I made a lot of new friends. We have plans. I made some errors. They were corrected. I learned a lot, about art, performance, human interactions, cooking, Europe, tears and ghost trams. I pushed and probed a lot of my own limits, and probably the limits of others too. I lost a DVI Display-port adapter.
As a final note, in retrospect I found one very interesting and subtle aspect to observe of this laboratory - I was there and very present for 14 days. But I only spent 2 days in total composing actual music or creating sounds. And that was at night, instead of sleep. Intriguing, this pattern is familiar. Will investigate.
Reports, photos, music examples on those projects I did follows!

Expedition To Nazi Resort Ruin: Prora
Posted July 10th 2012, at 16:41 with tags , , , , , , ,

Some weeks past, doing research for my Nebular Spool post-apocalyptic ruin-tronica project, I went on expedition to investigate a mysterious rumour: There is a massive, abandoned nazi holiday resort complex by the Baltic Sea. 

Prora Ruins

Rumour confirmed. There are, massive nazi resort ruins: The Colossus of Prora
Or it's really just one ruin, 5 kilometers long. A few meters off the longest beach in Germany, hidden behind eroding pine forest and sleepy beach kiosks. 

Prora Ruins

I arrived from east and sort of stumbled upon the complex walking up the beach edge. The western side is being renovated and turned into hostels and urban decay theme parks. We do not want to stumble upon THAT, thanks. The Pretendacolypse must be taken as far as possible. 

Prora Ruins

After stalking the complex from a distance, I found a door ajar at the very eastern end. Terrified, I invented fearlessness and went inside. What if it falls apart? What if the nazis abandonded this because the place is haunted by viking ghosts? Or what if there are nazi zombies on holiday? Or worse, local Ostsee drug smugglers. Or worse, security guards. Or even worsest… other hipster yukis on urban exploration.  
So many cruel, cruel dangers! But your correspondent did not come this far to slip the proof off Getty Images. No! He could not afford the roaming charges anyway. He therefore went inside.

Prora Ruins

I am really glad I did, and I really was a bit scared, not making that up. The place is huge, and eerily quiet. Sudden shadows to hide in, long stretches to feel exposed. It was a grey day, with gusts of wind, distant thunder, drips of rain, restless ocean. 

Prora Ruins

Invisible somethings that made weird, unplace-able noises. Myself I was tip-toing, moving slowly, partly of nervousness, partly avoid being heard myself by viking drug zombies or hipster security guards. 
I spent several hours just walking around, looking, exploring, devouring the atmosphere. So perfect for Nebular Spool ideas. Photos better than words for this, there are more in my Flickr set from the expedition.

Prora Ruins

But photos can't really communicate the endlessness. There is a photo of a bath-thub, but there were thousands. Thousands of staircases, thousands of hallways, thousands of grafitti pieces, endless halls, rooms, dust, shards, stains. Everything empty, abandoned, decayed, forgotten. Disappearing. Beautiful.
Prora Ruins
Abandoned ruins are theme parks for restless minds, fuel for post-apocalyptic inspiration and escapism in time and space.
Expedition conclusion: Success. More photos over at Flickr.


Instagram and Tumblr daily photo updates
Posted June 29th 2012, at 14:34 with tags , , , , , , , , ,
My current daily routine of studio work isn't terribly exciting. The blog would be thousands of entries like this: "Wrote. Not sure good or bad. Continue tomorrow." 
However, I'm also inadvertently stumbling out into reality, observing the strange. This results in a somewhat daily Instagram photostream. They also go to my Tumblr, and from now on to my personal Twitter and personal Facebook. Pick your poison.
If you just want major artist news there is the separate official Ugress Twitter and Facebook page, with a lot less traffic.  
You can also just dip into the archives at your leisure. 


Journal Update, June 29th 2012
Posted June 29th 2012, at 14:27 with tags , , , , , ,

A brief note on what's up.  

January, February was touring. Report.
March was mostly producing new tracks. I was not exceptionally organized, my progress was messy. I was kind of exhausted after a long winter of touring. I did produce quite a lot of material, but most of it for side-projects. I almost released Episode 5 of the Planet U project for Ugress, but pulled it at the very last moment. Something wasn't right about it.   
March also had unusual amounts of planning and business decisions. There's a large cinematic project coming up this autumn. Planning, funding, applications, scheduling, all this had to happen in March, it's a long term thing. Not super fun and really boring at the time, but it has paid off. The project is now fully funded, and I'm really proud of that, wish I could say more. Schedule, premiere and tour dates are to be set before I can announce it, though I've been dropping hints.
April was mostly spent preparing new tracks and visuals for the live cinema shows early May. I decided to try out the aborted tracks mentioned above in a live setting, before releasing them. I re-worked them, and did preproduction with Thomas (guitar). I released the Ninja 9000 EP, almost on impulse. That took a week of finalizing. Rest of April was live preparations. Not because a live show itself demands this much pre-prod, but because I use live shows as a way to force myself to wrap new material. At this show I tried unusually much new material.
May was live shows (report), travels, and working on music for television. I have the program music for NRK's Barnas Supershow and they needed new music for new segments. Also did a few regular production jobs to keep the uncanny economy afloat while I'm delaying the Ugress album. This work is usually adaption and remixing of my existing tracks for films, TV, ads, games, etc. Some of it pays at the start, others create royalties up ahead. 
June has been a mix of production and traveling. I have concentrated on the album. Right now I'm not sure what to do. Album or EP? I'm leaning towards releasing material as an EP, Episode 5, instead of an album. First reason, releasing an album is a major effort that eats time and resources. Second reason I don't think the album would be strong enough if released this summer. Third reason, the EP method seem to work pretty well, when looking at data and experience from a distance. I'm still considering options but something will happen during summer. Autumn and first half 2013 is kind of fully scheduled already.
July will be exciting. I'm to participate at TryAngle in Dusseldorf, a European performing arts research laboratory, where composers, choreographers, dancers, painters, photographers, directors, writers and who knows what else are thrown together and allowed to create for the sake of creation. No commercial or cultural expectation and demand, just create what you really want to, together with other mad scientists. I'm equally excited and nervous. The lab will be well documented with daily text, photo and video updates, it starts middle of July.

Report: Amanda nominations press conference
Posted June 26th 2012, at 12:36 with tags , , , , , ,

When you are nominated for the Amanda awards, you know it long before it is public. Because otherwise you wouldn't be at the the press conference. A report!

Amanda is the Norwegian annual cinema awards, sort of like Oscars. I have the music for Pushwagner which received four nominations. The producer Indie Film told me a few weeks ago the film would be nominated. The show's producer asked the nominees to be present at the press conference. Coincidentally I was to be in Oslo in the same week. After checking that the Indie guys would go too, I fixed it so I could attend with them. 
I was nervous, not really sure why, maybe a combination of not knowing exactly what would happen, and a general unease with crowds of any kind. I was really glad to be going as a team.
We arrived correctly late. A very friendly and very prototypical PR lady efficiently welcomed us and probably told us what was going to happen. I didn't pay full attention because the banquet hall was visually really neat and at one wall there were four projectors lined up to project a super wide image, but it was the same image on all four and just a dull wave-y screen-saver thing. 
There was an area of standing tables with a food buffet for the nominees. We found a table. There were biological and digital conversations. A press coordinator asked me for an student interview after the conference which I agreed to.
There was a speech by a nice friendly man in a suit that would camouflage him perfectly at a derby, he told us some practical information about the current seance, and further what would happen at the awards ceremony in August. There will be receptions. There will be dinners with dangerous strangers. There will be need of tuxedos. 
Then the conference started. This was my first press conference of this kind. I've done TV performances, this wasn't much different, actually it was just like TV, there isn't any room for anything to happen except exactly what the producer wants exactly when the producer wants. You are simply waiting behind stage until somebody efficiently friendly ushers you out to be presented.
The head of committee Jan Eggum informed about the jury decisions. He wore an awesome jacket with camouflage patterns for going on safari in interior design blogs. The hostess Ingri Bolsø Berdal was introduced and also talked about her role. She had a orange sweater, no safari pattern but she could maybe camouflage herself amongst flamingoes.
She called out the categories, and introduced the nominees onto the stage for the press to shoot photos and record frames. I had no camouflage options. I saw Karianne of Indie (who did the incredible music video)  in the press crowd, taking photos of us. 
I was relieved when my turn was over. It was simply weird standing there on stage. Like "now what?". I said hi to the other music nominees, they were friendly and polite people. We found envelopes that contained more information and the official invitation to the awards ceremony. Turns out they actually organize and pay your trip to the awards in August. That's generous! They don't pay my manager, except his attendance. Ha ha! 
There were a lot of food. White tablecloths. Buzzy PR people. Huge cameras. Lots of iPhones. (I noticed the clever absence of alcohol.) The visuals effects guys and me concluded the chocolate buffet must be from Pascal, a fancy local confectionary. Sugar bling. Four projectors for a screensaver, interior design blog camouflage and delicate confectionary before noon! My. This is a bit different than a lukewarm beer on the grass behind the stage tent on a festival. 
Then there were interviews, but not much, I did an interview with a student which was cool, a friendly conversation, especially after we found a common enjoyment of Fincher and his Reznor/Ross collaborations. I don't know if the others did interviews. Nobody had chocolate. There were a lot of cameras and mics and the Indie guys seemed to know both other media people and journalists. I asked the others if there were any film stars there. They said no, not really, except the hostess is a film star. 
Then we went for a team lunch, catching up, hanging out, talking about current jobs and upcoming productions. 
Conclusion. It's like a sophisticated backstage of a music festival, mixed with a relaxed TV show and networking reception. I look forward to spotting more elaborate camouflage outfits at the awards. 

Expedition report: dOCUMENTA 13
Posted June 26th 2012, at 09:18 with tags , , , , ,
Went to Documenta, investigating contemporary art, stumbling across what's behind it all. 
Documenta is like a half-magic half-bizarre amusement park for the intellect. It's a contemporary art exhibition happening every fifth year for 100 days in Kassel, Germany. This is the 13th edition. Wikipedia. I'm currently sort of based in Berlin, Kassel was just a brief teleport by ICE away. Trains in Germany are almost like Wikipedia. You're very suddenly somewhere and don't know how you got there so fast.
Documenta 13 is massive in scope and also massive in span of quality. Even with multiple days I didn't manage to see everything. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to see and hear, but I'm sure I missed something wonderful. Also sure I missed something horrible.
My favorite aspect of the whole exhibition: the vast spread of works throughout the huge Karlsaue park. I could drift around that park all day, floating randomly from work to work, with serious amount of green woodland between each. There's plenty of park and organized forest to allow reflection and WTF-ing between the each challenge.
The insides of the exhibition buildings are equally vast, but crammed. Well organized but crowded, both in visitors and works. Indoors I mostly preferred the quiet fringe areas, with fringe content. There was also science, some of it cute, some of it tricky, most of it both. There were scientists present at the exhibitions to help you understand the experiments, but too much people around for me. 
They also have a really clever app dMaps, which helps you navigate the festival area, which is all of Kassel really. On the plus side, the app worked great, except for hourly crashes which I forgive. On the minus side the content of the app was weak. It helped you navigate WHERE, but not WHY.
The app only displays artist bios and locations. Artwork titles, statements, information and those soggy editorials were only available physically on location of a work. Sometimes the app provided a chattery talking head video, this adds 1 GB of wasted device memory and insane installing times. Tsk tsk. It's called a mobile device because, you know, you're mobile. Moving around. Not in a sofa. Not lots of non-time to admire lazy embedding skills.
Speaking of network - some artworks had QR codes attached connecting further exploration. And much art invited further investigation. Why no public wireless internet access? I would guess most visitors to Documenta are on a roaming plan. It doesn't make sense to expect visitors shelling out for network. I did find some tubes, but they only confirmed my suspicion.  
The Documenta website has sort of the same problem content-wise. It's well designed and executed - very well - but skips data on the individual works, focusing on the same clinical artist bios. It's a fancy telephone book. Maybe this is an editorial or curatorial decision. I politely abstain from commenting on this decision.
Nevertheless your correspondent is fearless in the face of calculated ignorance! Lack of common sense means here can be monsters! And he discovered the following wonders!
Pierre Huyghe had created an abandoned weedy wilderness in the middle of the Karlsaue, a calculatedly forgotten and overgrown landscaped building site. It was bursting with weeds and plants, insects, dirt, mud, trash, lots of hidden little labyrinths in-between the two meter tall post-apocalyptic growth.
It's an artificial wilderness in an artificial abandoned area inside the art area of an artificial park inside the most organized country on a completely organized continent. And just as the disturbed satisfaction of all this settles, there's a statue of a naked woman with a beehive for face right in the middle of it. 
I spent some time in there equally awed and scared. 
Also in Karlsaue, Cardiff and Miller (I think, the app doesn't tell, I'm guessing from location data) had created an wonderful complete 360 degree surround sound installation in a forested area of Karlsaue, a circle of hidden speakers in trees and subs in the ground.
You sat down among the trees and were immersed in some kind of storytelling-on-speed soundscape; everything from a spooky augmented forest, morphing to quiet choirs, to full on industrial machinery and then battles of war and cityscapes. No words, only sounds. The experience went from puzzling (did a branch snap or didn't it?) to completely hair-raisingly surreal (your eyes are looking at a peaceful forest but your ears are in heavy mechanical battle). A bit of a challenge to photograph, but I stalked up to the creepy looking caravan probably hosting the computers running it. Or hosting a serial killer. And soon me. Or some of me. I'd better leave now.
There were lots more I liked in Karlsaue, but those I really really loved. At night I had sushi for dinner while Germany kicked ass in the Euro. I hope some day the wonderful Germans will start treating fish they way they treat the European economy and the European championships. With enthusiastic planning and delicate skills.
Next day was indoors. A busy day. I discovered a Finnish artist I didn't know about, Erkki Kurinemi, at Orangeriet.
What a splendid fellow! A mad scientist in electronics and music, he was creating his own electronic instruments, digital sequencers and circuit bending long before Finland found GSM in their lakes and grew rich refining it to circuits for ringtones. I not only loved his bold playfulness, but also his crazy effort to document and record absolutely everything all the time. There was a whole room crammed with his inventions, instruments you could play and demonstration of hacks. Superwonderful.
There were so much more incredible stuff inside. But my absolute total favorite of everything was the invisible, silent, tasteless and fragrant free art of Ryan Gander. "I Need Some Meaning I Can Memorize (Invisible Pull)." In the whole first floor of the huge Friedericanium building, some sort of palace, Mr Gander had made a work of moving air, a gentle draft, politely pushing and pulling you through completely empty white rooms, around corners and through doorways, towards dead end rooms of the building. 
These airstreams led you towards an unobtrusive room with an even more unobtrusive door. it was marked with a usual green  "Exit" light above. But no handle, and a sign "No exit" clearly stated printed on the door. 
Most people sliding by with their snarky comments ignored this room, but I found it magical. So I spent some time there, mostly alone. After closer inspection - another term for growing bored without knowing it - I noticed the door wasn't completely sealed shut, there was a tiny ridge protruding on the lower half. Nobody in the room. No cameras. No steps approaching. Ho-hum. Curiosity got the better of me. I slowly pried it open with my fingers. Little by little I pulled it out, and eventually got a grip enough to open it.
Behind the door was just another part of the exhibition, regular works on the walls. A pair of regular art surfers looked at me, not sure if I was part of the exhibition or a criminal. A very puzzled security guard also looked at me. I looked at them. Everyone was curious. Time tried to stand still. The guard finally calculated a response.
"Sir... I don't think you're supposed to do that..? You can't go that way. No. Please go back and close the door."
Satisfied with my discovery, I did. 

Pushwagner Amanda nominations
Posted June 26th 2012, at 09:17 with tags , , , , , ,

The Pushwagner film, where I have the music, is nominated in four categories at the Amanda awards:

  • Best film
  • Best music
  • Best visual effects
  • Best editing

I attended the press conference where it was announced, together with the rest of the Indie Film team.

Wrote a report of the spectacle




Report: Ugress Live Cinema
Posted May 13th 2012, at 21:07 with tags , , ,

Last week, played live with Ugress in a cinema. Some observations.

  • Playing live in a cinema is a splendid idea. It has potential but also challenges. I would most certainly like to continue develop this idea. 
  • It is kind of weird - for everyone involved - to perform in front of a quiet but attentive audience.

    But this is awesome - for everyone involved - regarding concentration, experience, detail and sound quality. I'm not stressed by this, just observing. It's a transition and will probably take some trial and error to find a balance between spectating and participating.
  • Concentrated on integrating guitarist Thomas T. Dahl further into the live show. We spent some time pre-producing (sketching), working out new tracks together, and I did new edits of old tracks to make room for him to improvise.

    Thomas is a very talented instrumentalist, with his own unique expression. As is Nasra, my drummer. I could be "hey! play this and that or ELSE!", but I prefer them to bring their own voices into the live shows. They are - or we all are -  very different personalities and musicians and I like the mix of us. Nasra already works exceptionally well, we have grown together over multiple performances.

    So I decided this time to do a show only Thomas and me, to give him my full focus both during pre-prod and during performance. Very worth it. In particular the darker tracks. 
  • The screen. Ha ha! The screen. Oh dear. And the sound system and the subs. Utterly bloody delicious. Why don't music venues spend this effort on their setups? Playing in clubs is often a nightmare for live sound and image. 
  • Speaking of which. The support, assistance and effort put into the show by venue Cinemateket USF was incredible. Also the follow-up with discussion and evaluation afterwards. Awesome people. Very glad to know I will be working more with them this autumn on an upcoming project.
  • Tried a lot of new tracks, I don't think we've ever played this many new or changed tracks ever in one set. Most of them worked well. In particular when I'm able to work them in sequence in the set, together with visuals. Might not work so well standalone yet. But really happy to try them out live.
  • The regular "hits" didn't work so well. Interesting! Maybe that's just me, because I'm so used to the spontaneous energy of recognition-response in a club. Perhaps the cinema invites to focus on the darker, more complex tracks. I notice from video footage - at some time Thomas and me get lost in concentration on some glitch-polyrhythm impro, sliding back and forth of taking the lead, while a wordless film-noir dialogue tries (and quite expectantly fails) to say something above us. We're very introverted, concentrated. The images enhance the mood. Which isn't "party". In the cinema format that works perhaps better, than the regular extroverted stage flirt moments of Manhattan and Spiderman. Which of course isn't BAD. Just different. Bigger palette.
  • Spent some minutes this winter on upgrading visuals, to run in full HD at 1:4. That works so nice on a well-oiled and enthusiastic 4k projector. 1:4 is probably the widest widescreen format invented. Also, been battling a visual idea I had for some time. I finally nailed how to do it just a few days before, an endless control-room screen zoomer. Still needs some adjustment, especially in selecting which films and scenes to grab from, but zooming through screens of dozens of live sci-fi control rooms - all in sync with referincing music - looked kind of mesmerizing on the huge screen. It's like meta raised to meta raised infinity.  
  • I'm now developing tracks as kind of a "package", not sure what term to use. But music, sound, live parts, visuals and musicians are now developed together and presented live as a complete "experience". I know, that sounds pretentious, I'm sorry, not sure how to label the process really. 

    Everything is now a parallel effort, all developed at once or at least towards the same release. (Which takes a lot of time, which is why I'm more quiet than usual. I'm just concentrating.) Previously it was kind of serial, or layered. First make a track, then maybe a live version a year later, maybe some graphics if it's a release, then live visuals some years later, then musicians when they appear. Now, all of this at once. 

    Of course I'm not doing this for all tracks. And I think it's not a universal solution. As a listener of music, sometimes it is awesome - and correct - to simply grab an mp3 off the web, legally or not, play it on laptop speakers on an improvised late-night kitchen party and find a connection and emotion in a lo-fi recording. Other times, it's nice to sit in a darkened theater and be taken on a surround HD expedition in 4k to other dimensions. There is room for both.
  • Tried an extended usage of Nintendo Wii-motes as controllers. I like that they are wireless and give me physical freedom. I can move over to Thomas and stay close to him when we battle. But the latency for axis movement isn't awesome. Or I'm too quick. Heh.

    Also talked to people afterwards who was like "what on earth are you doing with this and that". For the kids show we're good at communicating and demonstrating what each "thing" does. Maybe I should find some way to communicate this in the cinema show too. 
  • There was no backstage or wardrobe. So we had to improvise, the cinema is located in a huge complex and eventually we found a wardrobe on another floor. Afterwards I learned it was the wardrobe for young girls taking ballett classes. I am so relieved nobody from security came in and found me there, waiting nervously in a corner in a white lab coat. 
  • Tried using the Teenage Engineering OP-1 as a simplistic and immediate live sound source. I (sometimes) love the gritty, lo-fi sound of the device, and I filled it up with even grittier and dirtier Amiga Protracker samples. Then playing them live, and processing the sound further through the AirFXes and regular Ableton sfx, controlled by the Wii-motes. That worked kind of neat. I love the tactility of the device.   
  • Tried using two projectors on each side for side-projecting onto us performers, with programmed and scripted lighting. Hahaha, FAILED. That Did Not Work At All. Or, it sort of worked in theory, if you knew when and what to look for, but compared to the 4K projector, the side projectors where hardly noticeable. Maybe they just gave some subtle flair towards the end, when they were running full. I'll put this idea in the maybe-consider-again-sometime-later shelf together with the pixel-rays.
  •  Marketing. Something something marketing. Don't want to talk about it. La la la la la. 
  • Did a kids show in the same cinema the next morning which was sort of completely different, but I'm not reporting on that right now, as I'm currently smack in the middle of developing some stuff both for the Ugress Kids version for next year and working on some NRK kids TV stuff also for next year and going analytical on it now will kill the flow but I did manage to hit myself with the microphone and start bleeding, and I'm not developing THAT further.
  • Got a lot of feedback from different angles post-show. Both confirmation on aspects I already knew but also eye openers to things I wasn't aware of, especially from the cinema oriented crowd. 
Summarized. The cinema format for performing live music with talented instrumentalists and many pixels of visuals is absolutely brilliant. It's not perfect, but that's the cool part. Developing and evolving for this format is awesome. 
Conclusion: Success.


New track: Petri Zoo Tea
Posted May 2nd 2012, at 09:32 with tags , , , , ,

Let's have a nice hot cup of bubbly dub afternoon tea in the laboratory.

While we wait for the upcoming album.

Report: Presenting my work at Barneombudet
Posted April 24th 2012, at 14:42 with tags , , , , , , ,

I'm slowly emerging into the scary real world after months of hermit production existence. Just dropped an EP, soon live cinema shows. Last week I popped by Oslo and gave a presentation of my work for Barneombudet. A brief report! 

Barneombudet (The Norwegian Ombudsman for Children) asked me in to present and demonstrate my work. The context was working with culture (and making culture actually work) towards kids. I've sort of stumbled myself into that via the Kometkameratene and Barnas Supershow TV-series, and the Ugress Kids tours for primary schools, through Rikskonsertene
The theme of my presentation was "Field report on cinematic electronic music for kids." How to make everything that is fun for everyone here…: just as fun for everyone here:
I confess, the paranoid parts of me was concerned I was called in to be swiftly and officially beheaded. Barneombudet is sort of a watchdog for kids and their rights. Who knows, maybe I did something wrong. I screw up consistently, but maybe I did something REALLY REALLY wrong and didn't know about it... or a Google alert had picked up some kind of "Ugress beats kids" trigger and set off automatic alarms in the UN.
So, as usual I had made myself delightfully nervous, and the crazy security of multiple lock zones on the way in didn't ease me up. But the people inside were delightfully friendly and easy! Phew. An interested and enthusiastic team and office. I was flattered by their attention.
I did a presentation that was part talk (theory and observation), part demonstration of tricks and techniques (sampling tricks work well on adults in office landscapes too I noted), and part videos and sound examples of my shows both for adults and kids. I even presented my sensational findings in coffee statistics to great marvel. 
But in general what I talked about and I think the gist of my concern is to keep my work interesting and ... real? in all kinds of deliverance, without dumbing things down. Or making them over-complicated for that matter.   
I invited comments and feedback, and afterwards there was a very useful discussion on some of the observations and challenges I mentioned. Got very smart suggestions and pointers. I'm happy to know I will be working more with some of these geniuses later for an upcoming project.
Most of my effort in getting stuff to work (or not) is NOT based on academic theory, the lab coat is just a disguise... I guess it is simply intuition, trial and error, throwing ideas out and see what sticks. If they don't stick, there's always gaffer tape. In this regard, it was very useful for me to put recent experiences into words and figures and sum it up both to others and to myself. To get sort of an overview. I'm currently in discussion with Rikskonsertene of doing another tour next season, after the Ugress album. If that is going to happen I want some changes, develop some things further. There is a lot of value in the kids shows, for everyone involved, but I'm currently not good at harvesting the potential. Working on it.
This presentation was a decidedly clever step in the right direction. I was not beheaded. I got a coffee mug. Conclusion: Expedition presentation success.

Ugress Live: Cinema May 5th, Kids 6th
Posted April 23th 2012, at 09:34 with tags , , , , , ,

Ugress thrives in the lit shadows between stage and screen. 

Saturday May 5th, Ugress plays live in the cinema at Cinemateket USF in Bergen. Featuring special guest star Thomas T. Dahl on electric guitar and effects.

  • Ugress Live Cinema feat Thomas T. Dahl
  • Saturday May 5th
  • Cinemateket USF, Bergen (map)
  • Show 21:00, doors 20:00
  • Tickets 150,- (Cinemateket members 100,-)
  • Cinemateket USF programme event article
  • Facebook event

Sunday May 6th, Ugress Kids and Bajazz turns the cinema into a electro jazz rock-disco boom laboratory for kids between the age of 5 and 500. The mad professor and his crew are very enthusiastic in their cinematic disco beats but also rather clumsy and forgetful. There might be need of assistance from individuals skilled in producing noise.   

Performances in cooperation with Cinemateket USF, Bergen Jazzforum, Bajazz. Supported by Fond For Utøvende Kunstnere. 

Ninja 9000 - Bit Awake EP released
Posted April 9th 2012, at 05:55 with tags , ,


New release Bit Awake EP from my Ninja 9000 side project. Retro C64 chip-tronica. It's out now and very available as a pay-what-you-want digital release.

The previous Ninja 9000 EP's are also finally available as HD downloads from the store.


Videos: Youtube, Merlin, Phonofile clarification
Posted March 26th 2012, at 12:15 with tags , , , ,

A few months ago I reported on an agreement for my music on video sharing sites like Youtube. Anyone can use my music as much as they want in personal videos, and the system will recognize it and distribute any ad revenue automatically.

When the system recognizes my music, you might get a message that seems a little cryptic, something like this: 

Your video "Title Of Video", may have content that is owned or licensed by [Merlin] Phonofile, but it’s still available on YouTube! In some cases, ads may appear next to it.

 This claim is not penalizing your account status. 

This message is good news! Phonofile / Merlin are my guys. 

Here is how it works: My label is Uncanny Planet, which is really just a tiny company I run myself. Uncanny Planet delivers and licenses all my material to Phonofile, my digital distributor. Both Phonofile and Uncanny Planet are members of indie label organisation Merlin, who negotiates mega-deals for indie labels towards media giants like Google, Apple, etc. 

This is a nice setup. I concentrate on music, Phonofile concentrate on getting it out everywhere, and Merlin concentrate on making the deals. Youtube concentrate on Darth Vader on a Unicycle playing Imperial March with Bagpipes. Everything is ship-shape gaffer-tape perfectly right.  

I'm sorry it's not clear from those messages that the content is owned by me, and licensed to Phonofile / Merlin. 

Report: Kids Tour February 2012
Posted March 17th 2012, at 21:19 with tags , , , , ,

Recently finished another school tour, playing the Ugress Kids show at primary schools this winter. This was the last scheduled tour of the season.

A photo report with profound comments and deep thoughts. 

Our rental van and it's captain. 
Observe the matresses - two - protecting the wall, in case I run the wrong way. 
If you look closely, you can almost see a tiny Darth Vader disappointedly tottering the other way. 
I always demand harpoons mounted outside the hotel. 
Yes let's send this person to entertain children at 08:30 in the morning.
We played there.
We played there too.
And we're about to play here.
And there too.
I could go on.
Running with oil platforms.
One of the shows (reached by ferry above) was at a school with only 6 pupils.
Playing for 6 kids on a tiny school. Wonderful. But now, reflecting upon it, I realize… as a child, I set up shows in my bedroom, demanding family to watch and applaud. Now, I'm grown up, and demanding KIDS to watch and applaud. (Yes, really, we demand they applaud during the show.)
I got to ride in the cockpit of the ferry on the way back. Best friends with the captain.
My home for a week. Working on sketches and tracks in the evenings. Notice carpet floor. Carpet floor on hotels means electric shock all. the. effing. time. I was like an extrovert battery on acid all week. 
Believe it or not every button actually does something, including the invisible ones. Though one of the boxes (the Faderfox next to the Taito train controller) is a physical backup in case the iPad screws up. There's also a Wii controller, not on the photo because we hide it for the first track it's a trick get an axe.
This is embarassing but the keyboard stand has been broken for many years. We've been lugging it around everywhere with the intention of fixing it "when we arrive" but there is never time or equipment or whatever it is the thing needs, so we always have to borrow someone else's stand. Finally, on this tour we fixed it! Or, to be honest, JENS fixed it by magic and something something Claes Ohlson. I can't help it, I am always seriously amazed by people who can FIX these broken things you can't turn off and on again.
We had breakfast here every day. Became good friends with the waitress. Together we suspiciously eyed the flaky one-night business travellers. Grrrr. The noobs. More coffee? Mmmm. But I'm kind of a grumpy zombie at 6:30, my only focus is to NOT start a nuclear war on anyone who speaks to me. So no photos from that period of the expedition.
We don't know either, but it's located at a place called "World's End", at the coast of Norway. We investigated and deduce: It must be some kind of primitive lighthouse-telegraph, bouncing a fire in the cage up and down for passing ships? Twitter for vikings I guess.    
I got a Valentine's card! And a tiny red chocolate heart! My first, ever! SOMEONE LOVES ME!! HAHAHA WHO LOVES ME??? The hotel. "Thanks for being our guest this week. We love you SO much." Sigh. But sweet, in a capitalistic way. We're all just trying to get by. I wrote them back. And confessed I had been stealing chocolate from the breakfast restaurant. So they could keep the chocolate heart of processed sugars. 
Best part of the show - afterward, when the kids want to investigate the setup, pressing all buttons, testing all tricks, going bananas making noise and beats. "IT'S REAL IT'S WORKING THEY'RE NOT FAKING IT!" 
My life for yet another week, no carpet. 

The hours. 

Tumblr updates
Posted March 16th 2012, at 22:03 with tags ,

Bunch of updates to my Tumblr.

Or rather, my Tumblr is the only thing continuously updated, I post regular Instagram photos there. But I rarely mention those updates here.

Force fields and VHS: Report from Transmediale
Posted February 25th 2012, at 19:05 with tags , , , , , ,

CTM/ Transmediale is a festival/program for adventurous music and related arts, in Berlin, Germany. This year the theme was Spectral, exploring the current re-emergence of all things ghostly, mysterious and dark in experimental music, avant-pop, and art.  

I was in Berlin at the time. The pretext demanded investigation. Wasn't able to attend all exhibitions, concerts or performances, but here's what I found most interesting. 
Between You And Me, Kunstraum Kreuzberg
Kind of impossible to photograph this one... much better photos and video at artist Anke Eckardt website.
It was a completely darkened and black room, maybe 10 x 15 meters. Cutting the room in half, there was a wall of light, maybe 50 cm wide. Transparent, as in, you could see the line of the edges, the space in-between them, and darkened contours of whatever was beyond. You could put your hand into it, through it, and you could walk through it. 
Sounds a bit unimpressive in text I guess… but it was magical, really "whaaaat….?". It looked like a force-field, something electric and pulsing and real, physical, yet you could move through it. Best part, when moving through it, there were hyper-directional sound INSIDE the wall, a constant, ever-lasting soundscape of breaking and crashing glass. You could stand, move around inside the wall, and be washed with light and sound. 
This work was exceptionally well executed: It was craftily built, it was theoretically interesting, and personally highly inspirational. My previous experiment with projecting on smoke (the darn pixel-rays) didn't exactly go as planned, cough cough. I was happy to see someone pull this off so well. You just need complete control of the room and it's light. 
Ghosts Of The Shelf
A bit easier to photograph this one. At another area of the massive Kunstraum Kreuzberg, there were Ghosts Of The Shelf exhibition, about the slow disappearance of analogue video formats like VHS, Beta, Video 8.
What I liked about it, was that they put the focus not on the technical nostalgia, but on the aesthetic of the media, like how one could focus on the grains of film in analog film or the artifacts of mp3 compression. Raise hand if you ever cursed the useless tracking controller of a VHS device. This exhibition investigated the "feel" and "look" of the analog video era and many of the artists who actively used (or abused) the particular aesthetics of this platform. 
I think this is interesting. Are we able to recognize the inherit aesthetics of the media we are using right now? What will future generations reminiscence about our age, our technologies? 
In particular, I really loved the Video Reclames by Joep Van LIefland. An incredible, ever-lasting montage of animated VHS logos of the 80s. Nice idea for a music video, cough cough. Or for live show visuals. Coughing again, with a whiff of embarassement.
Honorary mention
Dead Record Office. Another completely blackened room at Spectral / Kreuzberg Kunstraum. Again impossible to photograph so it's a photo of the whole Kunstraum building from outside. (Two kids skateboarding the grafitti trench, was afraid they'd beat me up so I took the photo sniper-style from behind a tree.)
There was a huge sub-woofer inside, pulsing and pouring out sinister pulses and tones, like being in the belly of a techno monster. And then… when firing up the flashlight on my mobile to see what was going on: The floor is covered in vinyl LP's!
And they reflect the light of the mobile flashlight in incredible patterns around the walls and ceiling. The walls are covered in… monochrome reproductions (or something weirder) of LP covers? Arranged in huge matrixes. And there are vintage speakers in the roof, blurring out a granular collage of speakerphone voices, alerts, announcements, hard to make out. Completely surrealistic, certainly scary, absolutely awesome. 
Conclusion: Absolutely interesting and inspirational. Success. 

Album Status Report, February 2012
Posted February 21st 2012, at 20:26 with tags , , , ,

Been awfully quiet here, I've been concentrating on writing for some months now. A brief note on Ugress album status.

I had deadline February 1st for delivering material for the next full-length Ugress album, if it was to be released this spring. Deadline was met, proud of that. I then went off on a school tour expedition (report follows).

We've spent the last few weeks revising the album material. There is more than enough quantity-wise. But it doesn't have the... "coherence"? I want. It's not bad, there is a lot of interesting stuff, it's just that it's not exactly what I want for THIS full-length Ugress release. It's kind of wild.

So that means no real date yet, looks more like summer or early fall for a full album. I know. I'm grr too. But!

There's a lot of material, and my schedule over the next 12 months looks good. Stuff will happen, and soon. There are plans, and ammunition. Some side-projects are dangerously close to full length releases, though Ugress and Planet U is my first priority. There's a crazy awesome art project that will take most of summer and an exciting film in September, will report and present as they approach.

I'm not panicked about the delay (yet). It feels neat to have a serious catalogue of upcoming, unreleased stuff. For some years now I've always been "behind", always had to create faster than realtime, for better and worse. Now I finally feel a little bit "ahead". 

If this buffer of surplus creation makes for better music I have no idea. It certainly does not make for better economy. Being a one-man-dictatorship means the economy division takes a hit when the artist division runs off into the forest to watch the moon, declare poems and build monstrous Franken-instruments.

I took notes. Reports follows.

Most Memorable: Top 3 Museums Of 2011
Posted January 18th 2012, at 22:22 with tags , , , ,

Ah splendid, last top list of 2011, but most important: Museums. Hard to pick winners, as a museum per definition is a "win". But nevertheless, when it comes to such important matters one must put emotions aside and make a selection, no matter the cost.  

Haus Der Musik, Wien
Modern electronics mashes with classical historics and skillful exhibition design at Haus Der Musik. They manage both to narrate the past and intrigue about the future. So many weird and awesome things and rooms and sounds and exhibitions to try, touch, listen, learn, figure out  - or just simply conclude "WTF" - which is in my opinion a fully qualified conclusion for anything.
Cloud Cities at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin
Huge plastic bubbles representing floating cities in a recycled train station, a huge hall filled with a web of tubes and plants and mechanical devices, water pipes, threads, wires, you can climb inside them! Cloud Cities was delightful. Doesn't hurt that Hamburger Bahnhof also have the eternally dark and coldly awesome Room With My Soul Left Out, Room That Does Not Care in their permanent exhibition and I go there every time I'm in Berlin and LOVE IT.
Teknisk Museum / Technical Museum, Oslo
This Technical Museum is like heaven, made NOT by a god but by gentle geeks. There is something profoundly honest and charming about engineers designing exhitions about engineering. Chaotic, but an informative, enthusiastic mess. And of course what is cuter than an exhibition about mobile technology being outdated during it's exhibit?
Honorable mentions
Supposedly, there is a Japanese Garden in the Marzahn Park in Berlin. I went there. I didn't find it. Seriously! I walked around the whole park and did. not. see. any. japanese. garden. I left, sad, and confused, but later I realized, of course. It's a NINJA garden! You can not see it, unless it wants to be seen. A park hiding in a park! HOW CLEVER! 

Luftslott EP Now Available In All Services
Posted January 18th 2012, at 19:51 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Ugress - Luftslott EP is now accessible everywhere.

Pick your poison: Spotify, Wimp, YoutubeiTunes, Amazon, Last.FM, Soundcloud, Bandcamp.

And of course it's still here on, where it appeared first a month ago.

Most Memorable: Top 5 Software Of 2011
Posted January 8th 2012, at 19:30 with tags , , ,

Almost finished with my top lists of 2011, the final geek list (or maybe not), here is the software that made me happy in 2011:

Liine - Lemur

Lemur. Best, most clever and most flexible touch-based iOS musical controller software. I'm very happy to see it on iOS. Wrote a separate post on that.
Native Instruments - Kontakt 5 
NI Kontakt 5. I'm at heart a sample-based artist. When there is an update to the only best sampler in the world, I pay attention. I was underwhelmed by Kontakt 4, but version 5 released this year, was the bee's knees (*). There are some intriguing retro sound enginges, and waow, the new filters, Miss Yumminess would approve of their yumminess. Respectable update. 
Evernote. I mention this app every year I think, but every year it grows more important and fundamental to everything I do. I keep everything in Evernote, synced across all devices. If it is not music, video or photo, it's in Evernote. 
Renoise 2.8
Grew up with trackers and I like to work that way. The latest version 2.8, currently in beta, it's very fresh, but the new group feature, together with the pattern matrix earlier this year, it makes tracking of more complex arrangements way more elegant and practical. I've always used Renoise for sketching, but now I observe myself using Renoise further and further into the a project. Usually I move the material into Logic as I need more arranging functions and long-term sequential approach to the material, but the border is in motion.


I'm where I am at the moment and that could be any-where, any-device. Dropbox syncs all my content between all my devices, makes sure my content keeps up, and more importantly - backed up, in the cloud. Thanks to Dropbox I'm not so worried about a laptop dying or disappearing. Whatever was on it is in the clouds and multiple other devices, and if the laptop was stolen I can wipe it remotely.

(* = I don't really know what the bee's knees means, but I've seen it used in settings like that so I'm firing it off there.)

Most Memorable: Top 3 Gadgets Of 2011
Posted January 7th 2012, at 19:25 with tags , , , ,

Battling the backlog of 2011 memorability. It's geek time, my top 3 gadgets of 2011:

Teenage Engineering OP-1. It's a self-contained music production system from Sweden with certain very Nordic opinions of how things should be ran and how it should sound. Just got it, a christmas present from the Doctor, bless him. After spending some time with the device: Intensely in love with some parts of it and intensely … in disagreement, on other parts. Report and review will follow after some more laboratory and field observations.
Kindle 4. I move around a lot these times. Read a lot of books. Can't lug lots of books around. Punished by muscles, airlines, porters and baggage-space. And I forget them. And some places I go doesn't have bookstores. (I know! Cursed be the barbaric outskirts of civilization.) Already wrote a review
JH Audio - JH16 Pro - In-ears. The smallest item in my possession but probably the most valuable. These are custom molded super insane high fidelity in-ears velvet laser sound monitors. There are three microscopical speakers made of magic inside each, built by tiny shrunken but happy humans inside tiny shrunken but happy factories. The pair fit only my ears and they are full of stars and they remove the outside world completely when plugged in. I can mix and edit and produce crystal clear, super loud, bass-heavy sound aboard space rockets, while snorkel-diving the Mariana Trench, or in the thickest noisiest jungle nightlife, completely oblivious to the sabre-tooth tiger watching fascinated at the weird human tapping his bony paws happily away at something that glows in the dark. This human is crazy! Let's not eat it and get geek-rabies.