Most Memorable Films Of 2013
Posted December 30th 2013, at 19:35 with tags , , ,

Top 5 most memorable films I saw in 2013. 

Upstream Color (2013)

Shane Carruth

A mysterious, magic orchid of cinema.

The Wall (2012)

Julian Pölsler

I can't get this one out of my head. 


Holy Motors (2012)

Leos Carax

Wonderful, and to me completely rational.

Dreams (1990)

Akira Kurosawa

Monster dandelions.

Computer Chess (2013)

Andrew Bujalski

Absurdly, intriguingly strange retro.


Most Memorable Music Of 2013
Posted December 30th 2013, at 19:18 with tags , , , ,

A lot of great music in 2013! I made a Spotify playlist with top 25 tracks, which sorts of represents my listening this year. For some tracks it's just the single, for others the single represents a great album.  

As always with my memorable lists I'm not particularly tuned into the "right now" for taste, the music I like to listen to is either contemporary, a few years old, or squeaky creaky old and dusty. This year actually I listened to a lot of new music, once a month or so I make an effort to catch up and pay attention amd fill up my current playlists. I find much interesting, but also notice that very little stick with me. 

I am also listening a lot to film, classic and contemporary music for study and research. This is not reflected on the list, it's more like a "pop" music list.

Full playlist Spotify link. Single track overview:

Bot'Ox – Theme From Mineurs 27
Moderat – Versions
SOHN – Lessons
Agnes Obel – Chord Left
Emika – Young Minds
Kavinsky – Roadgame
The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy – Television The Drug Of The Nation
Daft Punk – Get Lucky
Nephew – Sov for Satan Mand
Limahl – Never Ending Story - 12" Mix
Coven – White Witch of Rose Hall
Curtis Fuller – Five Spot After Dark
Brandt Brauer Frick – Ocean Drive (Schamane)
D.A.F. – Der Räuber Und Der Prinz - 1998 Digital Remaster
Björk – Army Of Me
Max Richter – Sarajevo
Asaf Avidan – Setting Scalpels Free
Hauschka – Radar
Nine Inch Nails – Copy Of A
David Lynch – Good Day Today
Grimes – Genesis
M83 – Waking Up
Schnauzer Radio Orchestra – Into The Cave
Lazerhawk – Visitors
Gavin Bryars – Gavin Bryars: Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet - 1. Tramp with Orchestra (string quartet)

Most Memorable Books Of 2013
Posted December 30th 2013, at 18:41 with tags , , ,

The top 8 books I loved extra double plus much this year.

The Circle by Dave Eggers.

Please like retweet in the comments tagged you in a online just now.

Stoner by John Williams.

The unobserved greatness of quiet beings. 

Night Film by Marissha Pessl.

Could not put it down. Best summer ever, biking, exploring, filming abandoned ruins througout Berlin during daytime, reading Nightfilm at night. Nightmares for weeks. Lovely lovely. 

Adverbs by Daniel Handler.

Subtly touching in it's stream of conscious cleverness.

Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff.

When everything happens now.

Don't blink, we're gone.

The theoretical companion to The Circle (Eggers, above). Both of these books, together with Big Data (Cukier, Mayer-Schonberger) and Alone Together (Turkle) are fundamental to my current fascinations and integral to upcoming work in 2014 and 2015.

How Music Works by David Byrne

Great observations. I pay attention to Mr Byrne.

Dette Burde Skrives I Nutid by Helle Helle

Simple, clear Nordic complexity. 

I can't find a link to this in English version, and maybe that wouldn't work. The language is so utterly deliciously Scandinavian it has to be read like that.

 Mr Penumbras 24 Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan.

 The Goonies for grown up geeks.


Honorable mentions must be mentioned! The Ace Of Skulls by Chris Wooding, Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky, The Ocean At The End Of The Line by Neil Gaiman, Revenge by Yoko Ogawa. 



Hidden Marseille - A Ghost Soap Opera
Posted November 18th 2013, at 23:37 with tags , ,

Trailer for Hidden Marseille, a ghost soap opera with trams, jellyfish, bunkers, bikes. 

The everyday sounds of Marseille is turned into a dramatic story of romantic intrigues and surprising family revelations. Who is responsible for the river of soap pouring out of Notre Dame church? 

Created and performed by Montaine Chevalier and Gisle Martens Meyer, as part of the TryAngle final showing, the weekend of 21-22 November at Theatre Des Bernardines. TryAngle is a performing arts collaboration project, gathering European artists from different fields to experiment and produce new works.

  • Hidden Marseille: A Ghost Soap Opera
  • TryAngle Final Showing (includes "Try Romance" and "For Pleasure")
  • Theatre Des Bernardines, Marseille, France (map)
  • Nov 21 at 20:00, Nov 22 at 19:00
  • Entrance 12E, members 6E

(Previously: Production report and a beta test.)

Portal - Open showing, Barcelona, Nov 8th
Posted November 7th 2013, at 09:17 with tags , , , ,

Portal is a contemporary dance performance, by Nuria and GMM, premiering at Oktoberdans, Bergen autumn 2014. We already started development, Nov 8th we have a showing of our work-in-progress at Graner, Barcelona. 

In science fiction a portal is a gateway to another world of the past, present, future, or to an expanded awareness, on the internet a gateway to content. Media images, the internet, computer games, and virtual worlds are taking people out of the real world more often and for longer periods of time than ever before. As a result, their connection with the real world becomes blurred with the unreal as well as the connection between body, mind and space. In the performance will play with the idea of traveling through portals to reflect the impact mass media has on our identity as well as the influence it has on our perception of reality. 
I previously worked with Nuria on La Muda for Carte Blanche, last winter. We started developing Portal at Espaco Do Tempo in Montemor-O-Novo, Portugal this summer, and continued our work now at Graner in Barcelona, Spain.
For each period we do a open, public showing of what we develop, a sort of beta-test of each segment. It's an informal affair; free entrance, we explain a little what we're working on, what is eventually missing, perform the parts, and there's an aftertalk with feedback and questions. 
  • Portal, by Nuria and GMM
  • Work-in-progress, public showing
  • Fri Nov 8th, at 17:30   
  • Graner, Barcelona, Spain
  • C/Jane Addams 14-16, 08038 Barcelona, map
  • Runtime maybe 30-45 min in total 
  • Free entrance  

Nebular Spool - Stromlos - Out Now
Posted October 31st 2013, at 12:00 with tags ,

The dead comes down with the rain. Post-apocalyptic, dystopian, a broken violin. The fourth release from this dark, ambient side-project from Ugress. 

Download in HD from Bandcamp, or listen in Spotify, Wimp, iTunes, Amazon.

Production notes, location photos.

Location Photos for Nebular Spool - Strømløs
Posted October 31st 2013, at 11:00 with tags , ,

This Flickr set has 37 location photos for the Nebular Spool Strømløs album.

Production Notes for Nebular Spool - Strømløs
Posted October 31st 2013, at 10:00 with tags , , ,

Strømløs is the fourth full album from lo-fi, lo-key dystopian project Nebular Spool. It's music from a lonely individual in a post-apocalyptic future. Trying to figure out what happened, and how to get sound from a broken violin.


Hotel rooms, bedrooms, guestrooms, kitchens, trains.

Berlin, Lisboa, Bergen, Marseille, Amsterdam, Paris. 


Some tracks written spring 2013, most done during travels through Europe in summer of 2013. Lonely nights in hotel rooms in foreign cities. Lonely days in empty houses in forgotten areas.

Exploring abandoned areas, houses, places. Album then wrapped in Berlin, late summer early autumn 2013.


Violin, contact mic, SM58, laptop, Kontakt 5, Live 9, Logic X.  


Building virtual instruments, soundscapes, drones, strings from violin samples, then improvising with these virtual sources. Recording violin through pitch- and formant-shifters, then run through virtual guitar amps. Voice processing through similiar setup. Some vocals from online translation engines and web text-to-speech functions. 

Non-violin sound sources are location sounds, both common everyday and strange, recorded off streets, in rooms, on trams, abandoned train stations, in museums, from on-site devices. Also using samples from digital archives of old media (vinyl, broadcast). 


Track titles are constructed Norwegian portmanteaus. Texts are in english, norwegian, german, japanese, and either performed, or programmed through online translation services. 

Location photos, videos

There are 37 location photos in this Flickr set. There is a video for Ættskjær at Vimeo, filmed at some of these locations. The rest is used in live performances.

Hidden Marseille: Open Showing, Oct 11
Posted October 8th 2013, at 22:09 with tags , , , ,

With French choreographer Montaine Chevalier I am currently developing Hidden Marseille. Friday October 11th there is a free public showing of the work in progress at Studio Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Hidden Marseille is a performance based on sounds of Marseille, European City Of Culture, recorded through 2013. Not the impressive expensive cultural sounds, but the forgotten, ignored everyday sounds. From these sounds I build musical instruments, then compose and perform the music. The music is built together with a performance, to be premiered at Theatre Bernardines, Marseille, November 22nd, as part of TryAngle

Marseille is European city of culture in 2013. Marseille is famous for soap. I expedition bravely all of Marseille with a soap and a microphone making the sounds. So of course we make a soap opera.

There are multiple episodes, revealing the shocking intrigues of the sounds and their exciting lives. There are crabs and special soap foam effects and a ghost and modernist architecture and a fishing boat and lovers that maybe are not or was in a coma but woke up.  

This Friday October 11th we do an open showing of our current work, a sort of beta-test, at Carte Blanche / Studio Bergen. We worked here now for two weeks developing music and performance. It's free entrance, informal execution, in the rehearsal space. It's for us to test our ideas in front of real people, and for anyone interested, to know more about our work process. 

We explain our mission, ideas, concepts, and then run a prototype of the performance in its current state. Afterwards there is open discussion, maybe we have questions, maybe others have, but nobody has to say anything clever, or at all. Uncomfortable silence is also a kind of feedback.

We don't think it's going to be more than an hour in total.

  • Hidden Marseille, Work-In-Progress
  • Open Showing
  • Carte Blanche, Studio Bergen, Nøstegaten 119
  • Friday October 11th, 20:00
  • Free entrance, no serving
  • Facebook event

The project is funded by the European Comission, Bergen Kommune, TONO, Komponistenes Vederlagsfond. Production by TryAngle, co-produced by Theatre Bernardines, Carte Blanche, Pandora 117, Uncanny Planet. 

Live Cinema: Jeanne D Arc - Sept 26, 27
Posted September 24th 2013, at 15:30 with tags , ,


I perform my live score to Dreyer's Passion Of Joan Of Arc this weekend. 

I love working with live film scores; they are living beings, growing and changing. The original score from 2003 was upgraded earlier this year to an anniversary 2013 version. I now upgrade it further to include live violin and electronics. Here is a two minute teaser video for the anniversary version, with glimpses of cues.


Nebular Spool - Ættskjær video
Posted September 19th 2013, at 15:13 with tags , ,

Ættskjær is the first track from the upcoming Strømløs album by my post-apocalyptic side-project Nebular Spool.

Strømløs is released October 31st.

Report: Rose Wars - video, music, notes
Posted August 5th 2013, at 11:56 with tags , , , , , , ,


May 2013 I performed Rose Wars as part of Masterpiece Revisited for Festspillene i Bergen. A report. There is full video. Photos. Music. Instrumental version.
Live recording
Production Notes
The performance uses the song "Zur Rosenzeit" by Edvard Grieg as a base for telling the musical story of four rivals fighting each other; Edvard Grieg, Igor Stravinsky, Astor Piazolla, Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe. They all want romance. They are connected by a rose. They will fight to the death.  
The song by Grieg is is based on the poem "Wehmut" by Goethe. The poem is horribly yucky romantic. The Grieg song is great. It is written for piano and voice. Which is boring. I took multiple recordings of the Spring Rite by Stravinsky and with digital tools remodeled them into a upgraded version of the Grieg song. This was a lot of work and impossible to explain in text. It sounds like this, here is the whole musical backdrop.
Then, I built expressive fighting-instruments for each character, to be performed by separate Nintendo Wii controllers, so I could play characters against each other, multiple at the same time.
Edvard Grieg - very few people know this - was a Jedi. His part was performed with a melodic light-saber. A Wii controller worked as a sonic version of a light-saber, with a setup for multiple sounds and directions manipulating these sounds. I trigger notes and handle dynamics, expressions, timing. The computer handles pitch. I had to re-write parts of the melody to work with the light-saber, it doesn't like moving to far from the root note.  
Turns out, Igor Stravinsky also had a secret. He was a Frozen Lava Jade Sword master. His Wii controller works similarly to Grieg's, just with kung-fu sword sounds and cutting-wind effects. It was a bit of work to get a sword sound into functional musical pitches, but a stretched swoosh worked pretty well and contrasted the dark electric sound of Grieg's lightsaber nicely.
Astor Piazolla was a great tango composer and also a performer of the bandoneon. I went through all of Piazolla's recordings and extracted every single monophonic bandoneon tone of his. With these, I reconstructed a playable Wii bandoneon, where every triggered tone within the various expressions like staccato legato etc are randomly picked from all of Piazolla's catalogue. A Franken-zolla. The Wii instrument could be played similarly to Grieg's and Stravinsky's, with me triggering notes, expressions and effects, with the computer handling pitches.  
For Goethe, and his romantic rose-neurotics, I used multiple handheld rose petal cannons, like they have in weddings.
The four character then musically battled each other. Grieg knocks out Stravinsky with his saber in round one. Goethe shoots Piazolla in round two. Winners pick up their opponents weapons, so in the finale it's Grieg with light-saber and jade-sword versus Goethe with a rose cannon and Wii-bandoneon. FIGHT.
There is a full video of the performance including a ten minute introduction (in Norwegian) where I talk about the production and development with Erik Fossen, with sound examples and musical demonstrations. Then the full performance. Gets a bit dark during the intense final battle scenes.
The Spring Rite becomes a Zur Rosenzeit backdrop to nuke Wehmut from orbit in which the four characters Grieg, Stravinsky, Piazolla and Goethe battle it out Mortal Kombat / International Karate style. I performed all characters and played their weapons with Nintendo Wiis. At the end everybody dies and only a rose survives.
Expedition success.



Ugress - Another Planet EP - out now
Posted July 1st 2013, at 12:22 with tags , , ,

Another Planet - the sixth and final episode of the Planet U saga. 

  • Another Planet
  • Lillies Off The Trolley
  • Windup Weevils
  • Talking Distance

Streaming directly above from Soundcloud, buy download at my Bandcamp store.

Spotify, Wimp, iTunes, Amazon.

Thomas T. Dahl and Kristian Svalestad Olstad contribues on guitar on Another Planet.

There are production notes.

Report: Another Planet - Production Notes
Posted July 1st 2013, at 12:21 with tags , , ,
Another Planet EP is the sixth and final release in the Planet U saga. Some production notes, release observations and future thoughts. 
The EP is relatively short. Four tracks of efficient size. I had more candidates, and for some time considered a six-track EP, but choose to save the remaining tracks for a later album release. These four felt like a proper package. A few intelligent words on each track:

Another Planet

This was the first track I worked on for Planet U project and in my head it is the theme song. The first draft was pretty bad but it had a great beat. Some months later I built the melody. At that point I relaxed and decided upon executing the Planet U project, with this as the final track. I approve myself for three years eternal patience.
Here is the horrible first draft, and the second version with current harmonic structure, from late 2010. 
Vocals have changed back and forth over the years. At some point there was a version which used a lot of vocal samples, having various characters of 50ies sci-fi talking to each other about the excellence of far off planets. I scrapped this partly because of clearing issues and partly because it wasn't coherent enough.
I also had some versions with only me on processed vocals but ended up with a combination of programmed robots and processed live vocals. I know the childlike sound is not to everyone's liking but I don't see Barry White working so well thematically on this one. 
Tempo challenges. Current version is 118 BPM, which seems to be the optimal tempo for the material, spaghetti knows I tried a bazillion options. Sometimes i theoretically wished it moved a bit slower, because of details, but that doesn't feel right when I try it. Maybe it's supposed to rush. 
Length challenges. This release version is very short, it's just Intro-A-B-A. Don't dare to bore us, head for the chorus. All previous versions and the live version had a C part to make it sort of Intro-A-B-A-C-A-A-ish. Upon release I didn't find the C part strong enough for a "single" version in this context and too many A's. In my head this is the theme song for Planet U, and those should be short and quick tasters, not matinees. For album release, I would want it longer.
I recorded some of the guitars with Kristian Svalestad Olstad, and some with Thomas T. Dahl, and some are samples and some are virtual. Most of them are cut up and layered and cloned and processed. Most of the guitars from Thomas actually come from other recordings.
As always there's a bunch of references, nods, cameos, tricks and gimmicks nobody ever hears or cares about. I tend to spend ages on silly details that completely disappears. Like this idea of using oldskool console arpeggios on vocals, kind of like Autotune on hyper-speed. For Another Planet I used it on the final U of "Planet Uuuuuu….", to spin it off fairytale wise. 
It works musically in context - but I think it's impossible for a listener to realize it's all the multiple meanings of the U that is being spun off into escapist unreality. It just sounds like a well placed arpeggio. Only when played alone it's possible to hear the details of what's going on. Like all of us.
Lillies Off The Trolley
This was originally a vocal track with more electronic sound, I had some superbly surreal vocals in there based on classic dystopian novel We by Yevgeni Zamyatin. But I was never satisfied with neither text nor programming so I scrapped it, and some months later stumbled on the cello sample which I Melodyned to fit and then turned the track grittier, darker and more orchestral. Only in the title remains a nod to We. 
Windup Weevils
Wasn't sure to put this in Nebular or Ugress but here it is. Originally it was much less defined and ethereal, longer and just drifting and ticking along, but pulling it into Ugress I decided on a more traditional song structure and spaced the elements more efficiently.
The track is using a lot of tiny loops being modulated, a method I frequently use to make tiny samples sound alive. Sounds great when layering multiples on top of each others, like a shivering landscape of broken clocks. It worked particularly well for a bunch of glockenspiel phrases, which gave this track it's theme and title. 
Talking Distance
I could write a million tracks like these and I have. I'm mostly satisfied with the title. We're always just outside, beeping maniacs.
On the EP release
The EP was ready for release a million years ago. I don't like to release it in the middle of summer, feels like a book at a video rental. But here it is. 
Releasing material takes some administrative effort and right now is the only window for me to get it out. I have a lot of material - the full album, two soundtracks, two side projects - very close to release but don't have the time. There's like a week of administrative virtual paper shuffling to get things out and moving and I can't afford weeks of that.
I'm guessing this is typical growing pains for small companies or artist individuals; I could release more stuff and grow a lot faster if I had someone helping me release and market it. But I'm not generating enough to make that economically viable. I'm making enough to keep me running and to grow slowly, but not to grow faster even if there is potential for that. I'm not panicking, maybe it's for the best. Stuff works. It's nice to know I have treasures on disk. Even though some days I'm frustrated not being able to realize the potential I see waiting.
Thoughts on Planet U
This is the final release of the Planet U project. That was six EP releases spread over three years, on average one every six months, I notice with surprise. I constantly felt like I wasn't releasing enough. I've kept an eye on data all the way; regardless of artistic merit the releases certainly worked strategically; they generate plays on themselves but also on my catalogue. They kind of keep me alive, and they've been great for me to try out both artistic ideas and distribution theories.
What's next
There should be a Planet U album not too far off, with updated versions of the strongest tracks from the EPs and exclusive tracks. I will wait a few months to let the final EP gather some plays and generate data to see how everything behaves. I have a comfortable bunch of soundtracks and unreleased project material waiting to come alive, and I dearly would love to push out a almost finished Nebular album if time allows. 
For the immediate next months there's going to be a bit of traveling. There's a theater project at the end of 2013 which will take most of the fall, then I'm working on two major composer commissions to be performed in 2014 and 2015, and there's a bunch of silent cinema concerts and kids tours throughout this fall. I've tried to schedule things to make room for releases in-between.
I prefer to not announce something until it's either actually released or performance date confirmed. Stuff happens suddenly.  

Report: Marseille Sampling Expedition
Posted June 8th 2013, at 20:46 with tags , , , ,

Report from a week in Marseille in May. I'm doing a project with choreographer, scenographer and performer Montaine Chevalier, for TryAngle / Theatre Bernardines. Working title is "Hidden Marseille", it will be performed in Marseille in November. A brief summary: What is the secret music hidden in the everyday noises of a city, during it's year as a European capital of culture?

At the moment we're not sure exactly what and how to present in November, but we started working and we have a great top secret idea for performing.
We work by first recording / sampling a billion ton of everyday and peculiar Marseille sounds, then I use digital tools to edit them and look for tones, harmonies, patterns, rhythms, melodies hidden inside these raw sounds. From these I build playable, dynamic instruments based on the sounds, and then using found melodies and harmonies I build music, and then we create a performance with this. And then we perform it somehow. I've done this with a couple of projects now and continuously develop the methods and improve techniques. I think.
So it's kind of Marseille being the orchestra of itself.  Current status is we finished this week of sonically exploring Marseille, recording sounds and videos, and also started work on performance concepts. 
A bunch of photos of the expedition with superb intellectual observations.
Marseille is famous for soap. I sampled the largest.
The theatre. It's an old performance space (church), turned into new performance space (art).
I sampled the texture of the crunchy ice underneath. People stared. Montaine pretended to check messages.
Marseille has pretty neat street art. Didn't sample that the dragon was very quiet and serious. 
Marseille is a really great but really noisy and busy city. To grab some street micro-sounds and specific shots, I got up ungodly early and recorded empty, ethereal streets.  
Which is why I was ethreally tired and ethereally ready for coffee when the cafes opened around 6.
The Alcazar library has jellyfish lamps!
We have several potential performance spaces. This was an old industrial hall turned into mega theatre, there's also a black box studio and the converted church.
Parking a car in France means writing a novel of a parking application on the meter and inserting cards and punching codes and receive a ticket shaped like rocket and scan it and place it and it only takes half an hour. I wonder from which culture could the word  "bureaucracy" originate?
One night we attened a techno-art festival on top of a massive building there was a skate-ramp with sensors triggering a soundcape of phrases and loops so the music followed the movement and tricks of skaters, it actually worked really well, was pretty neat. And somebody was live-coding on a cube of inward facing projections you could enter like a room of huge live-coding screens. There was also band performances and free alcohol but I didn't realize until too late I was sampling ecological wooden porta-sewers. 
Marseille is almost like Berlin in construction for big events as in "hang on, just almost finished! just a few minutes more! we're almost there! oops forgot that part. some gaffer tape here... lets see... hum di dum...". So Marseille is European City Of Culture but it's not quite finished, most places are kind of built, they are THERE, but there is still plastic on the screens and missing pieces and always construction work in some corner.
This is completely acceptable because I work the same, the finishing touches are done - or made up - during performance.
So I started recording lots of these construction sounds and settings, and like there above I started plucking the plastic strings, it sounds partly sproingy and partly rubbery and partly weird in a good way. As I was recording and filming my dear new-found Constructophone, a team of construction workers suddenly appeared from a nearby bar, nervously demanding to know what was going on here. I think they were afraid I was some kind of undercover controller from the EU documenting they hadn't finished the city in time. On my side I was afraid I was doing something illegal like playing the plastic strings of a murder scene or something.
I don't speak France they didn't speak Sense but with gestures and examples they figured I was "aahh.. La compositeur! Ha ha, tres tres bien, voila, bon, bon!!", phew, it's just a crazy artist thing. So they went back to the bar postponing constructing.
Expedition Operational Headquarter / Charging Station / Radio Room. 
Excursion to the calanques, proper mad fjords along the coast, still in Marseille metro. Tiny drama-inlets with quiet harbors, wonderful hiking, actually found a bunch of fantastic sounds there.
The sound of a glass of sponsored champagne and a stolen cake fork underneath a UFO on top of the Le Corbusier "Living Unit" habitat complex on top of Marseille on the opening of a Conceptual Living documentary exhibition. Let them eat cake! I have the fork.
Which planet again?

Rose Wars - Trailer
Posted May 26th 2013, at 19:25 with tags , , ,

Rose Wars - Trailer for the upcoming Masterpiece Revisited performance.

Research: Endless screens, surreal mapping
Posted May 1st 2013, at 22:22 with tags , , , ,

A video experiment, Neukolln Corridoors, researching endless screens ideas / techniques. Some rough transitions and keying just trying out different cameras/methods/setups/etc. Work for upcoming dance performance visuals. Using sketch track from Nebular Spool.

And another experiment, Surreal Berlin, researching subtle use of video masks and layers to create slightly surreal shift in reality. Using another sketch track from Nebular Spool.

Report: Aelita at Kosmorama and Aladdin
Posted April 24th 2013, at 17:40 with tags , , , , , ,

A report from Aelita performances at Kosmorama and Aladdin! Above, a two minute video montage of sound-checks, with one of the cues from the film. This is what it looks stumbling around during setup, rigging and balancing of sound, synchronizing image, tasting sushi.   

First we played the Kosmorama film festival in Trondheim. I stayed there for most of the festival. The first few days I enjoyed the festival itself while fresh-ing up Aelita on the hotel.
I love film festivals, the buzzy atmosphere of the multiplex, the expectant drift from film to film, the program matrix to be decoded. It's like visiting a new world every third hour, with a coffee in hand. I wasn't able to catch all the films I wanted to see, but really really liked Leviathan and A Fallible Girl.
Friday was Aelita. The crew arrived at different times, and the cinema was partly in use for the festival. The whole day disappeared in an organized mess of sound-checks and setup. It's been some months since everyone was gathered, it was nice to be together again. It's a very lovable dysfunctional family. 
The Trondheim performance was good. We had nice sound, nice energy and the dysfunctional family was on it's best behavior. I had made some changes since the 2012 performances, which helped both the film and the improvisation. For many cues I softened the transitions, after learning through previous performances that I need to be able to change timing and synchronization on the fly. So I built some parts to be more fluid and open. Also some scenes which originally had pretty stripped down orchestration, I layered more themes and / or  character instruments, other scenes I did the opposite, simplified. OK maybe rearranging deck chairs on Titanic and it doesn't change a lot in total, but it made for better overall flow which made for better improvisation.
I've come to really like this, like with Jeanne D Arc, working with live film music and improvisational musicians means I can improve the score all the time. Or make a worse mess, doesn't matter really, I think what I enjoy is that I can continue working, the score is alive, no two shows are the same, and as performers we adapt to each evening's score.
The weekend following Aelita performance was Nordic Film Composer Symposium and the Harpa Awards (best Nordic Film Music), also part of Kosmorama. I missed the first day due to Aelita sound-checks, but attended all Saturday and Sunday. There were interesting seminars, good people and great discussions. It's really neat having laughs and beers and talk film music, composition, compare everyday challenges and experiences. Like if snake charmers meet they talk about baskets and flutes and cobras and stuff.

Sunday evening was the award ceremony and Trondheim Symphony Orchestra performed lots of Norwegian film music, this was magic. Like if snake charmers went on holiday together on a charter flight and watched Snakes On A Plane on the plane with all the snakes playing around on the floor. Although the concert hall looked like it was inside a shopping mall. I think it actually was.

I also had 45 minutes free to be a geeky tourist and went to look at the local cathedral and discovered quite intriguing weathering and moss.  

Then I went back home for three days which felt like six minutes and then I got up at the dawn of mankind and went through one billion flights to Kristiansand and half-way there somebody in Copenhagen misplaced my equpiment bag with most of the controllers and cables and so I spent most of the day on the phone with SAS arrival crew and they were really helpful and I think I made them even more panicked than me and also I started arranging for replacement hacks but finally a few minutes before it was too late everything arrived and the SAS lady was cheering and I quickly put everything up and made ready and it worked and phew but if you can tell from this paragraph there was no pause all day and I was just organizing and operating logistics and managing and thats not a good space for my head when it needs to be super tuned to play and Mars in two hours so this affects me and it then affects the performance I guess at least for me so Kristiansand performance of Aelita ran like it should it had the same improvements as Trondheim I only messed up one cue but don't think many really noticed but still annoying the wrong theme for the wrong scene I fixed it daftly with some ugly crossfades which i'm sure was unnoticeable really but I was very stressed from the lost bag and all that administration being on phones and running around and just not being able to be ready when I should so I wasn't completely connected to the cinema or the sound or the film and never felt like I was really fully THERE and wasn't ZONE. Like if you're a snake charmer on charter holiday and they misplaced your flute on the flight and now your snake has gone off to the beach with the sunscreen and left it's mobile behind.
But we had a really great backstage at Aladdin, a whole cinema hall just for us. And after the show we went for micro brewery beers.
Another more fatal tragedy that happened on the way back home, confirming the cruelty of my hellish ordeal, I ran out of battery on my laptop on the flight. And what do I see, just outside my window? A perfectly fine AC outlet ON THE WING.
So there I sit, for an hour, with no battery, looking out the window, on an outlet. Why do they put it OUT THERE? I could almost touch it. If I had my snake charmer flute I could play my laptop charger cable out there. 
Kosmorama success, Aladdin also worked well, but in retrospect this correspondent could've been more present. Good experiences, have lots of notes for improvement both musically and practically.
Why do they put AC outlets on the wings of airplanes? 


Report: Ugress, Nebular at Bastant
Posted April 11th 2013, at 15:39 with tags , , , , , ,
Photo by Kenneth Rivenes.
Did lo-fi shows with lots of new materials and beautiful guests at Bastant soup-bar. A report!
Haven't done experimental shows for some time, I missed trying out new ideas and observing how material behaves on stage compared to studio (or inside my head). I have been and will be working much more with Catalonian choreographer and dancer Nuria Guiu Sagarra, she participated on text and vocals. Also my accomplice on strings Thomas T. Dahl joined on guitar and electronics. 
First we did a 30 minute Nebular Spool show, which worked surprisingly well. I stripped down a bunch of new Nebular Spool material to give room for all of us to improvise and build individual material live during the performance.  We asked the audience if they could be quiet, a first for me in this context. We're experimenting with whispering voices and softly spoken text. The music is dynamic, moving from almost silent soundscapes to speaker-busting beats. Loudness maximizers are the new Myspace.
We built conceptual, textual and sonic landscapes, scattered with segments of glitchy rhythms and stronger melodies. I really liked this, gliding between properly structured harmonic music with clearly defined beats, sequences, towards drifting landscapes, free parts, supporting and/or contrasting the text. And subtle, blurry visuals on the window behind us. Nuria is captivating, she has a fantastic peculiar voice, I loved working with both our voices, slowly and subtly, processing and sampling stuff in realtime, improvising not only with sounds but with words.
People were really quiet and concentrated, neat.
Photo by Kenneth Rivenes
After Nebular Spool, we had a short break, grabbing a micro-brewed beer or two, before Thomas and me happily conquered one of the most fun Ugress live shows we've done in years. It was not quiet anymore. We tried a bunch of new tracks, we relaxed surfing old hits, we skipped the too-hitsy hits, we messed up rare tracks, we broke a speaker, we battled solos, we spaced out, we sat on chairs with energy.
I was satisfied trying out some new Ugress material coming up for release soon. Works.
For both shows I experimented using two laptops, one regular providing live instruments, live processing, visuals, backing stems, the hub. The other, which is usually just a backup, was still a backup but now running a matrix of loops, sfx and preproduced material I could manipulate and bring in/out/up/down, for further processing on the main machine, or send to the OP-1 for sampling. That worked really well, especially for Nebular Spool.
Also integrated the Teenage Engineering OP-1 better, before I never felt I really used it, but for Nebular now I used it properly. Both for playing and manipulating the internal synthesis sounds in realtime. The sound of the unit itself suits Nebular Spool. Also used it to live-sample Nuria and myself and then play and process our voices directly on the unit or further on the main laptop. Needs a bit more experience to be smooth but concept works and fits my needs.
Had the bunch of usual suspects laptop controllers, and a pair of Wii remotes. I appreciate this setup because everything sort of fits in a backpack, easy to move around, flex and area efficient for small stages, and the Wiis make it possible to detach far from the laptops. I didn't at Bastant because we sat, but usually I move around a lot at times. Laptops prefer staying still. Wiimotes makes us both happy.
For visuals, we used projectors and cameras and painted the windows with sour milk. 
My megalomaniac idea was to project realtime GoPro cameras of us performing, onto the window behind us, in a sort of endless loop, as demonstrated above. The projector placed here (below) and projecting on the window in the background, where the "stage" and cameras would be.
And then a separate projector or two delivering synchronized visuals thrown on top, but we ran out of time and space. So there was just regular visuals, but still, they WERE on sour milk, expertly painted by Nuria.
I ran out of organization time setting up all the cameras/projectors, mostly because of streaming issues.
There was a huge pipe or some kind of kryptonite wall (red) by the intended position (x) for projector and cameras and streaming laptops, interfering the wi-fi. So cruel, the work of men, building houses. I tried hacking up a temp solution closer to the stage (left) and used mobile dial-up for streaming. According to the Ustream control panel that one was actually streaming, but I hear reports it did not.
Anyway for both shows I tried new visuals for a couple of tracks, and the projecting-on-sour-milk-window worked kind of nice; it gave a soft blur to the videos, and you could watch everything happening from the outside and inside. For Nebular the soft blur really worked well, and I used less "hectic" visuals than for Ugress.
New Things We Tried
  • Nuria Guiu Sagarra - works
  • Sat down while performing, worked in this context
  • Asking for silence, got it, worked
  • Live processing and sampling of vocals, promising
  • I did vocals, that could work, needs more polish/talent
  • Thomas played electronics, works 
Stuff That Didn't Work
  • Projecting live video onto itself, didn't even get there 
  • Streaming, don't think so
  • Documentation, didn't have time to setup cameras
Critical stuff worked, non-critical did not. As always, ran out of time. Musical success, graphics valuable experience, streaming appearant fail. This correspondent had a really great time. It was lo-fi, intimate, quiet, packed, loud, great.  
Everyone that showed up and created a magic atmosphere, and valuable feedback afterwards. Nuria and Thomas. B for projector, BEK for advice, cabling, sour milk tricks. Birk for GoPro hacks and HDMI tricks. Kenneth for photos. And finally, most important; Bastant for inviting us and providing space, sour milk, enthusiasm and eternal patience with megalomaniac ideas in a top wonderful soup bar.

Festspillene: Masterpiece Revisited
Posted April 11th 2013, at 15:02 with tags , , , , , , ,

May 31st I perform a commision for Festspillene i Bergen at Østre.

Working title is "Rose-offeret" / "The Rose Sacrifice". It's a live performance, a realtime cinematic interpretational mashup of Grieg's song Rosenlied, Stravinsky's symphony Rite Of Spring and using elements from a broad palette of Astor Piazolla's work.

These are all excisting works presented in the regular Festspillene programme of 2013, which is the idea behind the concept, to have new artists re-do classical masterpieces in a new language and setting. 


Live: Aelita - Queen Of Mars in April
Posted April 10th 2013, at 22:26 with tags , , , ,

The live score for silent classic Aelita - Queen Of Mars is performed the next weeks in Trondheim at Kosmorama festival and Cinemateket Kristiansand. 



  • Friday, April 26th, at 18:00
  • Cinemateket i Kristiansand
  • Featuring Nasra Ali Omar
  • Event info: They're not in the future! But pdf program here.

There is a trailer teaser of the lift-off scene, some blog production notes with music examples, and a 5 minute making-of documentary, on how the score is built and performed.

Expedition Report: A Talk At The Library
Posted April 10th 2013, at 22:10 with tags , , , ,

A report from a recent performance-talk at the public library of Bergen. Part of their "concert-talk" series, where artists and musicians perform their work, their instrument, showing their methods while talking about it. Photos by Trond Blom. 

Hello my name is GMM my instrument is a laptop and my work is music and sound in a variety of formats; artist releases, film scores, stage performances.
I choose to demonstrate and explain my work through a chronological narrative of my work; from the start with C64 and Amiga trackers in the 90ies through samplers and sequencers until the current micro-focused conceptual sample-based projects. I tried showing how my music - and the methods to create it - develop together with both ideas and technology. I used a combination of performing and narration / demonstration about performing/producing.
I do not always use technology exactly as intended. For better or worse, for me or the technology. I tried showing how I use software in unusual ways, using the contrast to explain how electronic music in general is produced, and how I differ (or not). 
I performed some tracks from my history, while showing simultaneously in realtime on projector what the performance looked like from my side, afterwards explaining what I'm doing (and how, why) and how the computer assists me (or not). I also showed a bare-bones typical way for me to produce a track, the technologies I use, how I tend to build instruments first and then arrange instruments into music as a second step, and how this all comes together step by step. I tried talking about why I make the choices I do, which is interesting, because I have no idea but it works. It's like an inverse perpetual motion machine, it actually works but there is no obvious explanation.
I also played music examples from my whole history, from the very first MODs I did in 1990 up until the very latest Ugress track still not released. This was to accompany the chronological narrative, examples of how I worked and produced at various stages of my career. Through the whole talk I continuously tried relating how technologies and situations influence me and my work. 
I enjoyed doing this talk. I discover new parts of my past and strange connections every time I present my work from "the inside out", instead of regular performances. I appreciate presenting my work while trying to explain it from a somewhat objective angle. 
But the best part... was the backstage. The talk happened after regular library opening hours. Except for the auditorium, the whole library was closed. And this was my backstage! All of it! For ME! I had a beer and walked around the whole library for myself, the quiet hum of a billion books waiting to be read. 
Expedition conclusion: Success. 


Livestream: Ugress, Nebular Spool
Posted April 4th 2013, at 09:04 with tags , , , ,

April 4th: Live stream of Ugress and Nebular Spool shows at Bastant.

You can watch large size higher quality directly at the Ugress Ustream TV channel.

  • 20:00 CET, stream should start 
  • 21:00 CET, Nebular Spool should start
  • 22:00 CET, Ugress should start

(Update Apr 7th: Removed embedded player.)

Journal Update - Half A Euro Year
Posted March 26th 2013, at 22:22 with tags , , , ,

Just finished a half year on the road through Europe. Left Berlin on September 18th 2012, arrived back March 18th 2013, coincidently exactly 6 months on the day. Made a lot, performed a lot, sampled a lot, saw a lot, here are 80 photos of intriguing stuff I stumbled upon. And here are 40 self-shots from the other angle.

In these 6 months I created exactly 244 minutes of new music, and I was on stage exactly 126 times. I actually know stuff like this. Then when shopping groceries I'm so completely lost in front of a cooler. It takes me just as long to score a scene as to select a cheese. Scene and cheese they're almost anagrams but the difference is c to n and that is see to infinity and I cannot win.

Lived in an Osprey, studio was a laptop and a pair of AKGs. Norway, Germany, Iceland, France, Portugal. Performances of Aelita and Jeanne D Arc silent movies, development and touring with Carte Blanche's La Muda. Armadas of Ugress shows, clubs and cinemas and kids. Worked on new TV stuff for NRK, coming next fall. Did a workshop for kids at Theater Bremen, black metal commissions in Reykjavik, Festspill commissions in Bergen. A new project coming up with special forces in Lisbon, a street sample symphony coming up for Marseille, and ultimately a techno horror musical sci-fi ballett coming up for all of Europe 2014.

Endless stages, streets, hotel rooms, metros, couches, flights, wi-fi's, trains, power outlets, coffees, back-stages. Humans, strangers, friends, allies, ghosts, shadows. A lot of transit, a lot of temp nests. I haven't really lived anywhere, existed somewhere between nowhere and anywhere. It's been great for inspiration (and keeping the rent down), but hard on concentration (and keeping the soul intact). 
Reluctantly I observe it's honestly been too hectic to document and report each project as it happened underway. I don't like that. As one project concluded, I was already late for the next one, leaving me in a eternal state of barely-catching-up. Somebody planned this? Me? Hence the only reporting the last few months being non-reporting through daily mindless Instagrams. A filter says more than a thousand Soundclouds? What.
Now two precious weeks disappearing while standing still in Berlin. I'm working on the next episode of the whimsical Ugress Planet U saga, and a very sudden Nebular Spool release. When lost in transit I tend to sketch on Nebular Spool material, there's quite a cache, Nebular is becoming my "development" project, working out prototypes of larger ideas and concepts. Shouldn't be too far off releases. Oh there's also an immediate Ugress / Nebular Spool double-bill soup-bar live performance and a library meta-laboratory presentation

Stuff happens suddenly.

GMM At The Library: Meta-Performance Talk
Posted March 26th 2013, at 20:29 with tags , , , , ,


(Illustration: Håvard Legreid.)

What I talk about when I perform about talking about performing.

Friday April 5th I do a live meta-performance at the Bergen library, Biblioteket i Bergen. Still working on it, not quite sure exactly what will be presented, but I will talk, tell, show and converse about electronic music, my work, my ideas and also perform what I talk about.

This is part of the library's concert-talk series, where they invite composers and performers with different expressions from different genres to show their work while having a conversation about it. 

  • Performance, talk, demonstration, conversation
  • Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek, Bergen, Norway (map)
  • Friday April 5th, 19:00-20:00
  • Free entrance
  • Library event

Ugress, Nebular Spool Live: Bastant Soup Bar
Posted March 26th 2013, at 19:35 with tags , , , , , , ,

April 4th there be live performances with Ugress and Nebular Spool at Bastant soup bar at Støletorget.

A combination of post-apocalyptic dystopian soup-tronica with Nebular Spool, and your friendly neighbourhood gangster cinema grooves with Ugress. Featuring special guest stars Nuria Guiu Sagarra (Catalunia) on text and vocals, and Thomas T. Dahl (Klosteret) on guitars and effects.

Guests can enjoy excellent soups, magic lemonades or micro-brewery beers while Jesus the goldfish take care of the dance-floor-bowl. 

Persons on other planets can watch the event live-streamed here on

Background: I miss the intimate shows I used to do at Kafe Edvard some years ago, to be able to try out new ideas and tracks and concepts in an informal atmosphere. Did some preliminary testing with sour milk on the windows and projectors and gopro cameras and screen-casting at Bastant earlier this winter. It sort of actually works. I'm currently wrapping up a lot of dystopian Nebular material and cartoony Ugress sci-fi gangster songs. Everything is perfectly strange through portals. 

  • Nebular Spool
  • Ugress
  • Nuria Guiu Sagarra
  • Thomas T. Dahl
  • Bastant Suppebar, Støletorget, Bergen (map)
  • Thursday April 4th, at sunset (20:30) and as it gets darker
  • Free entrance and age limit, I suppose
  • Facebook event
  • Streamed live at


Jeanne D Arc -Teaser Trailer
Posted March 15th 2013, at 17:37 with tags , , , ,

Two minute teaser trailer for Ugress Live Cinema performing the 2013 score for La Passion De Jeanne D Arc.

Live Cinema Score: Jeanne D Arc
Posted March 8th 2013, at 21:26 with tags , , , , , ,

10 years ago I wrote and performed music for silent cinema classic The Passion Of Joan Of Arc. It's about the trial of Jeanne D Arc, a fragile human being convicted and executed of heresy, for political and religious reasons. 

The film is a landmark in cinema history and consistently on top 10 lists of all films ever. It does not look like anything else of the time; intense realistic acting, slick minimalistic production, inventive camera maneuvers and superb editing cuts faster than most music videos. The original commision for music was by Cinemateket USF. They asked me to perform the score again now for the anniversary. 

So I'm 10 years older - or 10 years different - for better or worse. The film didn't change but it's a different film than 10 years ago. I've chosen to re-work the score, make a 2013 version. I'm keeping elements from the original but re-mixing, re-writing, re-doing it. Developing new instruments, parts, themes and concepts.
You can listen to the 2003 version, here is the 2013 performance:
  • La Passion De Jeanne D Arc (Dreyer, 1928)
  • Cinemateket USF, Bergen
  • Thursday March 14th, 21:00
  • Sunday March 17th, 19:00
  • Facebook event with more info 


Festspill Opening Performance Feb 20th
Posted February 20th 2013, at 09:37 with tags , ,


February 20th we do a short commisioned piece as part of the opening of the Festspillene i Bergen program.

The work, a sonic bombardment of indigenous samples, is partly connected to the program release, and partly connected to an upcoming commision and performance "Rose-Offeret", performed at Festspillene, May 30th.


Ugress Live: Ski-Fi Cinematricks, Hemsen 2.2
Posted January 30th 2013, at 11:06 with tags , , , ,

This Saturday Ugress Live goes on brave expedition to the frozen Norwegian wilderness, for another performance at Hemsedal ski eldorado nightclub Hemsen.

Skience fiction! New tracks! Vintage hits! Sonic weapons! Cinematic tricks and treats!

Featuring ever honorable guest star Thomas T. Dahl on guitars. 

  • Hemsen, Hemsedal, map
  • Saturday Feb 2nd, at 22:00
  • Tickets 180 / Age 20
  • Facebook event, venue website, ski report



Trailer for La Muda / Yasgur's Farm
Posted January 22th 2013, at 09:22 with tags , , , , , ,

Yasgur's Farm | Carte Blanche from yaniv cohen on Vimeo.

Trailer for Carte Blanche's "Yasgur's Farm". I have the music and perform it in the La Muda segment by Nuria Guiu Sagarra. 

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

La Muda is live on Twitter through @lamudacb and tag #lamudacb. 

Aelita - A Making-Of Video Report
Posted January 12th 2013, at 21:21 with tags , , , , , ,

A five minute video making-of report from the Aelita - Queen Of Mars performance in Oslo.

Video by Aron Eskeland, english subtitles available (CC icon).