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Some composers have a talent for extending the boundaries of their field and creating works that don’t really fit into a 'traditional' work catalogue. We think that these composers deserve some space of their own to push the boundaries and explore the world of innovative sound.
Niels Rønsholdt and Simon Christensen are two examples of composers well versed in contemporary composition with work lists that include scores for traditional instruments. They have however also created works that 'cross borders' and take you beyond the printed score. A composer like Line Tjørnhøj works in unusual settings and formats and is almost more interested in the creative process than in the end result. Simon Steen-Andersen often includes amplified acoustic instruments in combination with sampler, video, simple everyday objects and obsolete electronics or homemade constructions of the instruments in his works whereas Lars Kynde’s experiments are somewhat quieter in their mood, but equally fascinating.
Niels Rønsholdt is concerned with connecting music’s fundamentally abstract nature with concrete sounds such as whip cracks, footsteps and breathing. On the one hand it is the abstract musical sounds that make up the compositional whole. On the other hand their individual sound quality brings a wealth of meanings and associations with them.
In Die Wanderin (2007) we hear the footsteps of a woman walking, her stiletto’s against the pavement. Gradually it becomes clear that her steps becoming faster, that she is fleeing something. She stops to listen, continues again until she finally falls. The violin imitates her breathing and later groans or screams, the bass drum and piano her heartbeat, wind from the wind machine blows her over. This way of composing can be experienced as naïve, but for Niels a distinct effect is created in that it is neither music nor drama but in a category of its own. It need not be well formed nor pleasant to listen to, it is the situation and the drama that is central to the work. A sequence is created which potentially can be experienced physically by the listener and which, in an insistent and unexpected way, creeps up on the listener and provokes a nearly direct identification with the protagonist.
In addition to his own works Niels Rønsholdt also collaborates with other artists such as Juliana Hodkinson in Fish & Fowl and Signe Klejs in the media arts duo Klejs & Rønsholdt. The duo is working with a strong and focused artistic output based on aspects of human relations. In their projects, they make themselves correspondents of the delicate emotional balance between pain and pleasure and have a vision of moving their audience with a maximized impact - not only through their aesthetic and thematic choice, but also by applying state-of-the-art audiovisual technology as vehicle for their expression. Honeymoon (2007) is an example of such a work.
Simon Christensen has had an extensive background in a variety of musical genres, and as a result creates music that is deeply informed by all of them. A big part of the impact of Simon's music comes from his ability to harness the off-kilter. His rhythmic palate includes cascades of mismatched tuplet sequences (e.g. quintuplets followed by sextuplets then septuplets) as well as polyrhythms exploring the incompatible overlapping of such sequences (e.g. seven against three then six against five, etc.).
TRIBUTES – Pulse (2011) is a collaboration between Simon Christensen and American filmmaker Bill Morrison. The idea of "Pulse" is explored in both the music and the film. Simon conceived of the role of Pulse - the rhythmic recurrence of vibration - in the music of four composers. But pulse is also explored as the through-line in a life, civilization, and nature. Through image and sound Simon and Bill have created a requiem for the 20th century - the persistence of a pulse, the contractions of the heart.
Line Tjørnhøj typically deals with timeless problems and emotions via stories from our own time. She is well known for dealing with cruel subjects where men and women are challenged to the utmost as a consequence of the misuse of power in its various forms. She exploits the soothing quality and beauty of the voice to establish a space for the impossible and painful stories she has narrated in the course of her career as a composer. Line collaborates with English cellist and vocal performer Zoë Martlew on Tomorrow’s Child (2012), which is a documentary opera monologue about humanity for cello, singer, sampler, electronics and video. The themes are death and love in the context of war crimes committed in Bosnia.
Simon Steen-Andersen’s latest works, barely audible sounds are subjected to extreme amplification: as if the instruments are placed under a microscope. This opens up a rich micro-world of new sounds, in which normally suppressed or hidden subordinated sounds are integrated into an intense imagery of sounds. Often the amplified micro-sounds are contrasted with unamplified music played as loudly as possible on dampened or hampered instruments.
RunTime Error (2009) is a highly original experimental video work created during a residency at HOTELbich in Brussels. Strictly constructed in the form of a two part invention (with theme, retrogrades, augmentations etc.) it at the same time involves and presents the composer himself as an energetic performer and embraces the entire building in which it was created as a musical instrument.
Lars Kynde is a composer and a sound artist. He finds joy in building instruments himself as well as composing and performing works on these instruments. The invention of new instruments and the music created for them melt into surprising forms. This can be seen in the work Elephant Heart (2010). Lars often collaborates with artists in other fields to create a boarder range of musical experience.