Associate professor Eldbjørg Raknes has developed several educational concepts for her alma mater NTNU over many years, and she spends a considerable amount of her own time as an internationally present, and prominent, voice at the vanguard of improvised music that emanates from Norway. During 2018-19 she developed a concert for Jazzfest in Trondheim, and presented it to the public on the festival’s first day in early May, 2019. Her longstanding collaboration with sound designer/engineer Tor Breivik took a new step in this project, both of them seated in the middle of an audience that surrounded them full circle, many of whom were slumped in deckchairs. The sound moved in 360 degrees around the room. Lighting designer Ingrid Skanke Høsøien’s sparse and thoughtful setup, with a lot of darkness, gave the audience a chance to conjure up mental images according to their own impulses. Shortly after the concert Eldbjørg made the decision to release the project as a live album, on the record label she’s been running for years.
– Andreas Aase, Trondheim 2019
«This project blends my own songs and soundscapes with a selection of environmental sounds that I recorded from my hammock in my little urban garden space – birds, rain, helicopters. I loaded them into my sampler to make them a part of my setup. I also gave the samples to sound engineer Tor, for him to insert them in the show where and if he wanted to. I love spending time outdoors and get my senses in touch with nature and the weather. Recording sounds outside and then listening back on headphones opens up spaces of association, it gives me musical ideas, images, air for words, perspective, textures.”
“I find it important to enable freedom in the performance. I try to acknowledge what is created there and then, to follow up what is actually going on, and to mold the songs and the soundscapes as I go. Melodies, tempi, harmony, structure, etc. – I view them all as starting points, and they can all be changed in the moment. I challenge myself to trust that the music will shape its own, unique («best») whole.”
“The surround sound setup and the audience surrounding us (in deck chairs!) provides a certain intensity. You always interact with the specific room you play in, as well as the people who are present. I’ve been focusing on aspects of sound, energy, setting, and communication for a long time. It’s all an important part of the work palette.”
The album BUMBLEBEE is available on all digital platforms, ex: https://open.spotify.com/album/3176IMNTwSuFOejnZ976GQ?si=klmLHRZ-TvKQWW–P84Wsw
More about Eldbjørg Raknes: www.eldbjorgraknes.com
Videos by Camtimul SB