2019 Aug 25
'Thaw' track by track and pre-order
'Thaw' can now be pre-ordered, and as a token of appreciation you'll get to hear one of the tracks, 'Alone Into Eternity', right away.
Here's Thaw's tracklist, and a few words about each track:
I’ve always been interested in doing commissioned music for films and theater. In 2003 I worked on a theater adaptation of ‘The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum’ by Heinrich Böll, but unfortunately the play was never staged. This little melody was the centerpiece for that play, and it has been in my drawer ever since. I worked on it again and considered it as opening for ‘Tesla’. During these sessions it got it’s coda. Then a year ago I acquired a Teisho Koto, which is a cross between a steel guitar and a typewriter, and with that instrument ‘Overture’ finally found it’s form.
Early in the writing process, there’s always a piece that defines the direction for the whole album. On ‘Harvest’ it was the song ‘The Jackdaw’ that defined what the rest of the album should sound like. On ‘Thaw’, this is that piece.
It is about the sense of isolation that modern communication can generate. Like how the knowledge of how big the world is can make you feel very small and insignificant, which in return makes your surroundings insignificant. The grass is always greener on the other side, but if you have no knowlede of your neighbor’s lawn, yours might actually appear very green. Ignorance really is bliss.
In 2014 I went to an exhibition called Arktis at Louisiana, the museum of modern art not far from where I live. There I saw - or rather heard - the installation Isfald by Jacob Kirkegaard and was absolutely mesmerized. It was a dark, draped room with numerous speakers playing back the sound of glacial movements recorded with boundary microphones embedded in the ice itself.
This track is my reflection on that installation.
To relieve tension from otherwise serious matters, playwrights often introduces a ‘comic relief’ in their plays. Shakespeare for instance used comic reliefs in all of his tragedies. I thought I’d use that technique to lighten up this album, and this naïve piano piece is the first of three short comic reliefs or intermezzos on this album.
Alone Into Eternity
In the years 1906 to 1908 a succesful scientific expedition to the northeastern Greenland took place. One of the goals was to explore the last blank spaces on the map, and for this purpose three men went by dogsled to the Independence Fjord drawing a map as they went. Their way back was made difficult by an unusually warm spring rendering travel on the sea ice impossible. Only one of the men was found the following spring, and in his diary they found a death letter hinting the fate of the other two and written just before he laid himself to rest. This song is about dying alone in the freezing polar night.
This is the second comic relief on the album. North of Kangerslussuaq, dogsled is the most common means of transportation in Greenland (in addition to snowmobiles, boats, helicopters etc.). Everybody who’s experienced these dogs up close will know, that chaotic dog fights can and will happen out of the blue. Hence the chaotic end to this track.
Ebb and Flow
This song does not take place in Greenland, but in the bay of Kangiqsujuaq in the far north of Canada. The story was too good not to include, though. In the coldest of winter, every two week the moon’s pull is so strong that the fjord drains underneath the ice. The ice then sits directly on the floor of the bay, and the locals climb down underneath the ice to collect blue mussels. They have to be quick and alert, because the tide returns fast.
Whenever you go to souvenir shops in Greenland, you’ll see numerous bizarre creatures carved out of reindeer antler called tupilaks. These have nothing in common with the tupilaq from greenlandic folklore. The real tupilaq was a spiritual killing machine made of various animal parts and something from the victim. The creature were called to life by a secret chant and were only visible to shamans. It would only disappear if the victim was murdered unless the victim was strong enough to turn it on it’s creator.
This eight minute drone is named after the rare but beautiful mother-of-pearl clouds which can be seen in the polar skies. I wanted to create a track that behaved like clouds. When you look up into the skies, the clouds might seem stationary, but if you look away for a few minutes and then back up, the skies looks different. I wanted to do a track like that. If you pay attention, nothing happens, but if you let your mind drift, you might find a different soundscape when you return.
Lamp Extinction Games
The third and final comic relief is about sex. As inbreed is a bad thing, it wasn’t uncommon in the small settlements to invite guests on a little bit more than coffee.
Qivitoq - The Fell Walker
Even today, the fell walker is feared. A person could go qivitoq because of shame, guilt, anger or offence and it is believed that the person after some time would become a spiritual creature coming back to get revenge. Living on after death as a vengeful ghost. Numerous qivitoq caves can be found in the wilderness of Greenland.
In 1968 a B52 bomber crashed on the ice not far from the Thule base. It carried four thermonuclear bombs, but unfortunately only three were recovered. The code name for a lost nuclear warhead is ‘broken arrow’. Both USA and Denmark tried their best to cover it, but the workers sent out on the ice to clean it up, later suffered strange symptoms. It took nearly 30 years to get an official apology out of the danish prime minister. Nobody knows, if the fourth bomb is still up there.