Tabula Primus was not the first piece I wrote for 'Tabula Rasa'. However it is the oldest piece to make it onto the album. It was originally written for chamber orchestra and was intended for a spring concert at my high school in 1996. I do remember presenting the piece for the conductor, but I can't remember why it was never played. It was quite an efford to compose, and it was quite a blow to me, at the orchestra refused to perform it. The recorded version of 'Tabula Primus' opens with the sound of nothern lights. I have sampled the auroras and is now able to actually play with it. How I did that is a long story which you can read here
Tabula Secundus is based on a pianoriff I used to reherse on the various keyboard instruments available at the Copenhagen Cathedral. I was an employee there for three or four months, and I was quite bored. But there were two organs (one major one with 7000 pipes or something, and a minor one), three or four pianos - both upright and grand plus a spinet. I spend hours at those keyboards.
The riff weren't intended for 'Tabula Rasa', but when Klaus and I started recording in 2001, it was clear to me, that I had to replace the original piece, and the riff became a full track.
With Tabula Tertius I tried to write a jigue. I failed completely, but I think it has got it's charm anyway. Until the mixing of the album, the piece was very acoustic and folky, but I realized in time that it was a very weak arrangement. In my frustration of not being able to do anything about the track, I started to violate and destroy it by synthezised beats and lines. To my surprize the electronic arrangement worked quite well. The second half of the track features Liv Thrane on vocal. The line she is singing was originally written for bells, but I couldn't find any bells that sounded good. So when Liv offered her voice to my music, I instantly asked her to do the bells.
Tabula Quartus was written in 1997 or 1998. Two or three years before I did 'Odyssey', and eventhough the mood is the same, the approach was totally different. Where 'Odyssey' was improvised 'Tabula Quartus' was indeed composed - written down, black dots on white paper - and then recorded. The result is a much more structured and coherent piece of ambient music. In my opinion it is far superior to all of 'Odyssey'.
Tabula Quintus features quite a few people besides Klaus Schønning who is featured on all tracks except for 'Tabula Primus'. First of all there's Kirsty Mclean who reads the definition of tabula rasa, then there's Anita Rübberdt, a native Berliner who then resided in Denmark, on clarinet. Unfortunately I processed her playing so heavily, that it's actually difficult to hear that the first verse is played on a clarinet. Finally theres Annlou Nielsen on saxophone. Annlou hadn't heard the piece before she turned up in the studio, and what she did was improvised. However what she did is probably my favourite part of the album. I really like the slow but insisting beat of this track. It might be hopelessly outdated, but I do think a slowed down breakbeat is neat. This track also features a morphing software synthesizer called 'Delay Lama'. I had great fun toying with this virtual singing monk. The second half of 'Tabula Quartus' is a strange sequenced piece which is an edit of a 14 minutes long improvisation session Klaus Schønning and I had at Klaus' studio.
I wrote Tabula Sextus a starlit summer night in 1998. At first the melody line sounded too much like a hit from the mid-eighties, but out of the blue Klaus' did a new melody line for the verse. It was originally intended that I should play the melody on nylon stringed guitar, but I felt that Klaus' line was perfect, so it ended up being nothing but Klaus.
Who would have thought that? 'Tabula Rasa' has been completed!
'Tabula Rasa' is now available on the well known CD media. But that's not all! It's available on the fantastic CD-R! (hmm)
It is packed in a smooth jewelcase with a transparant booklet. Not unlike Sigur Rós' '()'.
'Tabula Rasa' lasts 46 minutes and features contributions from five musicians. Amongst these are Klaus Schønning who produced the album and played almost all keyboards.
Going back is never easy to do...
Never the less that's what I've done. The composition of 'Tabula Rasa' was done between 96 and 99, and then the suite was shelved. During the years to come I completely revised my understanding of music. Now I was no longer interested in the instrumental symph-rock that I had been dealing with for years. However, my new works were overshadowed by the fact that I had a complete album of symph-rock shelved. I understood. To be able to let go and move on, I had to complete my work, to take that 45 minutes suite down from the shelf and record it.
The suite was like an old girlfriend. Still pretty, still adorable, but I didn't want a serious relationship anymore. Fortunately, music is not exactly like girlfriends, and with the unvaluable help and support from Klaus Schønning, I engaged yet another dance with my old love.
Between autumn 2001 and fall 2004, Klaus Schønning and I worked on the recording of the suite. For me it has been like an ending rather than the recording of a new album. Hence I found the title 'Tabula Rasa' appropriate. 'Tabula Rasa' is latin and means 'smoothed tablet' - to wipe clean and start from the beginning - a new ending.
'Tabula Rasa' has almost been completed, and should be ready for release soon. The first edition should be released in the beginning of december.
The album lasts about 45 minutes and features a number of contributors. I will write about these later. As of now there are no performances planned, I will continue my work on another album and that has to be completed before I'll consider playing anything live.
Stay tuned, december is soon!
Here's a short news update on three forthcomming releases!
First of all Klaus Schønning and I will be in the studio all of august finishing the 'Tabula Rasa' suite. If everything goes as planned the album should be released around x-mas this year. But as nothing has gone by the book with this album, I'd be a fool to promise anything.
Another album of mine 'Constructions' is entering its final stages of production. All music has been recorded and I'm currently concentrating on the lyrics. Yes, it will be a song based album! However there will be instrumental tracks, four of them, and all the instrumentals is currently available as downloads from MyMusic.
This album should be ready summer 2005 and will feature guests and co-writers!
Last but not least: Entakt is in the studio once again, and I've been appointed to mix a couple of tracks for their fall release.
This spring has been more hectic than the springs before. Entakt has been playing some great concerts at great venues. That band is simply getting better and better.
In may we were off to Gniezno in Poland to play at a festival. We were treated more than fantastic by the polish staff and we felt very welcome. Unfortunately the show we played was moved to an indoor venue due to heavy rain.
Entakt will be playing at a few festivals this summer. See the agenda section for dates.
Entakt backstage in Poland with the Pope:
Talking about my own music... I've got about 100 minutes of original material nearly finished. It should be out very soon!
I'm back home from a long and fantastic trip to the Faroe islands.
One of the results of this trip was the development of the 'Aurotron'.
I have always been fascinated by light. I read as much I can about the mechanisms of light, and I do believe I am able to explain certain phenomenas such as laser to almost anyone. The last couple of years I have experimented a lot with the integration of light in my music. An easy integration would have been to create a light show for my concerts. But as I do not perform, that really wasn't an option. Another relatively easy way was was to record fire and the crackeling of embers. Embers makes a beautiful sound, something inbetween an old record and rain. But using fire in terms of sound really isn't new. Both Einstürzende Neubauten and Rammstein has been there before. So I turned to phenomenas I could not control: the lights of nature. First of all I recorded hours and hours of thunder. Everytime there's a thunderstorm, you'll see a microphone pointing out of my window. I've made some fantastic recordings that way. One summer evening in 2003 as I was recording thunder I made an eerie discovery. There was a tremendous blast of lightning very close to me, and when I played back the minidisc, I realized that the electric blast had made a fingerprint on the recording. I understood that the actual sound was not audible, but the electromagnetic charge actually was audible when played back. It is actually simple logic, as the microphone works by electromagnetism. So I can't hear it unless it is recorded by an electromagnetic device. If this was the case, it had to be possible to record other sourses of light such as lightbulbs, light valves, and more interesting: auroras.
Experimenting with auroras is not the easiest thing in the world. First of all you have to find an aurora. As I live in Copenhagen they are extremely rare. First of all they are rarely seen so far south, second there's too much light distortion in Copenhagen to ever notice anything. When I recorded the electric charge of the lightning, it was less than 300 metres away from me. Auroras happens at altitutes from 80 to 500 kilometres. To use an ordinary microphone would only be a complete waste of time. Then from the back of my mind I remembered my old teacher of physics talking about a special radiofrequency you could tune into on a normal reciever and listen to the electric charges of lightning. Now you might object that lightnings and auroras are not the same, and therefore cannot be treated the same way soundwise. Let's have a look at what auroras are. Our sun is very active, and from time to time, infact very often it emits huge loads of charged plasma into space. This plasma travels with speeds about 350-400 kilometres pr. second. After 24-48 hours it reaches the earth, and is lead by the magnetosphere to the polar regions where it ignites the atmospheare creating the auroras. So, unlike lightnings, it is not electric but magnetic light. Fortunately these two phenomenas are more or less the same matter. In order to record the geomagnetical interfearance two things were of importance. First of all I had to have a reciever, second I had to be just underneath an aurora. The reciever was no big deal at all. VLF recievers can be bought in standard electronics shops. Often as diy kits, which makes it easy to build in an audio out slot. The second was slightly more difficult. Fortunately I had to spend four weeks on the Faroe islands in connection with my education. The first 14 days I spend up there, there were intense auroras almost every night. The second matter solved.
Cosmic noise are categorized into cracks and pops, whistlers and howlers. Auroras produces all of these. I took ten one minutes excerpts of the auroral recordings and played them at the same time. Then I squeezed it through a parametric equalizer to make it resonate at the frequency of A. Then I sampled it and reverbed it. The result is a unique sound inbetween marimbas constantly triggered and church organs. My suite 'Tabula Rasa' opens with the sound of auroras, although quite a few may think it's a wacky synthesizer immitation of a church organ.
Conclusion: Yes, I managed to integrate light in music.
And guess what! The film about Einstürzende Neubauten has finaly been completed!
We are currently looking into ways of distribution...
How time flies...
I hope you all had a nice new years eve, and that you've still got all your fingers...
For my own part I had a wonderful evening, and as I never fool around with fireworks - I actually never touch it - I came unharmed into the new year.
Do I have any new years resolutions? Yeah well... there's the standard 'I have to loose weight'. Sitting in your studio constantly doesn't do your health any good. On the musical side I'll try to complete the recording of 'Tabula Rasa' and have it released. This should only take a few months. I will also try to get my music on the road. I'm currently negotiating with a few venues. I've put a band together, and hopefully we'll play some gigs from march and on.
These are my aims - it'll be fun to see if I accomplish it....