Egil kalman is a Swedish bass player and synthesist, improviser and composer. He is coming to Bodø to perform the piece Athroa, together with Zoe Efstathiou.
Kalman is an eclectic musician who swings between noise and folk. As a bass player his style is visceral and grounded and as a synthesist he works directly with the raw sound of electronics, opting out of hiding the sound with any external effects.
He’s a very active player on the Scandinavian scene for experimental music and has toured around Europe and Asia together with musicians such as: Tobias Delius, Lotte Anker, Eirik Hegdal, Brute Force, Lars Greve, Ole Mofjell, Marthe Lea, Hans Hulbaeckmo, Guro Kvifte Nesheim to name a few. Highlighted perfomances include Molde Jazz Festival, Kongsberg Jazz Festival, Trondheim Jazzfest, Stavanger MaiJazz, Interpenetration Graz, Spektrum Berlin, Blow Out Oslo, Playdate Bergen, Pøkk Trondheim, Friform Trondheim.
Your piece at the festival, Athroa, includes a light installation. Can you tell us a bit about that project?
Our aim with the light installation was for it to be a third player in the ensemble with its agency and logic. A player that on equal terms to the others in the ensemble can play both a counterpoint and accompanying role in the music. We translated musical gestures in sound to how we would perceive them as light-events and programmed the installation accordingly. Furthermore, our goal was also for the installation to act as a door into our music world. We also considered eye-fatigue in our installation (something we feel is lacking a lot of times) and choose to incorporate it only at certain events in the composition to make those moments stand out and to not tire the audience.
Where do you find the ideas that get you started? What inspires you?
My background is in learning and practicing music by ear and this process of transcribing, listening and imitating is where most of my ideas come from. I’m also inspired by the process of patching a modular synthesizer where a patch can be interpreted as a set of rules and interdependencies which in turn can be translated to musical instructions in an ensemble context, also for acoustic instruments.
What thoughts do you have about the composer’s role in the further development of the music and art field?
I believe in long-lasting collaborations, this is the future for the composer, to not be so lonely!
The festival theme is «truth?». Can music be “true”?
Yes, John Coltrane spoke the truth with his saxophone!
Athroa (for piano, electronics and light installation) is a composition that explores the materiality of sound in relation to our spatiotemporal perceptive mechanisms. The materiality of sonic events is being explored through the process of sculpting sound objects, dynamically changing through interaction and improvisation. Electronic and acoustic instruments co-create imaginary sound formations, whose textures, surface fluctuations, edges, grooves and other deformations are shaped in interaction with the space and spatial properties. Subtle nuances alter the surface characteristics and boundaries of the objects, evoking a sensuous and tangible experience. In this composition, space, rather than time, is the basis of formal organisation, and the experience of the music will be embodied in the process of navigating through space and observing the objects from different vantage points.
The music is in counterpoint with a light installation which interacts with the sounds and musical textures. It is not following or describing the music and is not narrative to the music. The lights are used as a musical instrument, reacting to or bringing forth nuances and sonic details and highlighting non-obvious sonic attributes, engaging in a dialogue with the duos timbral improvisations.
The light is explored in its sonic potential as the installation becomes the third member of the improvisatory ensemble. The work has been fully funded by Konsnärsnämnden – the Swedish Arts Grant Committee.