Fredrik Gran is a composer from the Vällingby suburb in Stockholm, Sweden. He is interested in the musical potential of machinic and mechanical processes and in experimenting with new performative strategies. His work covers orchestral, chamber, vocal, electroacoustic and live electronic music, as well as music for installations, dance, digital and visual art.
He is presented at Nordic Music Days with two different works: Pictures without fences and Here in my arms.
Fredrik’s music has been recognized internationally, performed at festivals such as Festival MANCA (Nice, FR), Warsaw Autumn Festival(Warsaw), ISCM (Vancouver, CA), SICMF (Seoul, KR), Tage Neue Musik (Weimar, DE) and NoiseGate (NYC, US), and has been primed in many competitions such as London Music Society International Composer’s Competition (UK), Codes d’Acces (CA), Eleanor Stubley Recording Award (CA) and the Nutida Sound Art Music Prize (SE). He studied composition at the Music Academy in Stockholm and at McGill University in Montreal, where his doctoral research is connected to the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT).
Can you say something about the way you think as a composer?
It seems as natural for you to work with traditional classical ensembles as with robots?
There is initial inspiration where I do not want to restrain myself with inhibition. Some projects have more pre-set frames and tools, some have less, and both are fine with me.
Cellos, orchestras, computers, and robots – they are all implements and prolongations of human activity that can be used for expression. I have been fascinated by and closely studied both traditional musical instruments and robots, and found both of them interesting for realizing musical ideas and creation of sound.
What thoughts do you have about the composer’s role in the further development of the music and art field?
I hope the composer’s role will dwell around their free creative interest and investigations. I hope that composers, as well as music and art, will not be devalued or controlled by cultural entrepreneurs/monopoles with other agendas indifferent to the content.
Is reality an antonym for art and artificiality? Do you think artificial intelligence will get a natural position in art in the future?
I think new technology has a position in art. Music and musical instruments have been developed for thousands of years, incorporating new knowledge. It seems natural to augment the possibilities of creation, without necessarily challenging or replacing what is there. It can be interesting to look at AI and look at ourselves and what is real; The preconditions we have, the biological natural behavior, the social code and what is expected of us, what we are learned and get trained for, and who is telling us what to do and when. We learn and accept a lot of things, in some ways similar to machines. If we can learn machines to act in an unexpected and indescribable way, maybe we can also find some relief in that. Maybe some truth can be found there.
Pictures of fields without fences
Pictures of fields without fences aims to strip down the music to the essential parameters, to peel off and remove until what is left is some kind of ‘skeleton music’. It offers a meditation on the inevitable transformation or obsolescence of things, in the manner of a photograph which over time becomes faded and bleached by the sun.
The piece has been performed in Great Britain, Germany, Canada, and Sweden. Norwegian premiere at Nordic Music Days!
Here in my arms
Here in my arms for industrial robotic arm and speaker dome (2018)
Commissioned by Audiorama (SE)
Sponsored by the Swedish Arts Council
An industrial robotic arm surrounded by monitors is operating a highly directional microphone, creating dynamic feedback in a weightless choreography. The robot’s accuracy in timing and positioning allows for detailed control of the feedback behavior and its transformations, as well as the possibility to recreate, relocate and modify these sonorities. In addition to the directional frontal capture, the microphone also occasionally amplifies the low frequencies coming from the robot’s motors, creating a second voice in counterpoint to the feedback line.