fbpx
MENU CLOSE

Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard

Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard is a Danish composer working with physical and imaginary sound. He is coming to Bodø with the piece Triangular Mass, performed by students from Bodø Videregående Skole and himself.

Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard considers his work to be a basic research in realities. Working within the domains of physical and imaginary sound as well as other non-sonic media, Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard seeks to stimulate new ways of approaching reality as heard in his work with multiplication of physical sound, or in his work with sonic potentiality and music for the inner ear – an imaginary kind of music only hearable for the inner ear of the listener. NLL is interested in how to push and dismantle hierarchies within music, asking the questions; who is allowed to create music? – who is allowed to perform music?

 

To see and hear more of Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard:

Homepage

Soundcloud

Youtube

Working with physical sound:

Over the recent years Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard has experimented with creating music that lets the instruments transcend their inherent sonic norms by multiplication of sound. He has written and recorded the seven pieces of SOUND X SOUND from 2013 to 2016 – a series of works multiplying one instrument a number of times: One piece is written for 9 pianos, another for 18 clarinets, 10 hi-hats and so on. The multiplication brings out new timbral phenomena, interference of sound waves and vibrations, and brings out what Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard calls the sound’s potential of transformation. He describes this as the quality in a musical piece, when you no longer hear recognizable instruments, but instead the individual sound, as well as the individual musician, is dissolved into the collective sound.

Løkkegaard about his work:

“Imagine you enter a room with vibrant acoustics, such as a cafe full of people having conversations, and when you’re close to those conversations you hear the language and understand the words. If you step away from the tables, however, and stand in the doorway, you begin to loose the ability to distinguish the words from one another. Now instead of hearing the individual conversations, melts all the conversations together, and transform into a one new sound. A sound of people without words and language. Just as when you hear a group of geese squawk, or the wind in tree tops, a kind of nature given sound of people. Once the language is dissolved and the words stop making sense, what is left, is the sound. Clean, free of meaning and open to all ears.”

The festival theme is «truth?». Can music be true? Is this something you are struggling with in your compositions?

Working within the domains of imaginary & physical sound I consider my work as basic research in realities, often dealing with the question; when does something exist?
Speaking of truth – I think what art & music can do, is to raise questions about what we thought was true and be a vessel for alternative realities & utopias, and not provide us with answers about what is true.
Through music, we can raise questions about the systems we live in and raise questions about the institutions and systems in which music itself is embedded. Raising questions about who is allowed to play music? Raising questions about who is allowed to create music? And also raising the question: How important is the composer?
These questions mentioned above are all key-elements and drivers in my compositional work.

 

Where do you find the ideas that get you started? What inspires you?

I often get inspired by what might be looked upon as being very stupid ideas, unlogical ideas or not-musical ideas. Also, the notion of framework inspires me – and so do pragmatism.

 

Do you have any thoughts on music’s role in our identity? Do you think of your self as a Nordic composer?

I think that a lot of contemporary music in Denmark is informed by the European (mostly German) avantgarde more than a Scandinavian source of inspiration. I feel more related to the experimental music tradition of North America rather than a European or Scandinavian source of inspiration. Though on a personal level, I’m very much shaped by the political systems of Scandinavia and I think that feeds into my music.

 

Is music, often wordless, freer than other art forms? Any thoughts on this?

I think, very generally speaking, that people have a more narrow preconception about how music should be and sound like, than when it comes to the visual arts. So in that sense, I don’t think music is freer than other art forms.

You seem to have a thing for physical sound. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Working with imaginary sound is a 100% conceptual effort since it´s all taking place in the mind detached from all bodily experiences. When I work with physical sound the aim is the complete opposite. Here I try to turn encounters with sound into bodily experiences and thereby bypassing more intellectual sensing of sound and music. For many years I’ve been composing using multiplication of sound as a compositional method which has resulted in the Triangular Mass & the SOUND X SOUND project from 2013 to 2016 – a series of works multiplying one instrument a number of times: One piece is written for 9 pianos, another for 18 clarinets, 10 hi-hats and so on.
The multiplication brings out new timbral phenomena, interference of sound waves and vibrations, and brings out what could be called the sound’s potential of transformation, which is for me, the quality in a musical piece, when you no longer hear recognizable instruments, but instead the individual sound, as well as the individual musician, is dissolved into the collective sound. This potential of transformation could be described in this manner:

“Imagine you enter a room with vibrant acoustics, such as a cafe full of people having conversations, and when you’re close to those conversations you hear the language and understand the words. If you step away from the tables, however, and stand in the doorway, you begin to lose the ability to distinguish the words from one another. Now instead of hearing the individual conversations, melts all the conversations together, and transforms into one new sound. A sound of people without words and language. Just as when you hear a group of geese squawk, or the wind in treetops, a kind of nature given sound of people. Once the language is dissolved and the words stop making sense, what is left, is the sound. Clean & free of meaning.”

I’m interested in music instruments – not only as sources of sound but also as cultural markers embedded within different systems & hierarchies. This being a key element in my work has led me into writing music that can be performed by musicians as well as non-musicians -the Triangular Mass being one of those pieces. In Triangular Mass I investigate the triangle – a music instrument which in music-classes often is passed on to the one person considered being the least musical person; “hey – you can play the triangle!” In the Triangular Mass my idea was to highlight the Triangle – give it value and remove shame or trauma connected with this particular music instrument and the act of performing music in general.

Triangular Mass

Triangular Mass, 2016 was commissioned by the Icelandic Dark Music Days festival and is a piece for multiple triangles, which is performable by all, regardless of previous musical knowledge or training. The ensemble is playing triangles in different sizes, creating a crystalline and prism-like sound. The sound of the individual triangle and the individual player is dissolved and the sound reappears untouched in a new collective form Triangular Mass has been performed at Dark Music Days festival, G((o))ng Tomorrow, Roskilde Festival, CPH:DOX and various other places.