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På skive


«Triple Music»

The Norwegian-Swedish trio Muddersten of experimental improvisers-sound artists – guitarist Håvard Volden (known for his work with Jenny Hval) who also plays with tape machines, Henrik Olsson (known for his work with the Skogen ensemble) who employs objects, friction and piezo and Martin Taxt (known for his work with the tuba trio Microtub) who plays with microtonal tuba and electronics – planned before the Covid-19 global lockdown to travel to Japan and collaborate with painter Akiko Nakayama.

When this plan collapsed, Nakayama made a video triptych that served as a score and conductor for Muddersten’s performance, which was premiered at the Periferien Festival in Oslo in August 2020 and Triple Music was recorded in Täcklebo, Sweden, in February 2021. The video presents variations of liquid colors in swirling streams, floating textures, and bursting bubbles. Now and then Nakayama placed a fixed object or a solid form into her stream of floating colors, and the streams effortlessly found their way around these obstacles.

Muddersten used sonic ready-made as a method for its improvisation in Triple Music and turned this experience into a sonic-philosophical statement about how free improvisation aesthetics may save our planet. Pre-recordings and loops were used as musical analogies to the objects and solid forms in Nakayama’s painting, including the one-sided LP Fyloop (FYLP 1033, 2013) with 360 locked grooves by the Swedish Fylkingen association for experimental music artists where each track leads back to itself in a never-ending circular repetition. Muddersten had to adjust and adapt these stubborn and uncompromising ready-made traps and obstacles into the performance, forcing itself to «roll with the punches and go with the flow», as Olsson describes the experience. «The plan here is to have no plan and to stick to that no matter what. Always expect the unexpected».

Olsson thinks that this enigmatic musical exercise may be useful on a larger scale as humanity is now facing an overwhelming amount of obstacles like the collapse of entire ecosystems or the dramatic rise of sea levels. Free improvisers are trained to cope with the unforgiving aftermath of our abusive behavior by humbly accepting, adjusting and adapting themselves to a new flow. Therefore the future may not be a composition but rather a series of improvisations addressing the dramatically changing conditions around us. The sonic wizards of Muddersten suggest such a flow of minimalist and delicate yet otherworldly sounds, all are unpredictable and imaginative and all support this ambitious, visionary theory. «Let us all be improvisers with slightly bent knees moving into the unknown», concludes Olsson.

Eyal Hareuveni

Håvard Volden (electric guitar, tape machines), Henrik Olsson (objects, friction, piezo), Martin Taxt (microtonal tuba, electronics)