The Norwegian Oslo 14 Vocal Ensemble was established in 2014 by vocal artist Elin Rosseland. The Ensemble, consists of a pool of 25 vocalists, explores the human voice’s different possibilities with extended techniques in various musical setting. On its debut album, «Improvisation * Composition» (NORCD, 2016), the ensemble featured vocal improvisations and compositions of vocalists Wenche Losnegård (from the trio Eplemøya Songlag) and Susanna Wallumrød. On the sophomore album, «Improvisation * Composition II», recorded masterfully at the Rainbow Studio on February 2018, with the new artistic director and vocal artist Andreas Backer, the Ensemble offers three concise vocal improvisations and two extended compositions by Backer and bass player Guro S. Moe.
Backer’s «Kjærlighet, penn og papir» (Love, Pen and Paper) draws its aesthetics and vocabulary from different European schools of free-improvisation and blends these improvisations strategies with elements from free jazz, folk music and contemporary music from the 20th to the 21st century. This compositions aims at investigating the instrumental, sonic potential, characteristics and qualities of the voice with great range of techniques. This piece manged to suggest a rich and organic common ground between these supposedly alien fields of music. The intense, free-improvised and chatty vocalizations do sound as weird but seductive and imaginary folk songs and at times even as experimental yet quite delicate, chamber music.
Moe’s «Hvorfor er vi så redde for å føle, vet du det?» (Why are we so afraid to feel, do you know?) is an extension of her work with the theatre company Plexus Polaires, vocalist Frida Ånnevik and dancers Astrid Groseth and Marthe Reithaug Sterud. Moe transformed this multimedia work into pure musical format and her omposition is based on a common emotional understanding, distilled into sound material and a quest for a multi-media expression. Moe aims at forming an egalitarian, trusting community with a strong, common language where all knowledge stood equal, even though the musicians have never played together as a group. The Ensemble incorporates her ambitious vision beautifully. This new, united community of daring improvisers performs this piece as if all are committed to accomplish a higher spiritual mission, clearly a feminist one, but also one with an open, all-embracing and risk taking sonic vision.
Bendik Sells (v), Birte Slettevoll (v), Caroline A. Bakke (v), Eline H. Åsbakk (v), Eva B. Storrusten (v), Giuseppe Creazzo (v), Ingrid V. Henriksen (v), Karoline R. Albrigtsen (v), Lisbeth-Anita Grimsø Olsen (v), Live S. Schulerud (v), Petter H. Bermingrud (v), Sean Bell (v), Seshen (v), Vemund G. Kjelstad (v), Andreas Backer (artistic director, v)