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På skive


«in Bergen», «Public Enema», «Night and Day», «jeudi 11 mai 2017»

John Hegre is a Norwegian. Bergen-based prolific experimental guitarist, sound artist, improviser, composer, and producer who focuses on noise, electronics and free improvisation. Hegre is known for his work with the seminal Jazzkammer noise duo (with noise meister Lasse Marhaug) and the power outfit Noxagt, among many other alternative bands. His recent set of archival recordings released by the Scottish label scatterArchive are offered with the label’s pay-as-you-wish policy.

Chinese sound artist Yan Jun was scheduled to perform with Hegre in Bergen in September 2018 but all his travels to this rainy city involved catastrophic travel delays. He missed the concert and the hotel accommodation, but stayed on Hegre’s small boat and enjoyed his salty food, had fun at Bergen Kjøtt studio and had a chance to complete Jazzkammer’s discography. In this studio session, Hegre plays piano frame and Yan Jun plays feedback. in Bergen offers three quiet and abstract, slow-cooking and almost transparent ambient pieces, spiced with some resonant, noisy glitches. The interplay of Hegre and Yan Jun slowly gains more volume and power and radiates mysterious and sometimes even disturbing hypnotic power.

Hegre and percussionist Nils Are Drønen began to play together in the mid-nineties in a free improvised setting of noisy electric guitar and drums, with a regular schedule of rehearsals in the mornings, as Hegre claims that «free improvising is a great way to start the day». Later on, synth player-vocalist Jørgen Træen joined the duo and the trio recorded VOLUM (Lasse Marhaug’s Jazzassin Records, 1998). The duo also collaborated with electronics player Træen, and kept playing, off and on, as Public Enema. The album Public Enema was recorded at Træen’s Duper Studio in Bergen in March 2006. It is not clear if this album was recorded during the morning but it features five extended, powerful, ecstatic and uncompromising improvisations where Hegre and Drønen stretch and exhaust joyfully their full sonic palettes, including the more sparse «nine».

Night and Day is a 25-minute piece, recorded live at Night and Day in Singapore, and the event was organized by C H O P P A, an experimental series that was initiated to develop a community with musicians from various backgrounds able to collaborate and explore new ideas. Hegre does not remember much from his this, first visit to Singapore except for the good food and meeting friends. But this piece highlights his gift for sketching an arresting and nuanced texture that imagines an intense experience of flying low in a noisy aircraft until the flight is lost in an electric storm and leaves only fragmented sounds of noisy electric guitar, that eventually explode in a cathartic coda.

jeudi 11 mai 2017 was recorded live before an enthusiastic audience during a short tour at PiedNu in Le Havre, France. It is a 31-minute piece that begins as a hypnotic drone that explores introspective and melancholic, almost ethereal atmospheric sounds with electric guitar and pedals. But mid-piece Hegre opts for uncompromising, raw and distorted noises and keeps alternating between these abstract and thorny poles.

Eyal Hareuveni

John Hegre (piano frame, electric guitar), Yan Jun (feedback), Nils Are Drønen (percussion)