«Basically» is a collaboration between Brussels-based choreographer Nikima Jagudajev and New York-based guitarist and sound designer Jordan Balaber and multi-instrumentalist Lester St. Louis (of Jaimie Branch Fly or Die and TAK Ensemble), created as an accompaniment to Jagudajev’s exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall from October 2020 to April 2021 and during the Borealis festival for experimental music. The album contains two suggestive pieces – «Orbit Arps» and «Krampus». Both pieces function as a musical diptych and capture two completely different atmospheres contained within the Basically live performance, and both are fitted for Jagudajev’s repertoire of choreographed sequences, all of which can be danced at any given moment throughout the day.
«Orbit Arps» is a dreamscape, cyclical collage of various edited performances captured during a week of rehearsals at the Kunsthall in October 2020. Norwegian guitarists Bård Aarvik and Salomon Poutsma were recorded as they navigated a «mutable» score mirroring Jagudajev’s choreography, which allowed the musicians to improvise in an intuitive, non-linear fashion using finger-picked patterns and game-like rules. Aarvik and Poutsma’s gentle, slow-shifting patterns were colored by and disrupted by sine tones, pink noise, field recordings of Jagudajev’s voice, Balaber’s electric guitar Nikoline Ursin Erichsen’s live electronics. American pianist June Jenkins recorded improvisations around the thematic core of this piece in her home in Portland, Oregon, and her improvisations were later re-pitched and layered into this piece, weaving in and out of the guitar duo.
«Krampus» was assembled through a similarly cyclical and repetitive collage-like process, but its atmosphere is raw and distorted, urgent and noisy. This piece is based on two late-night, long-take improvisations on detuned electric guitars by Balaber and St. Louis recorded in Queens, New York in October 2020, based on conceptual-spiritual-thematic guidance by Jagudajev. Jagudajev later interweaved her vocals, a field recording of Poutsma and Aarvik playing in the massive, reverberant foyer of the Kunsthall, and excerpts from Jenkins’ «Orbit Arps» piano improvisation.
Bård Aarvik (g), Jordan Balaber (el.g, processing), Nikima Jagudajev (v), June Jenkins (p), Salomon Poutsma (g), Lester St. Louis (g), Nikoline Ursin Erichsen (live elec)