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På skive

STEPHAN MEIDELL & BERGEN BAROKK

«Temporal Gardening»
AURORA RECORDS, ACDLP5114

Temporal Gardening explores early music instrumentation, performed by Bergen Barokk – recorder player Jostein Gundersen, Baroque cellist Siri Hilmen and harpsichord player Hans Knut Sveen – in dialogue with the live sampling and electronics of Norwegian, Bergen-based Stephan Meidell. It suggests a new sonic ecology growing from pseudo-Baroque music but playfully reimagined, reinterpreted, disassembled, remixed, and resampled. It was originally commissioned by composer-electronics player Meidell (known also as the guitarist-bassist for Erlend Apneseth Trio, Strings & Timpani and Cakewalk) for the Baroque ensemble Bergen Barokk in 2020.

Meidell is known as a musical adventurer who improvises his way through a plentitude of styles and frequently combines sounds from electronic, acoustic, and electromechanical instruments and machines and then recontextualizes them with his finely tuned intuition and sense of detail. Bergen Barokk was founded in 1994 and is today one of Norway’s leading early-music ensembles.

The nine pieces of Temporal Gardening are structured as a long suite, all titled after flowers, mushrooms, and trees whose characteristics match the sounds and the rich sonic ecology of this unique and mysterious project. The cover artwork by Bergen-based visual artist Aurora Solberg corresponds beautifully with the themes of real, acoustic themes imagined with fantasy-like textures when «time became fluid, dripping down the walls and floating on the ground», in the poetic description of Meidell.

Meidell arranged a stimulating electroacoustic ecology that would encourage improvisations with acoustic instruments using today’s technology. The Bergen Barokk has been expanded for this project with drums, functioning as speakers for the electronic manipulations of the ensemble. A double-bass recorder vibrates, a sub-woofer speaker is mounted inside a bass drum, and a live sampled harpsichord sounds through cymbals, gongs, and a snare drum. Meidell himself takes part as a musician in the performance, doing live sampling and electronic contributions.

Temporal Gardening sounds like a timeless and beautiful, highly immersive and psychedelic experience where the sonic garden’s real and imagined plants become intoxicated by smell, taste, and sound.

Eyal Hareuveni

Jostein Gundersen (tenor recorder, double-bass recorder), Siri Hilmen (Baroque cello), Hans Knut Sveen (harpsichord), Stephan Meidell (live sampling, electronics)

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