by espen sommer eide

Bridge over mud


A chord is like a scientific instrument probing the universe


The exploded lapsteel – photo: Isabelle Vigier

Performed at Sonic Acts / Stedelijk Musem 2015. From the Sonic Acts blog:

Hesitatingly plucking, the sparse ringing tones echo the tonality of bells, with the formants gradually fading into drawn out ululations. He moves from plucking, to running a slide over the strings. A laser beam mounted on the slide shines down on the pages, where he has sketched sharp straight lines to represent the frets, and circles for tonal movements. Each hand drawn score indicates a different modal tuning system based on the equal ratio tuning system of Pythagoras. The book is a copy of Pythagoras’ music theory de-accessioned from Eide’s local library in Bergen, Norway.

He begins to layer the sounds, creating a chorus of voices from cavernous depths: a choir of rock and soil, hum and steam, roar and crumble. Harmonically related, yet in non-western tuning, the texture beats against itself until Eide filters out the mid-tones and reduced the bit resolution. The choir becomes a distant rattling crackle with occasional comet-like glissando’s reminiscent of the sounds of the cosmic radiant ionosphere.

Leaving the loop to gradually fade away, Eide moves to the sculptures of aluminum dowels that echo the forms of Malevich’s supremacist paintings hanging in the background. The dowels are cut to equal ratios to echo the Pythagorean tuning system.

He loosens the structure, and rotates the poles so that they are no longer parallel, running his hand over the metal to set off a resonance. Moving around the structure, he sets off harmonic relationships on horizontal and vertical planes, so that we hear overtones moving and fading through time, creating ghost notes and rhythms inside the timbres. He swings a loose pole in the range of the others, interrupting the phase of the frequencies and causing irregular patterned beating before adding sticky paper to the end of the poles, to create roughening the smooth sine tones.

Eide told me that he usually plays these sculpture on mountaintops in Norway, letting the sounds ring out through the trees. Here, he plays with theory and structure, articulating theory by reading words in music. Gradually adding noise to knowledge and the sound of pure tones, the work “a tuned chord is like a scientific instrument probing the universe” emulates a kind of echo-location of tuning, feeling out possible harmonic and formal relationships.

Alyssa Moxley
www.alyssa-moxley.com



A online review of the whole event from Metropolis M here.

Antisolar ∞ 7: Phonophani – Epsilon

Released and sold out. Damn those collectors!

Antisolar ∞ series is a small-run endless loop cassettes label. The artists invited present a piece specially designed for this format.These cassettes are handmade one by one. It's a lo-fi product. These type of cassette may not work on every cassette deck since they have no sprocket/teeth. (it should work fine on a vintage two-head design cassette deck. But, for example, it doesn't work on Nakamichi LX-3 or Tascam 122 mkIII). The cassette is meant to last around 10,000 cycles = 500 hours. But you never know. A tape is a tape. 10 copies is not much. But it takes a lot of time to build them. The cassettes will be available exclusively here. Only one copy per person. 

No pre-order / No demo / Thank you

Tags: phonophani

New instrument

Debuts in a new musical performance for Sonic Acts, February 26. More info here


Winter events

Happy new year! Some upcoming winter shows:
12. January, Bergen Kjøtt, 20x20x20 collaborative concerts (with Thea Hjelmeland (song), Odd Martin Skålnes (song/gitar), Øystein Skar (synth), Stephan Meidell (gitar), Espen Sommmer Eide (div elektronikk), Øyvind Hegg-Lunde (trommer) Ana Jorge (visuell kunst), Guro Rimeslåtten og Ole Martin Meland (dans)).
17. January (Kvien & Sommer live), Arts birthday, Norrlandsoperan Umeå, Sweden
26. February (musical performance), Sonic Acts (opening at Stedelijk) Amsterdam. 
28. February (presentation of Material Vision – Silent Reading), Sonic Acts conference.

Came across this quote that seems to explain it all:

"I’m thinking about the piece Espen Sommer Eide played in the school in Nikel on Saturday evening. He basically took what I guess was a first inversion of a harmonic minor triad – the kind of chord you play before the tragic resolution of a sad symphony about your deafness, or whatever – and he made it ooze, sort of atonally, a little bit around the edges, and made it bleed a little bit. Then he took the oozing-bleeding and bent it and moved it around and started playing with it. It was as if he took some kind of hard clay and warmed it up and bent it, transmuting it until it became something much more sensual, something that set the stage for what happened next..."
– Timothy Morton, interviewed after the Dark Ecology journey.


Structural metaphors of western thought recited in the Vedic style


Voice artist Trine Hylander Friis interpretation of a composition by Espen Sommer Eide. The melodic structure is based on the indian Vedic recital tradition. The list of metaphors used as a “libretto” in the piece, is a system of conceptual metaphors based on Lakoff and Johnsons book "Metaphors we live by" (1980). Some would even go as far as to say they are a universal system of the way we think.

Photogravure prints installed at UiT

Finally my series of prints were installed at the Technology building. Thanks to Trykkeriet, Bergen for great collaboration, and Krane for the frames. More official documentation to come soon. (And the release of the short film I made while eye-trekking on Bear Island)



Bagpipe, Guitar & Buchla


Kvien & Sommer (live)

My new collaboration with Mari Kvien Brunvoll debuts at Landmark on Friday.


Rural Reading Room

People ask: What is Rural Reading Room? One cannot discuss trivialities. Open reflection can lead to unknown chemical reactions. Art in the periphery serves local, regional, national or geopolitical goals. Local art is by definition somewhere else. It has to generate, whether it is increased tourism, border problematics, indigenous people issues, arctic oil drilling or ecological growth. The local artist is the useful, well paid idiot. The local has to be something other than itself: art as an interesting project or future prospect. Local history is history without development. The local is unique without being interesting.


It is not easy running the Rural Reading Room. It is also difficult to pronounce. Trying to keep warm, we were forced to burn the table earlier this week. The table has been with us since the beginning, as a site for activities and conversations. Now it needs to be restored. Either we buy a prefabricated, boring table. Or, we try to rebuild the leftovers at the risk of an ugly result.

Rural Reading Room is Espen Sommer Eide, Kristin Tårnesvik, Hilde M. Methi, Morten Torgersrud


Time and place: LM1, Le Maires vei 1 (outdoors), Kirkenes, Norway. Friday 28th of November, 6-7 pm.

www.ruralreadingroom.com


Photogravure printing


Photogravure Printing @ Trykkeriet Bergen. Pulled by the master David Stordahl. More info at http://silentreading.tumblr.com/ Music: Alog - Walk the earth

Oslo Reviews


So doing work in Oslo has its advantages when it comes to reviews (Norway is a country where all critics live in Oslo and don't like to move much, he noted in a bitter tone). Here are some recent reviews of Korsmos Ugressarkiv and Broen over Gjørme that has been published the last few weeks:

scenekunst.no
kunstkritikk.no
dagsavisen
klassekampen (ugress)
klassekampen (vt)

radio review NRK (vt)
radio review NRK (ugress)


Autumn shows

So finally I got some time to play a few concerts again. Visual art is a time vampire I hope to kill. 

11. October Phonophani @ Dark Ecology, Nikel, Russia
5. December Espen Sommer Eide & Mari Kvien Brunvoll @ Utmark, Bergen, Norway

Tags: phonophani

The Distribution of the Audible

Opening as part of "Undertones" exhibition in Maastricht 29. June- 24. August, is my new piece called The Distribution of the Audible. Installed in the cellars of the Minderbroedersberg.

Visit Marres website for more information.

The work is a reflection upon the role of sound in times of unrest and uproar. How is sound distributed from the government down to the individual, and how does the unified voice of the people ecco back to the places of power? Where and how is the structure of sound distributed in society? The main part of the installation consists of a custom made public address sound system constructed of discarded public speakers from various countries and organisations. The speakers, that previously were fixed outside and inside buildings, have been made portable and battery powered so they can easily be moved and displaced to new locations. The frequency of the sound from these speakers is narrow and shrill, and purposly shaped to make a human voice cut through the noise and clamour of a crowded place.

Specially for the "Undertones" exhibition, they are installed in the old monastery and prison cellars of the Minderbroeders. In what used to be places of silent repentance and reflection, the artist has created a site specific sound composition.


Bear Island expedition 2014

I am preparing to go to the polar island Bjørnøya this summer. I will record material for an upcoming permanent and public art installation for the University of Tromsøs new building 'Teknologibygget'. In short I am currently building a mobile setup for eye-tracking, to track my eyes while gazing at (and tuning into) the special landscape of this area. The results will be both performative, musical and visual prints. The research part of the project goes into the area of landscape philosophy and psychology of reading.

The work is titled: "Silent Reading – Material Vision".

I will write more about this the coming weeks and months, and feel free to follow the tumblr blog for the project that will be regularly updated to document the progress.