Punkt 2013

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Punkt 2013

Postby silentwings on Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:48 am

Punkt 2011 was a landmark musical experience for me. It broadened my musical horizons and introduced me to some new musicians whose albums have now become firm favourites. I shared some notes that year which were posted under 'General Discussion', and were just intended to give those who weren't able to be in Kristiansand a glimpse of what it's like. I will do the same this year and I've posted under 'Collaborations' because so many of the participants are David's collaborators, and of course because Punkt 2013 features the debut of David's latest collaborative venture - 'The Kilowatt Hour'.

Punkt is totally unique because musicians and punters rub shoulders as they appreciate what is being performed on stage. The 'rubbing shoulders' experiences started for me even on the way to Norway as Sidsel Endresen shared the short flight in a small turboprop from Copenhagen to Kristiansand.

The main venue this year is Kick Scene, a nightclub in the centre of town and smaller than the theatre used last time around. There are probably around 350 people in the venue, with only half that number seated, and many of us standing on raised areas around the venue. There is a bar at the back so you don't need to go far during the course of the evening!

The first performance of David's collaborators was a remix by Jan Bang and Erik Honore - who were joined by Mathias Eick - of the opening set by Mariam the Believer. This year the remixes are not in a separate room, and the instant the main act left the stage the rear curtain was pulled back to reveal the remixers whose music started straight away. This brings home the immediacy of what is produced, and it was interesting to hear elements of the previous performance brought into a new context, including the breathy vocals of Mariam Wallentin. Mathias Eick, who has two ECM albums to his name, played some beautiful trumpet over the textures and atmospheres created by Jan and Erik.

Next up was what turned out to be a real treat. Pianist Tigran Hamasyan and Jan Bang. Tigran's playing was sometimes sweet and melodic, sometimes angular and rhythmical, and he also used the strings within the instrument to create sounds and atmospheres. The counterpoint to this was Jan's mixing, often taking elements from Tigran's performance - for instance his whistled accompaniment of a harmony - and playing it back into the mix alongside Tigran's live playing. For the last section, they were joined on stage by Eivind Aarset who contributed guitar driven atmospherics. Parts of this performance were delicate and quite beautiful.

I recently obtained the C D of the soundtrack to the film Victoria which features Tigran and Jan (with Erik Honore and Arve Henriksen). This also has some lovely playing in a more traditional film score context.

The remix was by Erik Honore and Ivar Grydeland, a multi-instrumentalist. This time as the main rear curtain went back a thin gauze curtain remained between the remixers and the audience, onto which images were projected of the remixers at work. As an audience we could see both the shadowy presence of Erik and Ivar, and their projected images. The remix itself brought back some of the piano melodies and those whistled lines from Tigran.

Finally for me this evening was the 'double release' concert by Arve Henriksen and Jan Bang featuring music from their new albums, both released on the day, 'Places of Worship' and 'Narrative from the Subtropics' respectively. The line up on stage were all there alongside David at Punkt 2011 - from left to right - Erik Honore, Ingar Zach, Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang. With the material all new, it was a different experience from the performance of Arve's Cartography in 2011, when familar pieces were brought to life before you. It was no less enjoyable for that, however, and the varied trumpet playing of Arve Henriksen is quite wonderful to hear live, sometimes lyrical and soaring, sometimes used percussively, sometimes vibrating with bursts of air. Arve's falsetto singing is also heavenly.

I love the way at Punkt that the musicians come straight off stage and stand with the audience to hear the next act, with contributors from the days ahead also present. Around me at various times were Jan, Erik, Arve, Ingar, Eivind, Tigran, as well as Christian Fennesz, Sidsel Endresen and Nils Petter Molvaer. Adrian Molloy from David's management team and Yuka Fuji were also there.

All in all, a great start to the festival and an evening that will live long in the memory.

Tomorrow, the Kilowatt Hour, in another local venue.

I hope this post isn't too long, I know that if I'd not been here I would have appreciated a little window onto the event, and I hope my descriptions can provide that for others who are interested.
Last edited by silentwings on Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby inkinthewell on Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:47 am

silentwings wrote:I hope this post isn't too long, I know that if I'd not been here I would have appreciated a little window onto the event, and I hope my descriptions can provide that for others who are interested.


Thank you. I enjoyed and appreciated your post very much.
All the best for tonight. :D
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby svendutchmountains on Sat Sep 07, 2013 7:26 am

Great review... It does well to relay the intimate atmosphere at the venue. What's great as well is the knowledge that do many of David's fans have taken the time to fly across to Kristiansand. I know that there's a bunch if us here! I spotted Gerrit and Dirk, and know David N is also at the same hotel as me... Gives it a certain je ne sais quoi! Shame Chad's not here to enjoy this afternoon's party at 17:00!

See you at the Fonix!
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby ob8 on Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:32 am

Thanks SilentWings hope you will do another review after TKH show
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby kitaj on Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:12 pm

inkinthewell wrote:
silentwings wrote:I hope this post isn't too long, I know that if I'd not been here I would have appreciated a little window onto the event, and I hope my descriptions can provide that for others who are interested.


Thank you. I enjoyed and appreciated your post very much.
All the best for tonight. :D


ditto! :-)
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby svendutchmountains on Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:24 pm

That last sentence... "If you liked being born, you'll love dying". Genius! Goosebumps all over!
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby svendutchmountains on Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:26 pm

svendutchmountains wrote:That last sentence... "If you liked being born, you'll love dying". Genius! Goosebumps all over!


Who's the narrator? Any ideas? Charles Bukowski?
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby inkinthewell on Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:03 pm

This is what I found:
Song (Poem)
Author: Wright, Franz
Pub. date: January 2011
First Line: Wysteria rain, where is your child-mother?
Last line: If you liked being born you'll love dying.
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby svendutchmountains on Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:43 pm

From what I've heard after the show... The poem is indeed by Mr. Wright, who apparently is paralyzed/terminally ill and very close to dying. He's written and recorded this poem with the expectation he would die very soon. Given the context the words are chilling!

Overall, I thought it was a great show, though I felt (personally) Christian Fennesz was on the background and I'd expect Stephan to become more prominent as the work develops. What is very obvious is that it is work IN PROGRESS and will develop from performance to performance.

I'll leave it to silent wings to write a full review of the show: I'm simply not eloquent enough in my language skill. Bit.. I'm glad I travelled all the way across Europe to the southern tip of Norway to see this!
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby silentwings on Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:27 am

The anticipation of 'The Kilowatt Hour' concert was in the air all day ahead of the 5pm start on Day 2 of Punkt 2013. This was only heightened by the experiences that you only get here in the intimacy of Kristiansand - e.g.. strolling around town to check out the venue and seeing David walking along the street himself, no doubt on his way to a rehearsal.

This concert was the only one at a different venue at this year's Punkt - Fonix Kino - the local cinema. It was a slightly bizarre experience waiting to go in, as the locals headed to or from other screens, oblivious to the fact that a concert some of us had gladly travelled half way across Europe to see was about to take place!

The cinema turned out to be an excellent venue for the experience. Enough space for the set ups of Stephan Mathieu, Christian Fennesz and David Sylvian, and a huge screen to display the backdrop of visuals to enhance the experience.

As the concert was introduced, there was a clear message that photographs were not allowed, since TKH would be touring, this was a 'world premiere', and there was a call not to spoil it for those seeing the show later on the tour. I'm told the official festival photographer was allowed to take shots for the first few minutes, so hopefully these will be seen sometime.

I really don't want to spoil the impact of the performance for anyone, nor to disrespect the wishes of the musicians, so stop reading now if you want a complete surprise (!), and I will try to give just flavour of the elements of the performance.

Stephan, Christian and David, dressed in black. Around 70 minutes of new music, continuously played, with a strong element of improvisation. Each musician with laptop(s), mixer, and an instrument with which to introduce new live, looped and sampled elements to the soundscape. A phonoharp, guitar, an upright piano.

The music went through different phases, with distant 'clangs' providing an occasional percussive element, recurrent string samples, and the swirl of atmospheric sound that you would expect from these three musicians.

As already mentioned on this thread, the performance was framed with recorded readings which I suspect were all from the haunting prose poems of the Pulitzer Prize winning Franz Wright. Sven has spotted 'Song'. 'Wintersleep' is there too.

I'm sure Sven is right - and for me this is the fascination of the whole project - this will develop over the course of the performances. A great new context in which to see David working, and he certainly was creating sound in a different way on stage than I've experienced before.

We then rushed back to Kick Scene to see the remix by Jan Bang and Erik Honore, with the vocals of Sidsel Endresen overlaid. Those who have ''Uncommon Deities' will be familiar with Sidel's striking, other-worldly, singing. Jan and Erik created a more tumultuous sound with the elements of TKH's performance, with the spoken word drifting into the mix.

As ever with David's work a new direction can be startling - but that's one of the things I love about it. Taking new directions, expanding the sphere of reference. If I had to sum up TKH, I'd say that it was like seeing a twenty-first century Plight & Premonition created on stage in the moment, before your eyes. That was captivating for me.

I can't make Italy, but am envious of those who can.
Last edited by silentwings on Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby inkinthewell on Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:07 am

Thanks Sven and silentwings.
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby ob8 on Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:19 am

Thanks guys for the reviews I can't till I get to hear it myself
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby silentwings on Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:18 pm

Day 3, the final day of Punkt, and whilst The Kilowatt Hour had performed there was still plenty of interest for those wishing to see some of David's collaborators perform.

Jan Bang and percussionist Auden Klieve performed a remix of the extraordinary duo of Etenesh Wassie, who performs traditional Ethiopian vocal improvisation, and Mathieu Sourisseau, who plays acoustic bass in a variety of styles including strummed, picked, and strings brushed with a toothbrush (!) to generate a drone that was then looped for the duration of a song. That's what Punkt gives you, things you are never likely to see elsewhere! The remix was extremely energetic and the more you see Jan Bang work live with these, the more you appreciate the work that he is doing, bringing in elements of the voice, those bass styles, and then pulling elements of Auden's percussion back into the mix alongside his live playing.

Next was Eivind Aarset and band, including Jan, with a performance of material from his ECM release 'Dream Logic'. Eivind was part of the 'Plight and Premonition' band line up with David at Punkt 2011, was due to be part of the 'Implausible Beauty' tour band, and appears on the track 'Where's Your Gravity' - sharing the music credits on that track alongside David and Jan Bang. His guitar work was backed with two drummer/percussionists, a bassist, and Jan's mixing. Tempos ranged from gentle to manic, and the percussion was particularly expressive with bells ringing, a saw played with a bow to incredible effect, and tight rhythms.

A high point then for me as Arve Henriksen took to the stage, Jan staying in position and the curtain going back to reveal Erik Honore in the remix bay at the back of the stage. Their remix of Dream Logic was gentle and atmospheric, with trademark trumpet playing from Arve - ending with the trumpet struck against one of the bells on the adjacent percussion rig.

The final performance I witnessed was Nils Petter Molvaer (who featured on Jan and Erik's remix of 'Mother & Child' on David's Camphor album), playing amongst the varied beats of Moritz von Oswald. There is a real range in Nils Petter's playing, from Hassell-like breathy textures, to the flourishes of the instrument played with full energy, the notes squealing and straining out of the brass.

And so came the time to leave Kristiansand and return home. A very different experience to 2011, but just as rich. Then the new experience was David's contribution to the 'Uncommon Deities' installation, alongside the live premiere of 'Plight and Premonition' and a live rendition of his spoken word contributions to Arve's 'Cartography' album. This time the
world premiere of 'The Kilowatt Hour'.

The flight back to Copenhagen was also taken by Arve Henriksen, and there was a moment to say 'thank you' for his contribution to a great festival as we parted for different connecting flights.

Perhaps someone can take up the reins and write a little about the upcoming shows in Italy. I will be reading with much interest.
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby ob8 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:46 pm

Thanks SW. I will happily take up the story and post about the show that I am going to. Hopefully I will be one of many sharing their experience.
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Re: Punkt 2013

Postby inkinthewell on Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:35 pm

Thank you so much, guys, silentwings especially. You made me the disappointment for not being lighter to bear. :D

silentwings wrote:Next was Eivind Aarset and band, including Jan, with a performance of material from his ECM release 'Dream Logic'.

Very good record.
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