Earbitten

Earbitten started with an accident. In 2003 I was contacted by BEK1 in Bergen in connection with a technical problem. The computer in the studio had crashed, and for some reason started to produce sound on its own. This sound was so complex and full of patterns that the person who was in the studio2 started recording right away. BEK immediately decided to arrange a workshop where composers and musicians would meet to exchange ideas and create music based on this recording. This resulted in the CD release Crashing Happy.

The recording was full of musical patterns and structures. Not musical intentionality in the regular sense, but still a material with a character of its own. This found digital sound object contained audio information that otherwise might have been censored out. By using this alien object, it was perhaps possible to free oneself from ones own formal boundaries and aesthetic preferences. The sound source, most likely the computer translating its own memory into sound, was so full of the computer's own fingerprints that the media itself came to the fore, while the usual hyper-realism that characterize digital sound was pushed into the background. Instead we got a mirror image of the digital system's own processes.

The sounding material was rich, but in order to translate this sound object into musical events over time I needed something more. After countless listening sessions I kept the parts that were of particular musical interest; parts that consisted of  particularly concise information. Subsequently the sound clips were deconstructed down to its smallest musical components so that they could  be built up again through a computer program. Now I had flexible models where I could change all the parameters of the sound while keeping its original character. Against this background, the various parts of Earbitten were composed.

Earbitten started with an accident and ended with an accident. As I wrote the music I was unfortunate enough to cut an ear in two. Unlike Van Gogh, it was neither hallucinations, prostitutes or brothels involved, but simply a momentary loss of balance.  Experiencing the fear of becoming half a Beethoven, stone deaf but untalented, was nevertheless  traumatic, and this experience ate its way into the music. Ear Bitten was by the way also the name of the debut album by the Australian industrial band Severed Heads.

The double CD Crashing Happy was released by BEK in 2006 and consisted of a collection of compositions based on the audio material from the computer crash. The music was composed by: Øyvind Brandtsegg, Espen Sommer Eide, Asbjørn Blokkum Flø, Ulf Knudsen, Jørgen Larsson, Francisco López and Thorolf Thuestad.

Sound clip 1

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Sound clip 2

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Sound clip 3

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Sound clip 4

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Complete piece

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1 Bergen Center for Electronic Arts.
2 Thomas Sivertsen


 
 


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