There were no photos or recordings from the event. I only had some memories. Like the ceiling above stage constantly rumbling to low end frequencies. People in the audience sitting on the floor, eyes closed. Someone telling me it sounded like Op:l Bastards; a compliment although very misguided.
And then I had the source tapes (and minidiscs) I had prepared for the gig.
According to some research we unconsciously modify our memories and possibly create false memories over time. Now, I’ve deliberately made a false memory of sorts. Here’s a live recording from October 2018, made using those source tapes prepared 20 years ago.
I’m sharing this to whoever has some 40+ minutes to focus on sound alone – preferably on the floor, with eyes closed. Rumbling ceiling optional.
RESOLUTION / KUMOUS screening 3. Curators: Taija Goldblatt, Onni Lillqvist, Shubhangi Singh Date: 29.9.2018 Location: Yard of Cultural House Laikku, Tampere, Finland
Videos: Black Lives Matter | Sasha Huber and Petri Saarikko City of Plastic | Alberto Reza Bow, Kaboom, Splash | Veera Salmio Olemisesta / On Being | Taija Goldblatt Dawn to Dust | Shubhangi Singh 30 dias de patineta | Henry Solonzo MONDODIFFICILE@MEGAMIXX | Teemu Raudaskoski Unknown Animal ｜ Anna Björklund I WANT MY REVOLUTION ｜ Niko Skorpio
20 years ago today, I released my debut solo album. I called it Grey Bloom [xero vol zero] and put it out on 12″ vinyl on my own small underground label Some Place Else. Always thinking bigger than my resources allow, it was supposed to be followed shortly by another LP with a related theme and tracks recorded at the same period. The album’s subtitle was supposed to refer to that, though in retrospect it seems like a planned one-off… “vol zero” ? Anyways, plans changed, other things came up and the follow-up got buried and forgotten.
Grey Bloom was a rather bleak and minimal album recorded with a very lo-fi setup that included a 486 PC computer (for some basic sound generation), a delay pedal, a bass guitar, some cheap keyboard, fm radio etc, recorded with a 4-tracker and mixed down to a minidisc (which I had just acquired to ‘upgrade’ from C-cassette masters).
The pinnacle of the album’s success for me happened when Jukka Mikkola played it on his radio show Avaruusromua, the legendary Finnish show for experimental and ambient music through which I had learned about the likes of Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno and more, back in the early 1990’s. It was absolutely the greatest honour that could have happened to the album, I was so happy about that!
This summer I’ve looked back and spent a few days with my old tape archive, going through master tapes and original 4-track recordings, to refresh my memory on past deeds a bit, and to transfer everything to digital. There are plenty of recordings that never ended up on a release, and to my surprise I found some of them a lot more interesting than what I chose to release back then. It’s all lo-fi sound collage type experiments recorded on a 4-track, so there’s a particular charm of tape hiss and other artifacts involved. Selected bits may come out in some form in the future, those interested should stay tuned on this frequency.
The rotating camera captured the show. Composer Shinji Kanki conducts the orchestra that on this occasion featured Tommi Keränen (HCO founder), Pilvari ‘Nosfe’ Pirtola, Jusu Vehviläinen (Pink Twins), Ovro, Ibrahim Terzic, O Samuli A, Jukka Vallisto (Lost Weight / Half A Map), Emi Maeda, Lauri Luhta, myself and some others I fail to remember at this time (sorry).
I was in the dolphin section, the role of which was to imitate the pulse sounds that the dolphin language is based on. My setup, based on Reaktor modular environment, was a rather simple but accurate sine wave pulse generator.
Interesting to listen to this after almost 15 years from its performance — it still sounds awesome, especially the latter half where the piece gets going and reaches a kind of energetic equilibrium.
Helsinki Computer Orchestra rehearsals at Sibelius Academy. Photo by Shinji Kanki.
There’s the notion that the artist is always as work, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. At least some parts of their brain are at work. I have to agree, and often it’s not the question of choice but simply the way the mind works. A fresh example follows.
Yesterday I borrowed an old VCR (my own VCRs had been dead long ago) to check out some tapes I made 20+ years ago (more about them later). To test the player I grabbed the first VHS tape I found from my storage. It turned out to be The Hunger (1983), directed by Tony Scott and starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon. Unfortunately but perhaps not unexpectably, the old VCR turned out so hungry it ate the video tape right up! I don’t blame the player, it is totally understandable by circumstances – shelved away like the decaying former partners in the vampire queen’s attic in the film would make anyone crave for anything to chew on.
Anyways, I turned to more imminent things on my ToDo-list, making my way towards a thing that had a deadline set for tomorrow (ie. today). The thing was an assignment for a film course by renowned artist-researcher-lecturer Kari Yli-Annala, on topics related to hauntology, Russian cosmism, David Lynch and whatnot. So I had that in the back of my mind while doing the other stuff on my list… but the day grew short and I had to push the assignment over to the last day and get some sleep.
One of my dogs woke me up at 3 am to let him run his errands outside. After, I went back to bed but couldn’t get sleep. Something was bubbling under in the unconscious and kept me awake. And it suddenly dawned on me I had practically done the course assignment unknowingly! Hauntology, the VHS and the VCR, The Hunger… it’s all there and just needs some camera work and writing as a red thread to connect the dots.
Now it’s 7 am and I’m writing this down for personal amusement, having mostly finished the assignment as well as a small media art piece (or two) related to that. More about those later; the Instagram photos here are merely for fun and documentation. This note is to illustrate how the ‘office hours’ are sometimes so off.. and… that the conscious mind is not always up to date on what’s going on.
I still agree with David Lynch on what he says on the video above, about watching movies on an iPhone. That was a decade ago, but the point remains. It’s impossible to achieve the kind of immersion that you get on a large screen in a dark movie theater, no matter how pristine your phone’s or tablet’s retina screen is.
For similar reasons, I’ve been hesitant to share online some of my videos and cinematic works, since many of them are installations designed for specific site and setting. Oneline, one cannot achieve the same experience as on large projections, special screens and darkened spaces.
Now I’ve partly changed my mind. I still think one should experience the works in the environment and setting meant for them, but if that’s not possible, online streaming is better than nothing at all.
That said, my video works from 2011-2017 (most of them, at least) can now be viewed on Vimeo. They’re also found on my website where there’s more info, stills, photos and related stuff.
So, feel free to watch wherever, whenever and however you prefer. In general: the larger the screen, the louder the sound, the darker the room, the fewer the people and other distractions between you and the work, the better.
2017 was another busy year, quite work-focused (as usual). After some contemplation, some accomplishments will follow. Scroll down for obscure notes called “plans for 2018″…
TH€€€F, a sound project that had been incubated for some time, surfaced with a release on PARAFERAL Sound in February. Also a special TH€€€F radio project Shred.fm was presented on location in Espoo in May, and made later available for download.
Feedback – solo exhibition at Galleria 2, Pirkkala in April. Subtitled “samples from cyclic processes”, the show presented works related to feedback, recycling and loops.
A collaborative film/installation project Out 2 presented at the Research Pavilion in Venice Biennale in August.
+ More TH€€€F, on record and live.
+ Two new cinematic works in progress to be completed.
+ Finish my Master’s thesis for Aalto university.
+ Collaborations with acquaintances old & new.
+ Archival excavations, to let some selected old works (buried but not forgotten) be seen in new light.
+ Last but certainly not least: Go out more than last year, to meet old and new friends.
A frame grab from a work-in-progress moving image piece The Unfolding.
Janus, the two-faced god of beginnings, passages and transitions, here symbolizes the Winter Solstice. The darkest spot of the yearly cycle invites one to a pause; to look back and worth to time passed and time to come. It is time to make sense of things done, and to make plans for the future.
Shred.fm is an electroacoustic composition based on live sampling of random radio broadcasts. Samples are splintered and resequenced relying on chance, intuition and bleeding edge algorithms. Shred.fm is an immersive abstract sound collage, occasionally reminding of the pop music it plundered, mostly ploughing the fields of sound art and noise. Shred.fm is a piece of tape music for broadcast radio.
The initial version of Shred.fm was generated in April 2017 for broadcast via the All Ears Radio Project. The outcome of any subsequent versions will depend entirely on the temporal and locational circumstances therein.
TH€€€F is a plunderphonic sound art project founded by Niko Skorpio. Focusing on live sampling of radio broadcasts and recorded music, TH€€€F tears down the cultural notions of order and convention and lets something new emerge from the debris. What might appear as noise or nonsense to a culturally conditioned mind may unfold as vast non-euclidian landscapes or sentient sonic entities to one temporarily liberated from such constraints. As such, TH€€€F is a new kind of psychedelic music aimed for deep listening and self-exploration.
I’m currently working on my Master’s thesis for ViCCA/Aalto University, it deals with road movies to some extent, obviously with related reading, writing, watching and filming on the to do list…
The other day, taking the usual procrastinatory detour, I checked some news headlines and learned that Malcolm Young had passed away. (Well, sir, have a fine and restful journey onward and thanks for laying the major cornerstones for hard & heavy rock with the juggernaut called AC/DC.)
While finding my way back from the data swamp to actual tasks at hand, I again remembered a film I had partially seen way back but didn’t know the name or any details about it. Call it obsessive or whatever, but I often get these little flashbacks from films that I’ve forgotten about; not knowing what films they are or how to successfully find info on them is somewhat frustrating, and they keep haunting me.
Anyways, this particular flick, or at least the parts I remember, deals with highways in the American desert and a sort of demon cop driving a police car in pursuit of someone or something. Well, cars, highways and the desert relate to my thesis, so I thought why not try to check out again if I managed to find it this time around. Googling for demon cop, police car, desert, highway etc. and wow, this time I actually get what I was looking for!
So it seems the film is Highway to Hell! Synchronicity, coincidence, whatever you want to call it, but I’m certain the news about mr. Young triggered a chain of events in the subconscious mind.
The AC/DC classic is featured on the film trailer as well…
Looking forward to watching this undoubtedly fine piece of early 1990’s B-grade horror cheese, all of it this time around. (Well, shot 1989 but first released 1991 to be exact.)