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Higlights Sonic Acts 2015 (#1): BJ Nilsen & Karl Lemieux

During the Sonic Acts Festival composer and sound recordist BJ Nilsen and experimental filmmaker Karl Lemieux will perform unearthed for the first time live in an audiovisual format at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, making full use of the perfect acoustics of the concert hall.

BJ Nilsen and Karl Lemieux travelled to Kirkenes in Norway’s northern extremes and across the Russian border to the mining towns Nikel and Zapolyarny and the abandoned city of Prirechny in Murmansk Oblast last October.

They made field recordings for a new collaborative audiovisual performance entitled unearthed. In the diary of their impressions while hunting for sounds in the extreme North they wrote: ‘Nikel’s red and white chimneys hiss and growl as they spew out clouds of smoke. The air is difficult to breath today. With little wind, the acoustics are more noticeable and sound travels in unexpected patterns between the blocks of buildings. There is also an interesting short echo effect in some open-air locations, perhaps resulting from the reflective façades on the buildings and the lack of vegetation.’ And later: ‘The first snow of the year has fallen, a layer an inch thick. The landscape is talking to us. No sign of wildlife. This first snow is a warning; in a few months the temperature could drop to well below minus 25 degrees with up to a metre of snow. The distant sound of cars from a nearby road fades in and out with the cold wind.’ The sound composition that resulted from their travels is included on a USB card with the book The Geologic Imagination.

BJ Nilsen is well known for his albums released on Touch (e.g., Eye Of The Microphone, 2013; and The Invisible City, 2010). He also collaborated with Chris Watson on Storm and Wind (2006, 2001). Karl Lemieux is the ninth member of the Montreal music collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor, for which he does live 16 mm film projections. 

Vrijdag 27 februari, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ (Amsterdam)