The Alignment project

The project Alignment, which I started in 2018 during my master’s course in composition at the Grieg Academy, has been a part of my work since, with ensembles like Avgarde Ensemble and Kitchen Orchestra.

The background for going back to school to do a master, was a perceived need to create new types of musical visions and structures that supported an antifascist music project. So what is antifascist music? It could be many things. At the time, for me, it meant instrumental music whose dramaturgy depended on audible alignments towards an audible culture – or the opposite – audible contrasts. There is a whole spectrum in between these opposite musical “behaviors”, and as an improviser I investigate “behaviors” like these all the time in improvisation groups. However I was curious about trying this out within a “one composer paradigm”, working with a broader range of musicians and approaches. 

The interest in “audible alignment dramaturgy” led to an inquiry into the area between repetition and difference, which in science and philosophy are key concepts, investigated by for instance philosopher Gilles Deleuze. During the course of the master, my focus broadened from antifascist music to a form of music-making in which repetition/difference played a central part. This way of thinking dramaturgy led to the composing of different versions/works with the same ideas.  It compares to a musical multiverse-thinking in which I recycle and recontextualize ideas to a number of parallel universes (pieces). One of the consequences of working this way is that the repetition of the process makes one develop stronger control of whatever material one chooses to use.

The pool of ideas I have used in the Alignment project, can in short be described as a palette of 5 “primary colors”. I have given these “primary colors” the following names: Air, Heart, Distort, Echo and Gliss. The work with these colors has resulted in several works, and the essay I wrote for my master’s exam described the process of making some of them. 

The list of works is still growing:

4 short studies for grand piano (2018)

Align 1.0 (2019) for concert band

Align 2.0 (2020) for chamber ensemble

Lifeline (2020) for 4 trumpet players over Zoom

Framhald 5.1 (2021) for 18 musicians and electronics

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