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, Oslo Messingkvintett 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 anti-tribalist music project. So what is anti-tribalist music? It could be many things. At the time, I was working on deconstructing the concept march, for reasons further explained in the essay “Alignment – A musical recycling study”. Anti-tribalist music started to mean (to me) music whose dramaturgy depended on audible alignments towards an audible culture. Or to put it a different way, the form of the piece is created by or at least strongly influenced by opposite musical “behaviors” that differentiate or align towards one another – related to the concepts of «uniformity» or «non-uniformity» and how they translate into music. There is a whole spectrum in between 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, investigated by for instance philosopher Gilles Deleuze. During the course of the master, my focus broadened from anti-tribalist 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. 

Works that are part of the project:

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

Works that draw inspiration from the project:

Brass Quintet (2023)

En fortelling er som en fisk (2023) for symphony orchestra



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