Proximities

“Proximities” (original Swedish title Närheter) was my first ever commission as a composer. The Swedish Radio asked me to make a text-sound composition so I decided to quit my job at the University and become a full time composer. You have to be young and crazy or very brave to do that kind of thing but it worked for me... The piece is a sequence of musical images portraying a trip through a landscape of voices an sounds. My idea was to try to create a feeling of the listener seated in an imaginary train looking out at a passing dreamy landscape having these voices creeping into his/her mind. I used some poetic material from two fantastic Swedish poets, Ella Hillborg (12 looks at reality) and Göran Sonnevi (The Impossible). Not having a big budget at hand I asked my friends to do the reading for me although not being professional actors. But they did a good work at it and I also had the Gothenburg Chamber Choir to sing a bit for which I am grateful. I also managed to get in touch with the Royal Technical University of Stockholm where they had a vocoder (for scientific purposes) that they kindly let me use. In fact the piece starts off with a rather long introduction using just the vocoder and some post processing. It took me a full nine months to make the piece and I probably made at least one thousand tape splices to put it all together on a number of tape reels. This was later transferred to a 16-channel multitrack tape recorder that the radio had in one of their new (at the time) studios.

The piece won the first prize in Bourges in the category “program music” the same year.