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Low Motion   —   performed by my kooky friends

Whenever someone here in California asks if I miss my home country, I usually tell them that it isn't really the country I miss but the people — and more so my closest friends that I left behind.  Although a few of them have visited me, I still miss spending more quality time with them.  Unfortunately, my current status doesn't allow me to travel abroad.

And since this "current status" also creates havoc for some of my work (I can't go and perform my music outside the US anymore) I was recently reminded of what my real friends are willing to do for me; they rallied together to perform one of my most intricate pieces — a computer music piece written for a tap-dancer.  This piece, "Low Motion", was initially commissioned by my hero Geir Johnson, and thanks to him has been performed all over the world, including Argentina, France, Japan, and Norway, as well as in the US.

Below you'll find three video clips of a performance from last year.  The first clip shows my crazy artist friends who made it all happen.  The second clip shows the dance rehearsal, and if you scroll all the way down, you'll find a third clip from the concert itself.  Before watching them, I suggest you read the text vis-a'-vis each video so you'll understand better what's going on.  Remember to give the videos a few minutes to load, they are fairly big (~10Mb). 


—   My Euro Friends   —

The first video clip below shows the aforementioned artist friends goofing off in the hotel 3am in the morning, after the performance.  They are:

      Petrus    (swedish)
      Guri    (norwegian)
      Gajdos    (czech)
      Roy    (yank)

The guy behind the camera is Roy (you see him at the end of the clip).  I've known Roy since 1990 — he is actually my oldest American friend.  Whenever I have some important work to do, I always wish he could sit on my shoulder — it's just amazing how bright and resourceful this guy is.  I also admire his engagements in politics and social issues.  He's also very generous (whether he's picking up the dinner tab or paying for my root-canal, there's never strings attached) and he's the most reliable person I know (at least when it really counts).  If there's anyone in this world I can trust, it's Roy.

Speaking of raw smartness, Gajdos is the man — anything that can possibly get thrown at him, he'll take on & solve... as long as he wants to, that is.  But now when he has become a full-time rocker, he gives a rat's ass in most everything that involves money, discipline and/or pride — he even gave up a very lucrative gig at Sony Ericsson to pursue divine freakiness.  Naturally, I love this guy.  Gajdos was also the driving force behind getting this performance off the ground.  In the video clip he's the guy in the motorcycle jacket who sits playing with that dopey gyro-thingee while discussing alternative LSD tripping with Guri.

Guri is the person I've spent the most time with in my life (almost the same amount of time I've spent with all of the other people combined ;^)   Being one of the most challenging persons I've ever dealt with, she sort of raised me to become who I am today, (so blame her).  I always get soft-hearted thinking back on all the good times we've had together.  Since she's the AntiChrist of verbal articulation, it's probably only people who know her through me or through her art who actually understand how special and brilliant she is.  In the clip you'll get a glimpse of her kooky side — initially she is (mostly) reserved & pragmatic, but then when she finally gets this silly gyro-thing in her hand, she turns giddy as a schoolgirl.  I couldn't stop laughing when I first watched it — it's so Guri.

Petrus is my oldest friend, period.  His little brother and I were fierce billiard rivals back when I was a kid.  I've always felt very close to Petrus — he is the most unaffected and sincere person I know, with both a conscience and a heart of gold.  He and I have quite similar backgrounds — not only did we grow up in the same town and share the same friends, we were also often part of the same cultural and political gangs ("Bryggis" etc.).  Whether we spray-tagged Shell gas-stations, did house occupations, head-banged at punk concerts or fell in love with Laurie Anderson — we constantly crossed paths.  Besides, it's always a treat fighting with him, no matter if we argue about politics, ethics, aesthetics, or philosophy — this man is almost as stubborn as he is smart, (of course his refusal of using any Microsoft products whatsoever, only hurt him... and hence, isn't very smart..?!).  But that's Petrus in a nutshell.

It's funny how all of them appear like dopers, while in reality none of them use drugs... but I guess that's how my friends behave 4am in the morning after performing my piece.


—   Rehearsal   —

The video-clip below is from the rehearsal prior to the concert, showing Petrus, Gajdos, and Henning, (Roy is behind the camera).

Henning, the dancer, initially performed this piece for me at its premier (about a hundred years ago) and has also done it a few times since.  The most exceptional of those performances was the one we did at the Bourges Festival outside Paris.  As our concert was delayed by the previous one, we couldn't go on stage until 1am in the morning!  However, since I felt that our performances had become too much of a routine, this time I decided to stir things up by having Henning not only smoke a cigarette on stage, but now also drink a bottle of wine... and finish it off while dancing!  Although the cigarette had always been part of the piece, an entire bottle of wine during twelve minutes of intricate dancing made him... ehm... go crazy.  Never seen anything like it, but the audience loved it.

After the concert, we teetered through the French summer night back to the hotel, slugging more wine while dancing and howling Broadway tunes.  Yea, sometimes life is just perfect.

It's funny though, when I first composed this piece, I was dead set on having an old fat washed-up dancer performing it (hence the smoking), but as soon as Henning showed up for the audition at the Academy, I changed my mind.  However, sometimes I wish he'd age perfectly for this piece, but I guess he's one of those who'll forever stay slim & handsome, no matter what age ;^)

In any case — it's no secret that Henning's talent and dedication were crucial components to me when I composed this piece.  I'm forever indebted to this guy.


—   Low Motion, the concert   —

So here's an excerpt from the performance of the piece; Henning dancing, Gajdos and Petrus (each located directly to the left and right of Henning) processing the dance sound in realtime.  Roy runs the rest of the sound (including the pre-composed computer tape) down at the main board located in the middle of the audience.  Guri is behind the camera next to the main mixer, this time using her broadcast quality Sony DSR, (opposed to the previous video clips which were shot using a dinky Sony P10, with only 15fps).  Regretfully, the sound for the video wasn't fed through the mixer but to the camera's built-in mic — hence the bad sound quality.  It's also quite dark, but it should still be possible to get some idea of how it turned out.  The clip shows about a third of the entire length of the piece.