I started this project in 2015. Previously I have been playing a lot in more traditional jazzcombos, most of the time including either piano or guitar. So for this project, I wanted to challenge myself and assemble an ensemble without any chord-playing instruments. This has forced me to think more in voiceleading than in traditional chordstructures, which makes me as a composer thoroughly think about every note that I write. I really think it is much easier to be creative with some kind of frame or rules, than with too much freedom. Then if one feels like it, one can always break the rules anyway, but to have them there in the first place, can be a real asset.
Not having a harmony instrument also makes the band sound very transparent, since there is a lot less notes flying around, which in turn means less stepping on toes. Moreover this makes the musical ideas stronger, both those written down and those improvised. This also adds even more responsibility to every musician in the band and you can’t really hide behind anyone else. I think this is a really good starting point for creating really great musical moments.
This is my first release as composer and bandleader. It was released june the 30th, 2017 and I'm really proud of the result. The album consists of 8 songs, each with a different imaginary place or cultural reference in mind. You can read the official release announcement here.
I think that in its essence, (instrumental) music is a very abstract phenomenon. In other artforms you can be much more concrete than in music. Whether it being symbols or particular objects in paintings and visual art, or words in litterature and poetry. With music everything is much more blurry, but at the same time, it doesn't get stuck behind words or objects (which can be real obstacles). Which means it holds a real potency for reaching and moving people, making them feel and imagine things, without them having to find "the meaning" behind it all. This "meaning" of the artwork is not supposed to be as hands on as say "pass me the salt", or even "I have a hearthache", because the meaning should be different for each person getting acquainted with the work. Even if the composer had a heartache when he wrote the piece, and it for him/her was about that, the listener doesn't necessarily get the same emotional response. And that is exactly how it should be in my opinion.
This abstractness in music interests me a lot, and so I have thought a lot about how to emphazise the different emotional & imaginary output potential of each composition. Of course there’s a million things that play a part in this, but some of the things that I as a composer at least can control, is how I shape the ideas that the different compositions consist of. Basically this means I try to make each idea as strong as possible, remove any excess blurriness and make sure that each note supports the general identity/idea of the song.
One thing I think that helps a lot, is giving the listener something to hold on too. Some kind of reference that gives them the chance to create their own images. For example, the first song on this album is called 'Jungle Escapade', and musically I've tried to describe how I would imagine a journey through the jungle. Just from the title, the listener will have a starting point (a journey through a jungle) from which they can imagine whatever they would like.On this album, all the compositions on this album has been composed with this general idea in mind.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact me right here.