Dodeka - Nordheim returns with "new" album

Norway’s most influential living composer, Arne Nordheim, returns with a new album with old tracks.

Listen to a 30 second clip of Hovering
Listen to more tracks or buy Arne Nordheim’s Dodeka album

Arne Nordheim

Arne Nordheim’s Dodeka which contains twelve previously unreleased tracks from Nordheim’s electronic period in the 60s and 70s, is the 30th release on renowned Norwegian independent label Rune Grammofon. Says head of Rune Grammofon, Rune Kristoffersen, on his label’s latest release: I first heard the material that makes up Dodeka sometime last summer – there was no doubt that we had to make a record out of it.

The composer himself is also very pleased that the historical recordings now are made available to a wider audience: These are recordings that have been filed in my personal archive for a long time, and I’m happy that they now will be released for new listeners.

Dodeka contains twelve compositions of electronic music composed by Arne Nordheim in the 60s and 70s – none of them have seen a previous release. Dodeka represents a unique piece of electronic music history as well as a fascinating reference point for the current electronic music scene.

As opposed to current electronic music that’s often thoroughly produced, streamlined and sometimes completely saturated in an electronic complexity, Nordheim’s expression is simpler and cleaner. Each individual event is surrounded with much space and exists in a slower respiration; a lapse characterised by more resistance that in turn reflects a completely different and more difficult compositional process than that of today’s effortless keyboard punches.

Dodeka’s sonorous qualities are transparent with a clear character and defined layers – tones versus continuum, light versus darkness. Parallel to this, the analogue material represents a unique, raw, sonorous clarity and sharpness which is unobtainable with today’s digital electronic instrumentation.

Says Nordheim on Dodeka’s compositions: This material has been filed in my archive for years. It represents works from all of the studios I’ve worked in: Warsaw, Stockholm and Utrecht. Rune Kristoffersen from Rune Grammofon heard the compositions and wanted to release it – something I’m very pleased with.

Nordheim selected Dodeka’s tracklisting himself:

Yes, these are my personal choices which I’ve brushed up and polished a bit with solid assistance from Norwegian and Polish sound technicians. The twelfth track, Summa, is a new one – it’s made up of material from the preceding eleven tracks.

Dodeka’s tracks have been mastered by Audun Strype, and on the occasion of the album’s release the previously unnamed tracks have been given titles such as Searching, Hovering, Awaiting and Sliding.

These are new titles, says Nordheim, but the music’s character is still the same. For instance, Hovering implies a hovering, aloft viewpoint. This sense of distance has been present in the music all the time and when Rune proposed a name based on his perception of the composition, I had to give my consent.

Dodeka means twelve, and is quite simply a reference to the album’s twelve tracks as well as serving as a musical connotation to the octave’s twelve tones. The oldest track on Dodeka dates back to 1965-66. During this period, Arne Nordheim could often be found at work in the Polish Radio’s Warsaw Studio Eksperymentalne. In contrast to most other European countries, the Norwegian radio lacked both a studio and a tradition of electronic music production.

Why Warsaw then?

The Warsaw studio’s equipment responded well to specific and concrete sound material – recorded acoustic sounds. During this period I was particularly preoccupied with the human voice and its transformation, says Nordheim.

Several of Nordheim’s major works were composed in Poland, including Epitaffio (1963) for orchestra and electronics as well as Solitaire (1968) for electronics. During this period, Nordheim also gained vital inspiration from Polish composers, the so-called Polish school represented by Penderecki, Lutoslawski and Ligeti.

Dodeka is Rune Grammofon’s 30th release, and the label’s previous Nordheim record which contained interpretations and remixes from Helge “Deathprod” Sten (of Supersilent fame) and Biosphere as well as a re-release of Electric, solidified Arne Nordheim’s position on the current electronic music scene. Since its 1998 release, Electric has sold more than 7000 copies world-wide.

It’s fantastic to be able to release these tracks which have been not been previously available, says Rune Grammofon’s Rune Kristoffersen. I first heard the material last year when (mastering guru) Audun Strype was working on it. There was not a doubt in my mind – we had to make a record!

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