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Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

A Little Norwegian Black-Ice Music (MP3)

The rumbling might be mistaken for boiling water, were the overall crunch not clearly indicative of some ice-cold thing being broken, likely ice itself. The slow-paced beat, a kind of ritual rattle, serves as a score to a blank-screen movie about walking in the dark, in the cold, all alone. It’s a single, 45-minute piece (MP3) by Terje Paulsen, recently released on the Tecno Nucleo netlabel. Paulsen, who’s based in Norway, explains that he recorded it as a mix of processed field recordings, and “an old three-stringed folk instrument.” The field recordings are processed such that, as the piece goes on, they become ghosts of the original source material — more texture than sound, and as a result, the “musical” content, that scraping beat and distant held chords, come more and more into prominence — much as night slowly consumes a space, only to reveal new details. Paulsen describes the circumstances of the piece, which is titled “The Abundant Emptiness Between Cold and Heat,” as follows:

“It’s a midwinter day. It’s freezing cold, and the snow and ice is creaking and groaning when walking on it. When opening the door to the living room, the heat hits me from the wood-burning stove. I want to freeze this very moment, this ’emptiness’, and want it to last for long. Because I like it here – just be[t]ween the cold and the heat; I find it very abundant…”

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More details at tecnonucleo.org. Get it in the FLAC and OGG formats at archive.org. More on Paulsen at myspace.com/terjepaulsen and google.com/site/terjepaul.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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