Krympende klode invites us into an imaginative and playful electroacoustic universe. This is music that is overwhelming, moving and consistent, all at the same time. In a rich tapestry of sound we can hear influences ranging from Raymond Scott and Delia Derbyshire to Harry Partch and the Norwegian Bjørn Fongaard, among others.
Krympende klode is a kaleidoscope of sound, reflecting many of the two musicians’ interests. “As a starting point we wanted to pay tribute to the pioneers of electronic music,” says Urheim, “but also to combine the sounds of the modular synths with a variety of string instruments from near and far.”
The collaboration between Træen and Urheim began in 2010, when both participated in Bjørn Torskes Planteband at an evening festival appearance in their home town of Bergen. Jørgen Træen later became involved in mixing and producing several of Stein’s solo releases for HUBRO, as well as his most recent duo recording with Mari Kvien Brunvoll, released on the Jazzland label. In the past few years they have also produced and arranged several releases for other artists and projects.
Some of the material included here was created for duo concerts that they presented both as part of Bergen Kjøtt’s experimental concert series in 2016 and for HUBRO’s 8th anniversary celebration in Haugesund in 2017, but it was not until the Borealis Festival commissioned a complete work from them that they both managed to set aside enough time to carefully construct the finished product.
The newspaper Klassekampen wrote the following about the work’s world premiere at the Borealis Festival in 2020:
“Wonderfully chaotic and playful, with lots of striking bass lines and melodies that are immediately catchy.” (Charlotte Myrbråten, Klassekampen)
At the work’s premiere at the Borealis Festival, the analogue live visuals by Ana Jorges, from Portugal, played a significant role. The duo also had a gigantic, home-made mushroom on stage with them, which functioned as a sort of huge hybrid instrument, and was hung with many of the instruments and electronic equipment used in the piece. It was so large that the Borealis Festival had to hire an articulated lorry to transport it from the workshop where it was built to the stage at the Grieg Hall. For obvious reasons the mushroom did not appear in the duo’s next concert, which was held at the Sildajazz Festival in 2020:
“Unfortunately, when we were going to hold our next concert we couldn’t fit the mushroom into our van, and we also discovered that it was too big to fit into the doors of the concert hall,” Urheim says. Luckily he could add, “We haven’t thrown the mushroom away – it’s alive and well, thriving in the damp backyard of Bergen Kjøtt.”
Both Urheim and Træen are key names in the HUBRO catalogue. Urheim has released six extremely personal and highly treasured albums whose musical basis is formed of guitars and string instruments from all over the world, blues, folk music, world music and a stylistically confident approach to original soundscapes. He also provided vital musical contributions to Erlend Apneseth’s critically acclaimed album Fragmentarium (2020). Træen contributed as a musician on Øyvind Torvund’s The Exotica Album (2019), which won a Spellemannspris (Norwegian Grammy), and has also played a decisive role as a producer, mixer and studio technician for a long list of releases in the label’s catalogue. HUBRO founder Andreas Meland describes him as follows: “Jørgen is simply a superb artist, who has a unique way of raising all the productions he is involved in to a higher level.”