Flammepunkt: main and miniatures

'Flammepunkt' was a multi-media outdoor performance that took place on the 14th September 2014, Eidsvoll, Norway. 'Flammepunkt' was created to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution (Grunnlovsjubileet 1814-2014).

The music for 'Flammepunkt' is electroacoustic. It consists of 22 miniature compositions (in stereo) and a 16 minute multi-channel composition called 'Flammepunkt'. These compositions were inspired by observing how people and governments interact in situations of disagreement: what happens when a large proportion of the population support a protest against their government, what happens when the general public feel they have no voice in their own country, what happened during the more recent political revolutions and democratic flights in Europe and the Middle East.

In 'Flammepunkt' I have tried to detach from personal opinion that lends sympathy to one side. Politics and emotions are too complex to cover all reasons and details. Instead I have tried, where possible, to create a balanced view of simple facts: listeners need to be free to decide on their own opinions.

On the 14th September, the music for 'Flammepunkt' was set up outdoors: the 22 miniatures were played as a soundgarden and the 16 minute 'Flammepunkt' played over a large outdoor loudspeaker concert system. The compositions are however designed to be played in any context - radio, Internet, home listening or electroacoustic concert.

Below you can hear and read about the 22 Flammepunkt miniatures. As the work was commissioned for Norway there is quite a lot of spoken text in Norwegian. However, even if you don't understand Norwegian, I think you will understand the music from it's title and brief text. Eventually I will make either English versions or prepare translations of the Norwegian.

FLAMMEPUNKT (main composition)


The Power of Mass Movement

Megaphone and Fire (2’01)
Sources: Taksim Square, Istanbul, June 13th-15th 2013; Recordings from our burning car, Asker 2014.

Drumming up the crowd (2’17)
Sources: Maiden Square, Ukraine, February 2014

Flow with the crowd (3’28)
Sources: Protest chanting in 2013-2014; Norwegian nature 2013.

The three tracks that make up the ‘The Power of Mass Movement’ are inspired by the sound of crowds acting on mass. In ‘Megaphone and Fire’ we hear the sound of the police clearing Taksim Square of protesters. The sound of a burning car is mixed in, and although creating a fictional setting, reflects the burning frustration, anger and fear of the protesters being violently removed. Drumming is often used to rally support, unite the spirit and to articulate chanting and marching – a primeval act of solidarity and determination. Original sounds from improvised street drumming are captured in ‘Drumming up the crowd’, enhanced by a compositional overlay. ‘Flow with the crowd’ captures a crowd seen from afar gathering speed and energy as a river of sound.


Cry (1’08)
Source: Shocked woman.

Norwegian Nature

Chants and drips (1’45)

Nature to war (2’14)

Voice on the Wind (3’17)

Whistles and birds (2’54)

We live in a relatively safe country. The troubles of the world, most the time, are seen from afar. With small checks in the balance of power we, as most developed lands, maintain debating rights, openness and freedoms of all sorts. Yet I sometimes wonder whether this is an illusion, Norway and ‘Norwegianess’ luring a sense of false security. The four tracks in the zone ‘Norwegian Nature’ are a composed transformation of Norway’s nature: carrying, revealing and disguising the sounds of Flammepunkt.


Political sides, people’s sides, propaganda and politicians (6’01)
Sources: Ukraine news articles from pro-Ukraine and pro-Russian sources, recordings Viktor Yanukovych, Vitaly Klitschko, Oleh Tyahnibok.

‘Political sides, people’s sides, propaganda and politicians’ collages contrasting texts and statements from news articles. It reveals how propaganda, misleading information and lies can be used to bias the opinion of different sectors of the population.

Social Media

Reach (2’50)
Sources: Interview with Turkish female face book user; sounds from street protests, Istanbul, June 2013.

Groovy Media? (2’10)
Sources: News reporting on the political control of media in Turkey.

Criminality (1’40)
Sources: David Cameron's Commons statement on the London riots (extracts); Recordings from a burning car, Asker 2014.

Social media has become unbelievably powerful. The tracks in the zone ‘Social Media’ draw on incidences that have used social media to help people hide from police oppression, coordinated opportunistic theft and vandalism and controlled information flow for political gain. 'Reach' attempts to capture a contrast between the voice of reason and the voice of violence. 'Groovy Media?' reflects the groovy background music that some media outlets use for popularistic effect, this track drawing on a Turkish classical folk tune. The source for 'Criminality' can be read here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-14492789


Lullaby (2’42)

Sources: Stories from Syrian child refugees, 2013; 'Ughniyah li al-Atfal' sung by Nicholas Debs, recorded in 1940.

‘Lullaby’ uses extracts from stories told by Syrian child refugees, read in Norwegian, set in a scene inspired by an Arabic lullaby ‘Ughniyah li al-Atfal’. The song expresses the love of a father and mother for their children, as well as the danger they will risk in order to get a child out of trouble. Some extracts are used from a 1940 recording (ref: "Ughniyah li al-Atfal," performed by Nicholas Debs (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.afc/afcflwpa.3890a1). Florida WPA Recordings, 1940, Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.)

Protesters and the government: Peace and violence.

Energy and Suppression (0’59)
Source: Taksim Square, Turkey, news coverage and onsite recordings, 6th June 2013.

Reasons and results (1’10)
Source: Taksim Square, Turkey, interviews from the street 31st May / 4th June 2013

Power (1’24)
Source: Taksim Square, Turkey, news coverage and onsite recordings, 15th / 17th June 2013.

The voice of power

The voice of power (2’27)
Sources: People's chanting and a political reply (Turkey, Erdoğan's response to the occupation of Taksim Square, June 2013).

After weeks of watching live streaming and archive videos of riots and protests from around the world, ‘The voice of Power’ emerged as a plain and simple presentation of this overload of information.

No protection

No protection (4'00)
Source: News reporting (BBC); interview with doctor treating wounded protesters. Kiev, 20th February 2013.

'No protection' was inspired by the reporting in this link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26866069


The easier fight? (2’40) Source: Gerd Kristiansen speech extracts and crowds, Youngs Torget, Oslo, 1st May 2014; Voice of Egyptian woman.

A Divided Country (4’03) Sources: NRK reporting, Egypt's democracy, 2011-2013 (Arab Spring from 2011 to the ousting of Morsi in 2013).

I'm not scared

I'm not scared (4’50)
Source: Protester's stories, Maiden square, January 2014. Interview Vitali Klitschko; news paper extracts; crowd song.

‘I’m not scared’ is a composed music-text narrative. It draws on texts, chanting, national songs and street violence. Although sourcing incidents in Kiev, the path is coarsely laid out to reflect a narrative that could have taken place in many lands. It traces a peaceful protest through its twists and turns, encounters with police and politics, its changing sentiments, motivations and increasing strength.

Responsibility, guilt, blame

Responsibility, guilt, blame: government versus people. (3’28)
Source: Stories about the Greek economic crisis, 2008-2012

The composition is inspired by these two sources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Hu2Obj8UAc http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_government-debt_crisis#Debt_levels_revealed_.282010.29