Photo: CF Wesenberg

Sidsel Endresen

Conexions: MIC Norway talks to Sidsel Endresen on her upcoming collaboration with Turntablist Philip Jeck and her plans for 2012.

Sidsel Endresen is one of Norway’s most prolific and internationally recognised improvisation musicians; a strong and distinct personality who makes her mark on all the projects she participates in. Covering a vast musical territory reaching from Nordic folk songs and cutting-edge improvisation to the rich cultural heritage of Arabic, Chinese and Japanese traditional singing, Endresen has created her own form of expression, and gradually perfected it into a new musical language.

Following a highly successful musical encounter at last year’s Punkt Festival in Kristiansand, Endresen is now set to team up with UK turntablist Philip Jeck for a highly anticipated concert at Oslo’s Victoria venue on February 29th.

MIC reached Endresen in early January as the celebrated vocalist was busy preparing a year that looks set to be a hectic one; “I’m currently working on my next solo album, if all goes well it will be finished before the summer and released late autumn.” Says Endresen on working with her new musical partner, UK turntablist and sound artist Philip Jeck; “My first meeting with Philip Jeck came at last year’s Punkt where we were both part of David Sylvian’s “Uncommon Deities” sound installation,together with John Tilbury. The three of us took turns playing solo passages which at various points merged into duo and trio improvisations. It was a very short but truly nice encounter which also made me curious as to what might come out of an improvised duo concert with Philip.So I suggested this to Fiona when she contacted me about Conexions and I am truly delighted that Philip said yes! ”

One might assume that working as a vocalist with a turntablist that employs modified record players would pose a tonal challenge for the celebrated singer. On the contrary, “Philip uses his turntables as a true instrument and I am amazed by the richness of sounds and forms he creates. It is a world of its own. His playing seems extremely flexible and at the same time very clear and pointed and will certainly create both many challenges and many possibilities for me when we do our first duo concert at Viktoria. Over the years, working in an unconventional context like this has become like a standard for me, and working with more of a sonic or sonorous rather than conventional harmonic approach is what I am most attracted to. Its what I do.”

"As we so far have only played together for a few minutes at Punkt last year,our first fulfledged duo concert will necessarily be like starting from scratch. An improvised meeting between our two musical worlds. And hopefully this meeting will bring something new to both of us. I'm always looking for taboo free zones musically and I think Philip's music and approach makes this a real prospect.”

Endresen also praises Conexions curator Fiona Talkington; “Fiona is a true master at suggesting new constellations, pairing musicians, sharing her strong artistic visions and keeping everyone involved in continuous dialogue. One of her strengths is to come up with artistic innovation in close partnership with all of the involved performers, the new constellations in the Conexions programme are a result of a process where everyone has a voice.”

The year has started on a busy note and seems to continue at the same pace. 2012 will see Endresen touring at home and abroad with her duo with guitarist Stian Westerhus, a remix-trio that includes Punkt Festival fathers Jan Bang and Erik Honoré, with Humcrush and she will also play a run of solo shows.

Endresen’s parting words bode well for her Oslo performance with Philip Jeck; “This will be a real musical challenge and I look very much forward to playing with Philip!”

Read more on the Conexions concert series here.

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