Lars Horntveth: Upcoming new album and a special appearance at the Øya festival

Lars Horntveth’s latest album Kaleidoscopic has been ready since last October. Now it has been decided that it will be released during this year’s Øya festival in August, at which Horntveth will perform Kaleidoscopic with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (KORK) -This is music that I think will be great fun to perform live, says Horntveth in this interview.

Lars Horntveth (Foto: Smalltown Supersound)

Interview by Carl Kristian Johansen
Translated by Christian Lysvåg

During last year’s festival Horntveth was in the crowd when Thomas Dybdahl, his colleague from The National Bank, was on stage with the Radio Orchestra. But the arrangements were his.

-That concert worked well. I’ve been working extensively with KORK over the previous years and I’m really looking forward to doing Kaleidoscopic with them at Øya, says Horntveth.

Kaleidoscopic was recorded in Riga, Latvia, around the time of last year’s Øya festival. And one year later it is his turn to enter the stage in Oslo’s medieval park with the orchestra. The concert will consist of one long composition; the 38 minute piece that makes up the new album in its entirety.

Symphonic Pooka

Horntveth describes the music as a continuation of his previous album Pooka.

-I think people will recognize elements from the last track on Pooka, which is the quietest track on that album, and also from Jaga Jazzist. It is that kind of musical landscape that I’ve worked within, but this time in a more symphonic form, says Horntveth.

A decisive reason for recording in Riga was the cost of musicians and studio time. Horntveth got a very good deal with a studio and an orchestra through Terje Mikkelsen who was the artistic director and chief conductor of the Latvia National Symphony Orchestra until 2005.

-It became a kind of expanded sinfonietta, with 35 strings, two percussionists, a harp and three horns. The price for doing the same thing in Norway would have been four times of what we paid, says Horntveth.

He talks about music associated with film directors Pedro Almodovar and Wong Kar-Wai, and further relates that he is inspired by such diverse entities as the Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou, guitarist John Fahey, former Sonic Youth partner Jim O’Rourke and the film score composer Bernard Herman.

-The idea started out with a score sheet that took on the form of a diary. I wrote all the music chronologically, and when I was satisfied with a part I moved on.

-It was a kind of dogma-project (i.e. with strict limitations), and I decided that it should become one long listening experience –a record one sits down and listens through in its entirety. The challenge was to find the right balance regarding the length of each part, so that the result would be neither too intense nor too calm. Horntveth reveals that producer Jørgen Træen became an important partner in the composing process.

-He comes from a world without musical notes and could comment on details based on emotion rather than theory.

At the Øya festival Horntveth and KORK will constitute a 25-strong ensemble. No further concerts with KORK have been planned, but Horntveth relates that the Latvia National Symphony Orchestra has expressed interest in further collaboration.

-It’s hard work to go touring with 25 people. So I have a plan of doing place-specific collaborations instead, says Horntveth, -which is a lot simpler.

Kaleidoscopic will be released by Smalltown Supersound during the Øya festival in August. The concert date is not yet set, but the festival takes place between August 5yth and August 9th.

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