This new composition from the Norwegian improvising quartet, LEMUR , draws as much on the myth of the lost civilization of Lemuria as it does a movement from iconic twentieth-century Italian composer Luigi Nono’s work Guai ai gelidi mostri. Islands reoccur across Nono’s music, as emblems of movements, utopic states or constellations of people, but more than the music itself LEMUR has been inspired by Nono’s empiric and experimental approach to composition and his use of the concert space. With the quartet joined by vocalists Stine Janvin Motland and Unni Løvlid, Lemuria is performed from 6 “islands” spaced out through the venue. Each performer is both soloist and ensemble as the music reconfigures the site and the sound across the span of the performance. The audience can choose to sit or move through different positions as they please, as water between islands.
Lemuria is the fourth in an ongoing series of works from LEMUR, appropriating titles and concepts from the canon of twentieth-century art music for creative re-use.
LEMUR – consept and composition
Bjørnar Habbestad – flute
Lene Grenager – cello
Hild Sofie Tafjord – horn
Michael Francis Duch – double bass
Stine Janvin Motland – vocalist
Unni Løvlid – vocalist
Thorolf Thuestad – electronics
Simmering with quiet intensity, Norwegian quartet LEMUR develops it’s subtle, poetic music side by side with broadly painted soundscapes. Transforming the intimacy of quartet improvisation to symphonic scale and construction, the creative collective moves between studio work, club concerts, curating and group composition. Collaborations and extensions of the quartet are frequent, and include artists as different as pianist Sten Sandell, conductor Ilan Volov, punk poet Patrick Fitzgerald and guitarist Stian Westerhus. On the occasion of Lemuria at Borealis 2017, singers Stine Janvin Motland and Unni Løvlid joins, in a soundscape managed by Thorolf Thuestad. LEMUR had its 10th anniversary in 2016.
Stine Janvin Motland is a performer and composer from Stavanger, based in Berlin. With an instrument-like, physical approach she explores the acoustic potential of the voice and the limits of what a singer can or cannot be. Her work includes elements of conceptual and spontaneous composition, improvisation, performance and sound poetry and she is inspired by different traditions in electronic music, folk music, languages, birds and animals. Apart from her own initiatives like Stine II, she performs newly composed music and takes part in several multidisciplinary projects as a composer, singer, dancer and performer. In 2014 Stine released two solo albums: Ok, wow (+3 dB) and In Labour (Pica Disk).
Thorolf Thuestad is a sound artist, composer, sound designer, and art and music technician. He studied musicology, music technology and composition at the University of Trondheim, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at the Utrecht School of arts where he graduated with an MA. He has worked extensively within stage arts, contemporary music, composition and film music. He runs the music-theatre company Neither Nor together with his partner Alwynne Pritchard, the art collective An Index of Collisions and is a member of the BIT20 Ensemble with responsibility for sound and performance electronics in their productions. He has twice been awarded the Norwegian Arts Council one year artist’s stipend.
Unni Løvlid is a folk singer from Hornindal and winner of the 2015 Landskappleiken competition for vocal folk music. Unni is renowned for bringing folk music into other musical landscapes, often in contemporary music. She has released five solo records; So Ro Liten Tull, VITA, RITE, LUX and HYMN, and contributes on several others albums. Løvlid has worked closely with Håkon Thelin in recent years, and teaches at the Norwegian Academy of Music while working as a freelancer. Fiona Talkington from BBC has described Unni’s voice as “pure and direct, completely at ease with all the changing moods.”
The commission is supported by Arts Council Norway.