Trondheim Voices + Asle Karstad – Rooms & Rituals


CD – Grappa

A small wireless box, easy to wear, that allows every singer-performer to act with no obstacles in the stage space and be able to process in real time the effects and the loops; this is the idea of the Norwegian sound designers Asle and Arnvid Lau Karstad, who gave the name Maccatrol to their personalized controller. For Room and Rituals they wanted a surround setting shareable with the audience. After many decades from the first experiences of this kind of theatre, they again make that sweet revolution which abolishes the hierarchical division between audience and stage, a spatial order that is the basis of a fundamentally conventional scene setting. All of this was necessary to relate now with a contemporary visual set, with a lot of images on movement, scenographic scenes and effects, a series of sequences able to offer the audience a high quality interactive experience. Obviously, in the CD recordings something of this experience gets lost, but at the same time the listener can focus his attention on the vocal modulations and catch the smaller details and every tonal variation, focusing even on the grain of the single, often modified, voices. The ten singer ensemble seems to follow an improvisational approach, but often their live performances include structured materials, some preset scores and also some traditional compositions. They like to make a sudden change of atmosphere, moving from minimalist caesura to moments of high pathos, with the alternation of fragmented executions with choral movements. Sometimes the music in the background seems electronic. Sometimes it seems to follow an electroacoustic set, with dark and maniacal atmospheres, somehow dramatic and theatrical, and with the presence of liquid or granular elements, field recordings and other organic elements, whose origin is unknown. The different sounds (gurglings, various effects and extreme vocalizations) are highly developed and performed after serious training, that makes possible their expression under free forms, the processing of the effects, the moments of continuum, the sudden variations and the parts where the human voice is transformed into something completely different. Being that this was made almost in touch with the audience adds an element of spontaneity and tension, which is evident in this work which is just a proof recorded on studio.


Trondheim Voices + Asle Karstad – Rooms & Rituals