"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Gene trees

Haven't previously felt much of a pull from either The Knife or Fever Ray, but the first track released from their new 'Darwin electro-opera' is - improbably enough - rather stunning: an appealingly grandiose 11-minute confection freighted by booming, clattering percussion...

Blurb: Commissioned by Danish performance group Hotel Pro Forma to write the music for their opera based on Charles Darwin and his book ‘On the Origin of the Species’, The Knife decided to make this a collaborative process, working with artists Mt. Sims and Planningtorock for the first time, to capture the huge width of the Darwin and evolution theme. They extensively researched Darwin related literature and articles, with Olof attending a field recording workshop in the Amazon to find inspiration and to record sounds.

‘Tomorrow, In A Year’ is a unique musical project. Richard Dawkins’s gene trees have formed the basis of some of the musical composition, artificial sounds have been mixed with field recordings, with the music inspired by everything from the different stages of a bird learning its melody, to a song based on Darwin’s loving letters about his daughter Anne. These are compositions that challenge the conventional conception of opera music.

Pushing the experimental process further still, composer, choreographer, costume designer and set designer worked separately, only coming together 3 and a half months before the first performance of ‘Tomorrow, In A Year’ in Copenhagen on the 2nd September 2009. Described as “shifting the position of operatic art in a single leap”, further performances of ‘Tomorrow, In A Year’ are confirmed to take place in Athens (8-9 Jan), Stockholm (29 Jan-1 Feb), and Munster (5 June), with further dates to be announced.

The Knife with Mt. Sims & Planningtorock > Colouring of Pigeons (from, Tomorrow, In A Year, forthcoming on Rabid/Brille)

NB: higher-res version available to mailing list subscribers

Colouring of Pigeons by The Knife

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