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A Laboratory of Sound

LAK is an annual four-day festival in Copenhagen presenting Nordic experimental sound art. This year an old varnish factory in the area ‘Amager’ provided an authentic, urban and industrial exhibition space for multiple sound installations, performances and experimenting concerts. Experienced with music yet fairly unfamiliar with experimental sound art, our new contributor Nadja Loran visited LAK – Festival of Nordic Sound Art. Nadja has a BA in Communication and is currently doing a masters degree in visual culture with a focus on contemporary visual phenomena and imaging in a social, cultural and historical context. Here is a selection of artworks and artists that caught her attention.

‘Vibrant Disturbance II’ – installation by Christian Skjødt (DK)

‘Vibrant Disturbance II’. Photo by Nadja Loran

Christian Skjødt is an improviser and sound artist from Denmark. His installatory work often deals with the enlargement of unheard and hidden sounds, and creating responsive environments exploring translations of other physical phenomenons into sound. (words by LAK)

Vibrant Disturbance II uses light to produce sound. The sounds coming from the disassembled car speakers hanging from the ceiling in the industrial space, change due to the outside light and is even affected by the human shadows in the room. The installation produced an interesting contrast by juxtaposing a minimalistic aesthetic with repetitive electronic sounds connoting busy factories, flocks and swarms of animals, tin drums and standing ovations.

‘Magia universalis naturæ et artis’ – Installation by Ragnhild May (DK)

‘Magia Universalis Naturæ Et Artis’. Photo by Nadja Loran

Ragnhild May is a Danish sound artist who works with installation and performance. May’s artworks are based on materials she finds and the process of examining and reorganising them. Recognisable and everyday things like air mattress pumps, recorders and vacuum cleaner hoses are reconstructed in new compositions and their common sound aesthetic potentials explored. (words by LAK)

In LAK’s own words: “disassembled recorders, air pumps, bike tubes and bowls create something resembling traditional water whistles where the tone is affected by the water in the resonance chamber and vice versa” in this installation. From a distance the deep rusty container nicely framed the glass bowls, resembling large soap bubbles. Moving closer this was contradicted by a sudden loud ringing, which became unbearably and enervating if entering the container. Disregarding the state of my eardrums I found it alluring, though writing this my ears recall the discomfort.

Band Ane (DK)

Band Ane. Photo by Nadja Loran

The Danish electronica/laptop-producer Band Ane (Ane Østergaard) became, together with her “Mr. Laptop”, a fresh and long awaited feminine touch to the electronic music scene, when her debut ‘Anish Music’ came out in 2006. (words by LAK)

Finding inspiration in the sounds and hidden stories of her surroundings, Band Ane (Aka. Ane Østergaard) mixes electronica with drum’n’bass, quirky sounds and minimalistic vocal elements. This was my first live experience with the electronica/laptop-producer and her guitarist – I liked their soothing though nuanced and playful soundscape.

LAK also featured an outdoor sauna, storytelling ghettoblasters in the dark corners of the factory garden, and live radio production from a rolling wooden trolley.

Outdoor sauna. Photo by Nadja Loran

Storytelling ghettoblasters. Photo by Nadja Loran

Live radio production from a rolling wooden trolley. Photo by Nadja Loran

Check out LAK and the artists who were represented here.