1.1 Background

As an improvising singer since the early 90s I see myself as a part of a modern Norwegian/European jazz tradition represented by musicians like Sidsel Endresen, Nils Petter Molvær, Jon Balke and Bugge Wesseltoft among others, and not least by a lot of my fellow students at the Conservatory in Trondheim in the 90s: Eldbjørg Raknes, Arve Henriksen, Christian Wallumrød, Ståle Storløkken, Trygve Seim and their various ensembles. The open attitude towards music, and the act of improvisation, were responsible for my decision to shift from classical music, where I was formally educated, to improvised music. I had an interest in vocalists with an experimental and instrumental approach, like Diamanda Galás, Maria Joao, Shainko Namtchylak, Bobby Mc Ferrin and Cathy Berberian, etc. At the same time, the use of electronics by artists such as Laurie Anderson, Elin Rosseland and Eldbjørg Raknes, awakened my fascination for the use of processed voice sound as such. Since then I have been operating in musical scenery which I experience as genre crossing, mixing impulses from both contemporary music, jazz, world, pop, rock and noise, etc, but with improvisation as an important starting point and principle.

The electronic manipulation of sound presents, as I see it, a possibility for expanding, or even re-defining the voice as an instrument ‒ and therefore also a vocalist’s role in the musical interaction. This redefining of the voice is not only present in electronic sound manipulation; many performers and composers have challenged the traditional roles of the vocalist through the use of voice experimentation and new musical approaches. As I see it, the use of electronic processing can create different forms of distance, or abstraction, from the natural voice sound. This opens up even more, and in another way, the possibilities of interacting with other instruments and taking on new roles in the musical interplay. In addition, different devices and techniques for recording and playing back in real time (sampling) also change the musical functions that the vocalist and the voice can have. From my experience, this is particularly interesting in improvised music.

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