Thomas Strønen & Alexandros Papadimitrakis: Madstun Residency

Thomas, Alexandros and I met beginnings of January 2020 at the airport of Oslo, and drove up to Madstun close to the snowy village of Fall – a two hour drive from the city. Madstun is a site for creative work created by Jon Balke and Tone Myskja. Jon kindly provided us with a studio in the mountains – his house, actually – where we would rehearse undisturbed for the next week, as part of an artistic residency. Our greatest distractions proved to be the white beautiful scenery around, Ronaldo the black cat, waiting to see the northern lights and cooking / comparing recipes from Greece, Norway and beyond! The residency included a presentation of the project at the nearby Hadeland videregående skole for music students there and this is where the footage of this video comes from.

In the rehearsals we tried tons of different ideas, wanting to see how some compositions sounded with different arrangements and different combinations of instruments. Also we were interested in seeing what other relations or ideas would appear in a non-intentional way through long sessions of improvisation: we were actually searching for the ‘sound’ of the new group.

As part of our investigations we included uneven rhythms, melodies coming from modal traditions, compositions with jazz harmony at their core or other elements that would give meaning to the music. Those could be simple structures, melodies or specific textures. We also used electronics, keys, loops and sampling. For the concert at the music school, we chose to play acoustic, because of the setting and the time-constraints.

The following days, coming back to Oslo, we had the opportunity to perform a double concert at the Emmanuel Vigelands Mausoleum, a unique space with a unique reverb of about 18 seconds (!) which with the addition of electronics & sampling made the concerts very special and also very different from the one you are listening to right now.

This video contains fragments of the following four pieces:

00:00 Right & Wrong
02:28 Arietta
05:16 Losian
09:11 Lost Souls

Christos Barbas: piano, ney
Thomas Strønen: drums
Alexandros Papadimitrakis: oud

All compositions by C.Barbas except Lost Souls by T.Strønen

Many thanks to Jon Balke for hosting us in Madstun, such a wonderful and inspiring place!