Electronic music.
Premiered during the Ultima Festival in 2003. Released in 2006.

During a computer crash in 2001, the video artist Thomas Sivertsen discovered that the computer in the studio of the Bergen Centre for Electronic Art (BEK) began to produce sound on its own. The sound was the result of conflicting software, drivers and hardware, and it seemed as if the computer was playing back all of its memory as sound. The sound artist Jørgen Larsson became interested in these sounds and as a result, BEK arranged a workshop in June 2003 where composers and musicians met to exchange ideas and make music based on this recording. This resulted in the 2006 CD release Crashing Happy.

The recording was full of musical patterns and structures. Not musical intentionality in the regular sense, but still a material with a character of its own. This found digital sound object contained audio information that otherwise might have been censored out. By using this alien object, it was perhaps possible to free oneself from ones own formal boundaries and aesthetic preferences. The sound source, most likely the computer translating its own memory into sound, was so full of the computer’s own fingerprints that the media itself came to the fore, while the usual hyper-realism that characterize digital sound was pushed into the background. Instead we got a mirror image of the digital system’s own processes.

The sounding material was rich, but in order to translate this sound object into musical events over time I needed something more. After countless listening sessions I kept the parts that were of particular musical interest; parts that consisted of particularly concise information. Subsequently the sound clips were deconstructed down to its smallest musical components so that they could be built up again through a computer program. Now I had flexible models where I could change all the parameters of the sound while keeping its original character. Against this background, the various parts of Earbitten were composed. Ear Bitten was by the way also the name of the debut album by the Australian industrial band Severed Heads.

Earbitten was premiered on 8 October 2003 during the Ultima Festival in connection with Notam’s 10-year anniversary concert at Parkteatret in Oslo. Earbitten was also performed on 7 June 2004 at Synthése (International Festival of electronic music and sonic art, Bourges, France) and in connection with the opening of the Norwegian Academy of Music’s new building on 23 January 2007.

The double CD Crashing Happy was released by BEK in 2006 and consisted of a collection of compositions based on the audio material from the computer crash. The music was composed by: Øyvind Brandtsegg, Espen Sommer Eide, Asbjørn Blokkum Flø, Ulf Knudsen, Jørgen Larsson, Francisco López and Thorolf Thuestad.

Crashing Happy cover art, design by Petri Henriksson.