Akusmata Polyphonic 2024

Thu-Fri April 4-5, 18-21 -free entry-

Vuotalo Cultural Centre, Mosaiikkitori 2, Helsinki

Thursday, April 4
CRACKLEBOX ORCHESTRA (Antti Auvinen, Petri Kuljuntausta, Juhani Liimatainen, and Juhani Nuorvala)
TMS (Tina M.K. Madsen, Malte Steiner)

Friday, April 5


AKUSMATA POLYPHONIC 2024 is an intensive sound art and electronic music event at Vuotalo Cultural Centre in Helsinki. Invited musicians, composers and sound artists are offering for the audience a wide spectrum of new sonic expression from the fields of experimental & electronic music, sound art, improvisation and ambient. The program includes modular sound systems, do-it-yourself musical instruments, and improvised music with attitude. The event features performers from the Faroe Islands, Denmark, Germany and Finland.


TMS is an experimental electro-acoustic noise-performance project by the artists Malte Steiner and Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen. The format of the TMS project is improvisational performances built out of Steiner and Madsen’s sonic interactions, where noise-scapes and complex structures emerge. The tools used in each TMS work and performance can depart in custom software, synths and effect pedals, or self-built controllers, where inputs are analogue as well as digital; modulated, transformed, and distorted. The physical interactions with materials have since the beginning been a specific focus point for TMS, and to create a more performative and visual sound experience.
   At the Akusmata Polyphonic Festival, TMS will debut their new piece “Occurrences”. They have created a cybernetic system which registers and processes their sonic inputs coming from metal percussion and tactile resonance via piezo-microphones. The computer responds to their playing and calculates control data, not only for internal sound synthesis but also for an external modular synthesizer and real-time generated visuals.
Website: https://www.block4.com/musicprojects/TMS/index.php

Cracklebox (or kraakdoos) is a custom-made, a touch and pressure sensitive device that squeeks and makes incredible noises. Cracklebox is based on a single operational amplifier, one of the earliest models to be produced. The history of Cracklebox starts from the late-1960s, when Michel Waisvisz designed and built the very first Crackle circuit together with Geert Hamelberg. Later the Crackle boxes were produced at STEIM center for research and development of new musical instruments in the electronic performing arts, located in Amsterdam, Netherlands. STEIM closed the doors in 2000 and the production of the original Crackleboxes ended.
   The Cracklebox Orchestra is a group of composers and sound artists who continue to explore the instrument’s potential as a group and come together to perform with the Crackleboxes. The concert features compositions by cracklebox musicians Antti Auvinen, Petri Kuljuntausta, Juhani Liimatainen, and Juhani Nuorvala.

Portrait taken by photographer Bardur Eklund.

Jens L. Thomsen is a composer and sound artist from the Faroe Islands. He has a BA in Music Technology from University of West London as well as an MSc in Acoustics from London South Bank University. His work often explores the relationship between art and technology. Notable sound works include NORÐ which was commissioned by the Southbank Centre and exhibited at Royal Festival Hall in London, Føroyar 5.2 which with the use of seismic technology allowed him to play on mountains as if they were instruments, and the Æðr soundscape which is transmitted in a Faroese subsea tunnel using FM signals.
   His main artistic outlet is through the project ORKA which he started 10 years ago by building homemade instruments out of found objects on a farm on the Faroe Islands. ORKA has twice been nominated for the Nordic Council Music Award. Jens spends a lot of time producing in the studio and is credited on close to a hundred releases. At the moment he tours as part of Yann Tiersen’s live band.
On February 2, 2024 Jens released the groundbreaking EP ÆÐR via Kervið. ÆÐR (meaning ‘vein’ in English) is a uniquely atmospheric two-track EP, exploring modernity and post-war freedom through a Faroese lens. Commissioned for Eysturoyartunnil, a 12km subsea tunnel – the largest of its kind – in Jens’ native Faroe Islands, a structural marvel with striking art that has both a voice and aesthetic identity of its own. The EP currently lives as a live audio installation, broadcast around the clock on FM radio for anyone travelling through the tunnel. This is the first time a soundscape has been permanently installed and broadcast via this kind of technical solution allowing the sound to become part of the experience of the space itself. At the Akusmata Polyphonic concert, Jens will be performing the piece on stage.

Image by Juho Liukkonen

Petri Kuljuntausta compose electronic music, improvises as a guitarist and with electronic instruments, plays with animals and birds, makes underwater performances and performs in different natural spaces with environmental sounds. He has a long career as an experimental electronic musician and sound artist.
Kuljuntausta is currently working on two new projects. He develops the technique of how to play with nature and animals, without disturbing their sound processes. He is currently composing a new opera and writing a book about the subject of the opera. The Akusmata Polyphonic concert will feature his new works and improvisations.

Laila Skovmand and Carsten Kær started working together in 1996 and since then their paths have met in a variety of setups. Latest was in the 28-hour “Red List Concert” in September 2023 in Aarhus, where they were on stage for 28 hours, challenging perception of time and setting focus on endangered species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Akusmata Polyphonic features free improvisations from two collaborators who have been making music together for a long time. Music is created at the moment of performance. The audience witnesses how the musicians find open possibilities in the space between the piano and the voice.
      Laila Skovmand, voice
The backbone of Laila Skovmand’s artistic work is a boundless curiosity and open-mindedness giving impetus for vocal and compositional inventions. As a singer and composer she deliberately places herself in the gap between genres and media. From here she explores the liminal states of human experience in order to question and challenge assumptions and narrowed perspectives. Laila Skovmand is artistic director of Between Music and is the creator of the underwater concert AquaSonic where she has invented a new underwater vocal technique. Laila graduated as a singer from the Royal Academy of Music Denmark and from Roy Hart International Voice center in France. She also holds an Advanced Postgraduate Soloist Diploma from the Royal Academy of Music as performative composer.
      Carsten Kær, grand piano
Carsten Kær is an award-winning Danish jazz pianist and composer. First and foremost he is a curious improviser, influenced by contemporary classical music. He is also deeply connected to the cornucopia of World Music, Cuban and Brazilian music, and Indian konnakol. Carsten is “a lyrical dreamer who opens our inner landscapes with his surprising soundscapes and leads us by forgotten paths to an untouched place within ourselves.” He is initially self-taught, but graduated from RMB at the Royal Academy of Music in Århus in 1998 and has since been traveling the world, collaborating and recording with numerous well-known artist.

Portrait by Kamilla Śladowska

Jukka Kääriäinen is a musician focused on experimental music. Depending on the situation, Jukka’s instruments of choice include an acoustic guitar with preparations or an electric guitar with a bag full of effects. Kääriäinen has performed in many European countries and at international festivals in the United Kingdom, Spain, and France. In addition to solo concerts, he regularly performs in bands and has collaborated with many leading European improvisers such as Teppo Hauta-Aho, Kalle Kalima, Harri Sjöström, Axel Dörner, Kriton Beyer, Rieko Okuda, Anil Eraslan, Mikko Innanen, and Joel Grip, premiering works by composers such as Riikka Talvitie, Sebastian Hilli, Sami Klemola, Clara de Asis, and Tytti Arola. At Akusmata Pollyphonic, Jukka will perform pieces for solo electric guitar.

The two-day event ends with a joint improvisation performed by the musicians present. Acoustic and electronic instruments are heard on stage, sound and tone, acoustic vibration and electric signal, ambient and rhythm meet in the performance.
Whatever the musician’s instrument and sound source, the common denominator for performers is creating a meaningful performance by listening to others and reacting to their playing.

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