17 August, 2007

Where's Ögonblick?

My collaboration with Ken Peel now has a name - "Ögonblick".

In Swedish, ‘ögon’ means ‘eyes’ and ‘blick’ means ‘gaze’ or ‘glance’. An ögonblick is the amount of time it takes for an eye to gaze, which is really an instant. Our tracks are like snapshots of different ögonblicks; miniature soundscapes that have their own sounds, harmonies, colours, shapes. The plural form of ögonblick is also ögonblick, it can mean one as well as many.

Ögonblick’s music is driven by spontaneity – drawing intuitively from our many influences, but Ögonblick is not just about experimentation for the sake of experimentation. We are seeking to create lyrical, memorable pieces of music that are spirited and enjoyable.

The first Ögonblick commercial release will be available late 2007 / early 2008.

In the meantime, take a listen at myspace.com/ogonblick!

17 May, 2007

Improvised whistling

The last week, I have found a new favorite way to compose - whistling an improvised melody. So, for "Progress", I added a hypothetical whistled melody. I also changed the bass sound and elaborated the rythm just a bit.

Now it sounds like this.

14 May, 2007


Since February, my music composing has been confined to my collaboration with Bristol-based electronica musician Ken Peel. So far, we have co-composed four tracks ("...going on fifth and sixth...") in a very effective and creative kind of process, to me, that is.

Last week, my designer friend Karin and I decided to launch the second project under our [Puie: Dsch] Collaborative-brand. I'm excited to take that collaboration further.

Yesterday, by the piano, I came up with a kind of chord progression I have returned to from time to time. To me, it sounds like a standard synth-pop-song-progression and I'm not really fond of it. The best way to get away from it is to use it in a track once and for all. So, to begin with, I played the chords with an automatic, blip-blop sound on a synth. Then, I added a bass sound with slight delay.

Maybe I'll change those sounds into acoustic sounds instead. Or I'll keep them. That would be a way to kill my darlings.

Here's the electronic version so far.

09 March, 2007

A melody at last

Yesterday, I completed "Track B" by adding a melody, at last. I chose the low whistle for the melody and recorded the whole track in two takes. I like the sound of spontaneity, especially if there are imperfections in the performance (I'm fascinated by the Japanese wabi-sabi concept).

Renaming it "Farväl" (which is Swedish for "farewell"), I consider it complete. Listen here: Farväl

01 March, 2007

"Track A" now has a name

I have finally decided on a name for the beforementioned "Track A":

"Numbingly cold brass"

It's a reminiscence of winter gigs with my town's marching band at the square, in the morning, with a temperature below zero Celsius and no audience. Romantic, isn't it?

27 February, 2007

A skeleton of a song

Bit by bit, track "B" takes form. Tonight, I added chords for a verse (played on the mandolin), a basstrack for the "refrain" (out of a melodicon downpitched two octaves) and the song structure (intro, refrain, verse, refrain, verse, refrain(s) and fade out). I'm still lacking a melody and I'm not sure on what instrument to play it, but I'll get there soon.

Here's "Track B, version 3".

23 February, 2007

The hidden qualities of boules

The work on track "B" continues. A few days ago, I added effects. First, a short ambience-reverb for the unison intro and then a long, proper reverb as the five oboes spread into chords. I thought I needed something to mark the rythm. In my office, I have six miniature boules that made a nice sound when dropped on each other from two decimeters height. So, that's a nice intro. Now, the track needs a continuation. I duplicated the 8-bar chord part and lowered the volume, to make way for a forthcoming melody. I also created a very simple basstrack as a test, and was quite satisfied with the result. Since I prefer acoustic instruments to midi, I'll record the bass with, perhaps the accordeon or the guitar.

The present version of track "B" is here.

20 February, 2007

First attempt on track "B"

Due to the happy event of the birth of my two children, I have had a pause in my composing activity for about two weeks. The day before yesterday, I made the first attempt on turning the idea sketch for track B into audio. I decided early on to let oboes interpret the blue lines in the original sketch. The sketch showed the oboes coming disparately from different directions, but during my leave, it has become clear to me that I want them to be unison from the beginning, and after a while spread into the chords.

So, I recorded five oboetracks. An introduction followed by the chords. It sounds like this.

05 February, 2007

Hypothesis for the "B" track

Just now, I started working on the second additional track for the forthcoming release, the "B" track. In the idea sketch, I want four or five separate instances of instruments, coming from completely different directions, form a well structured chord progression on which to build the rest of the tune. I was thinking about what chords to use, when I remembered an old time favourite of mine; one of my first recordings since moving here. In it, I use a downward stretching progression of a bit strange chords, and while listening, I often find myself looping that progression again and again, lacking the desire to stop. I just can't seem to get tired of it. The original recording is merely a sketch, so I'll develop the material further for this tune.

The progression sounds like this (but, I won't use that tacky sound).

I'll continue tomorrow.

01 February, 2007

A time for subtraction

Listening to "A", version 2, I felt it was a bit too dense. Time for subtraction. In order to create a gentle climax, I muted the nyckelharpa and trumpet for almost a bar, while the oboe holds a high, expanding note.

Then, to add to the "Russian warship baptism"-illusion, I went out to our garage and recorded an anchor chain, pulled slowly over the arm rest of a garden chair. I inserted the sample in the last part of the track, after the oboe has left the scene and the nyckelharpa takes over the lead.

This, I'm satisfied with. This is the final version. Now, I'll just find a name.

"A", version 3

31 January, 2007

Second version of the "A" track

Just now, I finished the second version of the "A" track. I had quite a hard time to make something listenable out of it. As long as I didn't have a predetermined chord progression to improvise on, the nyckelharpa just sounded confusing. So, I decided on fixed chord structure of four bars, looping. I added a drum track to make the flow consistent and a very basic piano-accompaniment to support me with the chords. "Ah, that's better!"

Sticking to the original idea, I cut up the nyckelharparecording and looped four selected bars, improvised on the oboe over it, but something was still missing. I needed a bass.

I didn't find anything inspiring in my instrument-closet, but I suddenly remembered my recently bought trumpet. I imagined a Russian brass-sextet in -40 degrees Celsius playing at the baptism of a warship, and recorded a simple basstrack on the trumpet. Lowering the pitch 12 semitones, I got that lovely trombone-sound.

The result is here: "A", version 2.

I'll leave this idea here for now. Maybe this is the final version, maybe there's more to come.

30 January, 2007

First version of the "A" track

Tonight, I have tried out my idea for the "A" track, mentioned in an earlier post. I started out with recording the nyckelharpa over a 60 BPM standard beat as support. I felt too restrained listening to the beat, so after a couple of takes, I skipped the drum machine. My intention was to leave the beat out of the final mix, but I decided to not use it at all.

Instead, I improvised completely freely until I found a short melody that could work as a loop. I repeated that melody twice and then continued in another direction. After a few phrases, it felt natural to end the track, so I did.

I cut up the recording and multiplied the loop maybe 7-8 times. I had intended to use the oboe as the main melody instrument, but since I was so eager to try the structural idea, and since the oboe takes 15-20 minutes to "start up", I went for the low whistle instead.

I recorded one take of that and then adjusted the volume on the accompanying nyckelharpa so they would work together.

Here's the result: "A", version 1.

First, I thought it sounded tedious and I hesitated on proceeding on the idea, but after I have listened to it a couple of times, I think it's quite nice. But, I can do better.

I'll try another variation, with less moving nyckelharpa loop and the oboe instead of the low whistle.

29 January, 2007

Two new ideas

The recent days, I have begun to work on two new tracks, which probably will be published on an EP to be released in the near future. More info on the EP later.

My ideas for new compositions often start with an unclear mental picture of the track's structure. That is, often what contrasting sounds I want to include, significant melodical patterns, what parts (and what characteristics) are lined up on a timeline et c.

The first track (for now, let's call it "A") (see the left image), starts with a free form nyckelharpa-sequence, which ultimately evolves into a looping bar. The perspective shifts as a melody is introduced, played by a soft sounding instrument (presumably an oboe), and the nyckelharpa loop is then reduced to accompaniment. To contrast against the soft oboe, I'd like some sharp or rather distinct percussion effects during the melody. After a while, the nyckelharpa escapes from its loop and plays more freely again, just to end up in another loop. Maybe the oboe then plays another melody, or maybe yet another instrument is introduced. I have no sense of how to end it right now.

The idea for the second track ("B") (see the right image) is simpler (or maybe not as evolved yet). Four or five instances of the same instrument each play distinct phrases, different from the others. After a while, simultaneously, they melt together in a perfect chord sequence where each and everyone stays in the right place. Maybe they will in the end again differ from each other or maybe something else happens.

My intention is to post the works in progress on this blog as they evolve.

26 January, 2007

"Compose" EP (CD) now available

The EP (CD) "Compose" is now available for purchase from my main site, www.puieunlimited.com (click on "Releases").

It contains four tracks plus three animations covering the creative process between composing and designing (unfortunately, the animations don't work on a Mac).

The EP is one half of the result of the "Compose"-project within [Puie: Dsch] Collaborative], a collaboration with designer Karin Gullbrantz. The other half is the chair "Compose". Read all about the project here.

Or buy the EP right here, right now ($9 incl shipping):

24 January, 2007

Bombarde sample

Gurdonark also requested a short bombarde sample, so I recorded this just now and sent to him. I'm looking forward to get it back, modified beyond recognition.

Modernistic, symphonic nyckelharpa

Early this morning, Gurdonark sent me "Melankoli", a piece he made from my nyckelharpa-sample of yesterday. I was astonished.

He had turned it into a modernist symphony. The sound is gigantic and dark, yet shimmering with faint light. It sounds like a doubled string orchestra in a concert hall. There is a pulse in it, or perhaps more of a sweeping sensation. It could be the soundtrack of a Bill Viola-video (who inspires me greatly, by the way). Partly, it sounds very classical, and partly, the Swedish folklore shines through, just a little bit.

Since it may be released in the near future, I cannot post it here yet. Maybe I'll get back to it in another post soon, though.

23 January, 2007

Some nyckelharpa-material

Recently, Gurdonark asked me to send him a short sample of the nyckelharpa for him to creatively use in his own recordings. Since I really enjoy these world-spanning, instant collaborations, I improvised two snippets yesterday:
They are totally clean of effects in order to widen their usability.

It'll be fun to hear what he makes from them.

16 January, 2007

The Japanese decision

"The Japanese decision" is one of the first recordings I did with my, then, new (but used) Italian accordeon. At the time, I was (and still am) in love with the slightly melancholic sound of the accordeon. Just improvising on the instrument, I found the riff in the introduction, and built the rest on that.

I wanted the main melody to contrast to the riff and be more of a gentle, soothing melody for bright summer nights by the sea.

This is the first tune in which I made a pad by recording a couple of irish whistletracks on to each other. I've used the idea since, e.g. in "Frrrrr" (but then with slide whistles).

Finally, I added a triangle to brighten it all up. The triangle is a far too underestimated instrument, I think. More of that.

15 January, 2007

Bombarde Indienne

A couple of years ago, on a vacation in Brittany, I bought a Breton bombarde. As the technique is somewhat similar to my main instrument, the oboe, it was fairly easy to learn how to play. The bombarde is wonderfully loud, despite it's small size.

I really wanted to make a fetching loop with the bombarde, but I don't think I succeeded. Anyway, I like the improvisational part better.

And I'm surprised that the Macedonian kaval sounds OK, because I certainly haven't learnt to play that properly yet.

For the bass sound, I recorded my Levin guitar and pitched it down an octave.

I let some Moroccan bells contribute with treble as well as rythm.

The result: "Bombarde Indienne"

The drumtrack I found on ccmixter.org (which I, by the way, highly recommend) and it is by courtesy of spinningmerkaba.

13 January, 2007


"Bar" is a short, playful video I made in an experiment where I let the random flashes of a broken BAR-sign define the sound/music. I filmed the sign last year in Assisi, Italy, and I then looped the short video three times in what you see here.

I found a sharp synth-sound (I've had a period of favoring the sharp sounds) and inserted bursts of the sound exactly where the sign flashes in the video. Then I added a smooth Rhodes piano playing chords as accompaniment.

12 January, 2007

Compose Part 2

"Compose Part 2" is a tune from the "[Puie: Dsch] Collaborative"-project, where I and designer Karin Gullbrantz created a chair with accompanying music in a parallell process, so the design was inspired by the music and the music by the design.

The sharp synth-sounds in the beginning reflects one of Karin's models of a chair chassis made of a twisted steelrod. The melody played by the oboe is similar to another model's profile, if it had been placed in a musical sheet.

The "Œuvres" were released in an event at Brand Design Center in Gothenburg, Sweden on the 19th of April 2006.

You can read all about the project here.

11 January, 2007


"Ground" is a piece I created a while ago. I wanted the beat to very minimalistic, which I think I succeeded in. I like how it stops and "holds it's breath" every second bar. At the time, I chose a very basic bass-sound; something I would do otherwise today. But, that felt right then, so, so be it.

As an effect, I recorded an "ambient-instrument" I made from oakwood a couple of years ago. It resembles those wind-chimes some people have hanging on their porch, but wooden.

I improvised the melody on a recorder and I enjoy its melancholy. I repeated the melody on my soprano saxophone, as a contrast to the thin sound of the recorder.

You'll also hear a favourite of mine, a small xylophone from Järna, Sweden. It comprises only an octave, but the sustain is wonderfully long.

All in all, I find "Ground" a sweet, little melody.

10 January, 2007

Jubel Töne

In late summer of 2006, a very dear friend of mine gave me her East German zither of the brand "Jubel Töne". I was astonished by her generosity and being given an instrument was so unexpected for me. And, I was overwhelmingly happy. Few things give me such joy as new instruments (last week I bought myself a trumpet).

I went to a friend who owns a violin store, and he ordered a tuning-key from Germany, which arrived two weeks later. This zither is normally tuned in quite "ordinary" chords, such as C, D, G, F & A, but I had the idea that I would tune it in, for me, more exciting chords, such as Fmaj7. This is my first try at playing the zither, and I will definitely use it more in the future.

I set out to only use natural sounds and no midi-instruments. I made the "bass-drum" by recording hand claps and then I transposed them down one octave. The bass is similarly my Italian accordeon (a Curtini), also lowered an octave. I think it almost sounds as a bowed upright bass sometimes.

I improvised a melody on the saxophone and after one round, I was lacking something to follow it with. I spontaneously wrote nonsense lyrics and sang them (which right now is a stretch for me, to have the courage).

Luckily, I found a place for my musical saw as a "take off"-effect in the end of verse 1. It's fascinating how an acoustic instrument can make such a strange sound.

And, then "Jubel Töne" was completed.