Highlights from 2019
The beginning of the year is usually quiet in my business, its time to look over the accounting, sort your equipment, make new big plans.. I finally have time to re-visit my blog again and look back at the most memorable jobs from last year
March 2019: Sommeren uten menn, Oslo Nye. Theatre-performance
My role: Video-programming
This was my main project this spring. It was a nice break from ad-hoc freelance jobs where you work with different clients and events every day. Working in a theatre-production is different because it’s a concentrated effort that lasts several weeks. You get to know your colleagues quite well, and you can really dig into the project and let it absorb you.
For this project we made a custom solution for filming actors on the stage and projecting them on the backwall along with other video-material. I was supervised by a talented videographer who had made some really nice landscape-videos from California and Lofoten. My job was to put it all together and set it up for the lighting-engineer who ran the show. The night of premiere was also the end of my role there. It was nice to see the picture finally unfold and knowing I could leave the project right at the climax.
Release of the new VY-logo, Oslo Sentralstasjon march 2019
My role there: Making sure the third slide of the powerpoint-presentation wasn’t shown too early
This was a small step for me, but one can argue that this was one of the most important projects I was a part of last year. It was just a routine-job in the morning, a late call to help running a short event with one powerpoint-presentation. I didn’t think much about it really, until the organizers stressed the importance of not showing the third slide to early. When this was finally revealed, I understood I had been apart of what could almost be called an historical event: the release of the new logo for train-company Vy. This was arguably one of the most controversial and discussed happenings for any company in Norway last year. I was happy to have my part in it.
April, Riksscenen: Martin Sued + Pepe Rivero/Tveter duo
My role: FOH audio-engineer
Although my most recent blog-posts have focused on conference-work and video, I must admit that some of my most enjoyable jobs still comes from working with music. One of the genres I feel I have had most success with over the past years is latin-music. Last year I had regular gigs for Kafe Synk, a series of concerts at Sentralen which features different kind of latin-music in a more intimate setting. And I worked several times for the latin-concerts and events at Riksscenen.
When I think about it I regret calling latin-music a genre, because its so many different styles. Salsa is lots of energy and outgoing dancing. Tango I think is very different, more dynamic and ambiguous. Personally I would never consider dancing to tango-music because the melodies are too complex. For me it would be enough to just sit down and listen to such music.
When I am running the sound for a tango-band, I try to give the low tones an impact, especially the low notes on the piano and the bass. Because this is acoustic amplified music, this can pose an interesting technical challenge. I think its also because tango usually doesn’t use drums, which gives the piano and bass more responsibility for rhythm and power in the music. The way I approach this is usually to put a microphone close to the bass-strings on the piano, and if the bass-player doesn’t use a pickup, I just hope for the he/she will play really hard on the strings like an old-school jazz-musician who didn’t have an amplifier. In the end of the concert the bow should have lost some of its wire because of the intensity the bass-player has had. If the bass and piano are working nicely together in the low end, I do think that the rest of the soundscape is easier to balance when it comes to tango-music, but also amplified acoustic music in general. Actually I want to write another blog-text about that, which should be entitled: “The Low End Theory of Amplified Acoustic Instruments.”
Ok Im sorry I got carried away there. My point was really that one of my best gigs last year was the double-concert with Martin Sued Orchestra and Hanne Tveter/Pepe Rivera duo.
Martin Sued has a modern version of tango which is closer to contemporary-music and jazz, very rich music. Hanne Tveter is a well-established jazz/latin-singer who introduces some great native latin-american jazz-musicians to the Norwegian audience. This evening she song with Pepe Rivera, a virtuoso jazz-pianist from Cuba. For an idea of what it sounded like, listen to this jazzed-up version of a Norwegian folk-tune:
Maria Serifovic & Adis Skaljo band, Eventhallen, October
My role: FOH audio-engineer
This was pleasant surprise for me. I got to work with a previous Eurovision-winner performing with her band, and after the concert it was all handshakes and smiles everywhere. Going into this job I was a bit nervous because there were so many factors I didn’t control: it was my first time working at this particular venue, which meant, for example, I wasn’t so sure of sound-system, the organizing of the event, and whether or not I could fulfill the expectations of an artist who was a celebrity in her country. But my fears were put to shame. The equipment was fine, we had plenty of time for setup and soundcheck, and the musicians were nice people that were easy to work with. Generally I would say that the more experienced artists are easier to work with because they know what to expect from an engineer. They won’t make demands that are not possible to meet. What is important is that you know your equipment and don’t make them wait when they ask for obvious things. It’s a good idea to be well prepared and set up as much as possible in advance, so when the singer asks for a little more in her monitor its just a push in the fader for you. As long as you offer this basic-service, and do it fast and reliably, the artists will start focusing on their own performance and forget about the sound. When that kind of trust is there, the job as an audio-engineer can be quite enjoyable.
Den norske operaen & ballett, november
Norsk Jazzorkester with Felix Peikli featuring Ralph Peterson
My role there: FOH audio-engineer
I would put this in the highlights alone simply because it was my first time working in the national opera and now I can put that off my bucket-list. But I still think I would enjoy working with this group in the local jazz-pub. Felix Peikli is a very talented clarinetist who has managed to put a name out for himself playing traditional jazz/bebop music, reaching broader than just the hardcore jazz-community. In this project he has teamed up with conductor Carl Nilsen and their string and wind ensemble. They make orchestral arrangements for different kind of jazz music. In a previous project they focused on Duke Ellingtons music
but in the opera they had made new arrangements to the music of Art Blakey, featuring guest-artist Ralph Peterson. For me the most interesting part of the job was to balance the explosive drumming in the legacy of legendary drummer Blakey, with the softer acoustic instruments. I hope I did ok. At least I had no excuse not to make it sound good because the equipment was top notch. The biggest dilemma during the set-up was whether to use schoeps or dpa-microphone on the hi-hat, which is like choosing between Jaguar and Porsche for going to the shop and buy some groceries. I will have to remember this moment next time I run out of microphones on a job.