Juliana Venter is a voice artist, and has the ability to use whatever material she wants to express whatever she wants. My expectations going into this collaboration with her, was that it would probably be challenging to pick a certain direction, out of all the possibilities I saw coming. Juliana was prepared and came with ideas for some texts to incorporate in our improvisation. We spent some days playing around with material, varying from blues, to poetry, to harsh noise, to rhythms that reminded me of Indian music, and more. On the last day, Audun, the sound engineer, and Sigurd Ytre-Arne, a photographer stepping in for Morten for this one time, came to record and film. Without setting a score, Juliana and I performed 8 improvised pieces. It was an intense experience, exhausting, and very exciting. I noticed that I felt the need to steer the sound with the tension and release of my whole body. I felt the music creeping into my face, making me pull my face in weird ways. I felt more alert and precise in my sound by exaggerating it into my body, and it felt natural to move more than usual.
These days took place in an absolutely beautiful location, namely a former boathouse at the fjord. I got there by taking a ferry, bringing my transport bike including all my tap boards with me, and then biking for half an hour. Along the road there were forests, farms, horses, and even a deer ran alongside me for a little while. The boathouse itself was completely out of wood. The old floor had been taken out, renovated, and put back again. It had a nice bassy sound. The room was completely sound isolated, and the sound of tap dance on that floor, in that room, was so satisfying. The different planks had different tones that I could play with. It was a bit chilly outside, and we had a fire in the fireplace. When I listened to the recordings later I was struck by the last one. I loved it! In the studio with Audun and Juliana we decided to keep it like it was, except for one tiny part towards the end. There we cut out a bit, so that the build-down of the song comes in a bit sooner. Other than that, it’s truly improvised. The title is a quote I heard somewhere, and I find it fitting to our collaboration. It’s about surrendering to the given situation, and going all-in.
Improvised by Juliana Venter (vocals) and Janne Eraker (tap dance on a wooden floor and metal) Recorded by Audun Strype at Naustet Mixed and mastered by Audun Strype
About Juliana Venter Juliana Venter is a voice artist who was trained as an opera singer from childhood on. She’s known for her heartfelt voice, broad palette and groundbreaking and sometimes extreme expression. The press calls her “the queen of the South African avant-garde”, but she’s at home in opera, contemporary music, folk music, jazz, noise and free improvisation as well. She was the front figure of The Mud Ensemble from Johannesburg, and reached cult status as a pioneer in avant-garde music in South Africa in the 90s. The Mud Ensemble was also known for its work against apartheid. Venter composes for large and original ensembles, while also making music for her own voice and the various collaborations she has. Also, she has a vast experience in cross-genre performance concerts and music theater performances, and she works as a film and theater actress.