Kristoffer and I have a duo together that’s called Øy, and we’ve been making music for some years now. Our set up works like this: I dance on a couple of wooden boards that have contact mic’s attached to them, and through these, my sound goes into Kristoffers system. Kristoffer will then use this input in many different ways, and I’ll discover what happens with my sound as we play. We both improvise, and deal with whatever happens real-time.
Here are some of the basic methods we have:
my volume can control everything that’s under the knobs on Kristoffers set up, gradually, variably
Kristoffer prepares sequences and an assembly line, which will be played in order if I tap dance loud enough
there are effects on the tap dance sound itself
I can trigger drum samples, like a bass drum and a hihat, similarly to how a drummer can play a drum pad
everything can be changed on the go, Kristoffer live-programmes what I can control, also according to what I do
Kristoffer plays live himself (but usually not a groove or a sequencer with a groove, since that becomes quite limiting).
The exciting thing about working with Kristoffer is that he gives me a lot of new sounds to work with, in addition to offering his own music. I feel a little bit like I’m entering a magical, virtual world, where I get several new color palettes attached to my feet, including all kinds of tones and melodies. Sometimes my electronic sound is on the foreground, and the acoustic tap sound disappears in the back. Sometimes the acoustic sound itself is amplified so much that it gets a whole new character. As I discover which superpower I’ve been handed, and then play around with it, Kristoffer can react to this in several ways. He can always change my sound / effect, or just add more layers of his own. Our mechanics are very different; I produce music by continuously moving. If I stop, my music stops. If I’m playing a groove that the music depends on I can’t stop moving, otherwise the whole thing will collapse. Kristoffer works with many layers, and is building it by live programming it. He can get something started, and then just let it play. Sometimes he will also add something that he plays live, straight on the keyboard. We’re both really IN the music, and we’re looking for the development of it all the time. Where is it going? How will we keep the momentum, or break it, or change it, and when?
As a tap dancer it’s challenging to work like this. I have to be ready for anything. I have to be in the moment, and find ways to use my tap dance so that it makes sense with the sounds I’m getting. Usually I discover what’s “under my feet” at the moment I step on the board. I have some strategies to deal with this. I can start playing something that has a rhythmical value and intention, that sort of adds to any sound I could get. Or I touch the board once, and hear what it sounds like, and then take action immediately to integrate that one touch into something that works. The other thing that’s challenging for me as a tap dancer is that I get a lot of responsibility. For most of the time, the beat and groove of the music depends on me. The consequences of stopping or messing it up are quite big.
Kristoffer and I set up the recording gear in his studio, and improvised for several days. We heard ourselves through (sweaty) headsets, and not over the speakers like when we perform. This way it was easier to work with the music after. We always aimed for 10 minute long improvisations. After some time we agreed on some simple scores. When we picked a track, we didn’t do much alterations, except shortening one transition.
Improvised by Øy / Kristoffer Lislegaard (electronics) and Janne Eraker (tap dance on wood, loose taps) Recorded and mixed at Metronopolis by Kristoffer Lislegaard
About Kristoffer Lislegaard Kristoffer Lislegaard is a Norwegian electronic musician and producer based in Oslo. Since 2010, he has created, performed and released music combining genres such as ambient, noise, post-rock, club music and more. He has also worked as a composer and sound designer with projects spanning from contemporary dance, theatre, film, art installations, poetry and performance art. Different spaces and contexts makes his music take on different forms, from calm and meditative ambient music, to beat-driven glitched-out grooves and washed-out noise.
About Øy Øy is a duo consisting of tap dancer Janne Eraker and electronic musician Kristoffer Lislegaard. The sound from Eraker's tap dance is sent into the electronics and used to modulate different parameters, to trigger sequencers, or as a sound source for processing and sampling. Exactly how the tap sound interacts with the electronics is programmed live on the spot as part of the performance. The result is a two-way communication where they both are reacting to what the other one is contributing. The focus of their collaboration is to work together as one complex unit or as two completely separate parts, and the changes between these two states bring a wide dynamic variation into their artistic expression.