søndag 12. februar 2017




The 5th release on Groobie Tapes has just been unleashed! It is a C-40 split cassette between Klangverkstedet (Anthony Barratt) and Stiv Heks (Einar Goksøyr Åsen), with 20 minutes of music by each. Your mental tastebuds can savour samples of their curious sounds below.

Buying options:
Norway/Europe/EU: 12 euro or 100 NOK (p+p included)
World: 14 euro or 125 NOK (p+p included)
Pay to my Paypal: <tosoer@gmail.com>

The first 20 copies (numbered) come in white cassettes, the regular in black.

Below you'll find two short interviews with the perpetrators of the music:


How, where and when did you record the stuff on this tape?

The music on my side of the tape originally appeared in slightly different form on various projects dating from 2006 and up to the end of last year. It's basically a selection of pieces I'm particularly fond of. 

Some began purely for my own amusement, others were originally made to suit a mood or specific scene.  

But for the most part, everything was recorded at home in my studio.

Anthony Barratt
When did you first start recording instrumental solo music?

From an early age. I bought a four track cassette recorder in the early 1990s. I was learning the piano and clarinet but for fun I'd record little ideas. 

Incidentally, one of the tracks on my side, 'Gravity', was first recorded back then. When my family moved from
London to the south coast of England in 2006, I discovered a bag of old recordings and on a tape there was an early version of that track. It sounded a bit different but the basic arrangement was there. 

Do you have a particular work mode or method when you start recording? Where do ideas come from?

I like to improvise on different instruments and see were it takes me. 

In my music room at home we have a
Hammond chord organ from the mid 1950s that I picked up for free on Finn. It's quite an unusual instrument in that it's all valve, with a monophonic synth section closer in design to the Novachord than the organs that became popular decades later. It has an extensive accompaniment chord section that you play with your left hand, like an accordionist would do. You can find some fresh chord patterns using these buttons and so often I'll sit down and improvise on the Hammond to come up with starting points. 

Changing my surroundings helps me come up with new ideas too. When I made 'Fantasi' (from my eponymous 2011 release), I was sat in a mountain cabin at Eggedal in the autumn, and a bit of the misty atmosphere there found its way into the music. I think that's often how ideas are made… when you interact with different instruments or environments. 

What is the magic of instrumental music?

I guess the magic lies in the space left for the listener. 

Is there magic in analogue compared to digital sounds? How much of each have you used here?

I prefer to use analogue sounds, but I rely on digital a great deal too, so it would be silly for me to say analogue is best. I've spent a lot of time recording analogue sound, sampling instruments one note at a time to build up a sound library, so the line between analogue and digital is a bit blurred for me. 

Why release a cassette?

I like using cassettes and mini cassettes myself when processing sound or performing. It's nice to release a physical object too.

Do you have any particular favourite instruments and/or sounds that you return to or search for? And what do those sounds mean to you?

The past few years I've been using a single wooden marimba note as my main melodic sound. It's super simple and on many of the tracks on Selections. My first love was The Beatles in their psychedelic period so naturally I'm fond of the mellotron and other sounds that have a similar wobble and imperfection. 

Tell us about the main musical projects you've been involved with. 

I played guitar in the krautrock inspired band, Salvatore, for a couple of years. And also the indie pop band Je Suis Animal for ten years or so. These days I play keyboards and bass in the Metronomicon Audio group S.L.Y.C. 


Where do you find your favourite music these days? 

Stuart Maconie's 'Freak Zone' on BBC Radio is really good for discovering new and old gems. A few years ago I began to buy albums again rather than cherry pick tracks or download masses of music from blog sites. Overall, I hear less music but what I do listen to, I enjoy more. 


How, where and when did you record the stuff on this tape?

Most of the stuff on this tape was recorded during 2016 in an attic apartment in Schweigaards Gate in Oslo, except "Standby Vanningsanlegg", which was recorded on Taketomi, a tropical island in southern Japan in 2015.

The tracks are improvised sound collages which I recorded directly to my computer or on a 4-track Tascam. I splice the raw material in Ableton Live. This subtractive way of composing is the most time-consuming part of the process, that mainly consists of listening through sequences time and time again and then removing as much as possible without having the whole building collapse. It is an eternal fumbling for parts that might work in contrast to, or together with, something else.

When did you first start recording instrumental solo music?

My first tentative steps towards making music was in 2011. I tried to make a computer game based on my own drawings and needed background music and effects for it. The game was never completed, but it awakened my interest in playing with sound and not only listen to what other people were doing. When I eventually moved to Oslo I got acquainted with Harald Fetveit (Dans for Voksne) and Jørgen Skjulstad (Center of the Universe), and their open-ended way of relating to sound and improvisation was a major inspiration to me. They encouraged me to do things in a live setting as well, to show people what I was doing and have fun with it.

Do you have a particular work mode or method when you start recording? Where do ideas come from?

I almost always try to make a palatable pop structure, something beautiful and transparent, but my shortcomings lead to banal/fantastic results, as a child trying to draw realistic, or a 14 year old's first graffiti piece. The strength lies in the fact that it's not perfect, is my thinking.

Einar Goksøyr Åsen

What is the magic of instrumental music?

The absence of the human voice makes it possible for the brain to focus on the concrete sounds – it's as if there were other, more amorphous beings talking to you. I should add: Stiv Heks is not exclusively an instrumental project. My first cassette has a sad song where I sing as honestly as I can. I also collect samples and field recordings of voices that convey a particular emotional lyric or have a relevant meaning for the project.

Is there a special magic in analogue compared to digital sounds? How much of each have you used here?

I experience that magic exists everywhere if you just give it enough attention. I prefer to use a digital toy keyboard with low resolution samples as a sound source, and then process the sounds through an analogue filter in my modular synthesizer, or I record on a 4-track Tascam and then export to my computer for editing. As a perfomer it's definitely more rewarding to deal with physical things, for instance to manipulate a tape recording by shaking the cassette player, or turn the knobs and look at flickering lights.

Why release a cassette?

A cassette feels good in the palm of your hand and the sound is pleasant. I have a penchant for plastic in pure colors.

Do you have any particular favourite instruments and/or sounds that you return to or search for? And what do those sounds mean to you?

I have modified most of the keyboards I use so that they are unstable in one way or another. If I knew exactly what sounds would emerge, it would have been pointless to get going for me – I want to be surprised by the instruments. It's the same with my modular synth – the complexity in the system you set up quickly makes unpredictable things occur.

What I like about electronic and synthetic sounds is at they often are so clearly defined, they are easier to ensoul or imagine as three-dimensional shapes. For me it's important that all these 'souls' that are conjured up are able to appear as unveiled and honest as possible.

If a tone is shaking like an old woman's voice, or the beat is mosing along like in a psychedelic cartoon, then it's a good thing. If everything doesn't harmonize all the time, that makes the listener conscious. Hopefully my songs work well on at least one point along the playing time, I don't expect more.

Tell us about the main musical projects you've been involved with.

I have played in Norwegian Noise Orchestra, a free combo that consists of the people who turns up for a concert. I'm part of the duo Samvær Under Tilsyn, together with Øyvind Mellbye. We play a punky kind of improvised hardware-techno, where I supply the rhythms and Øyvind makes the bass lines and serve lefser.

Where do you find your favourite music these days?

I try to attend concerts with improvised music, read The Wire, snoop around on Instagram and Soundcloud and still download from Soulseek.

Einar's other cassettes can be found here:

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