Jonas R Kirkegaard is a danish master student of electronic music who released Quiet Works for Cello & Commodore 64. It is a memory-stick housed in a small wooden box in an edition of 100. Thanks to the kind Jacob Sikker Remin (check his works!) I got a copy before Kirkegaard temporarily migrated to Uganda. From the memory stick:
“The cello and the commodore 64 are old and significant instruments, each in their own tradition, and they carry a lot of historical and musical references and a great heritage with them. In this project they are presented in slow, simple compositions, with a minimum of post editing and no spectacular performances by instrumentalists. Instead they are merely to be perceived together as very important, musical objects without specific regards to traditions, conventions and technical achievements.”
This is the opposite to the intricate sequencing and programming that follows the dominant perspective of soundchips as limited materials that should do new, spectacular things. Programmed in BASIC, these songs are based on the reiteration of long sounds and notes – something that might look very empty in a tracker. For many tracker-composers (including myself), empty spaces create an itch to “do something” – tapping in to a maximalist form of chipmusic where quantity sometimes gains primacy over quality.
These compositions are minimalist, even more so than the related works of Tristan Perich. Both puts attention to materiality by accepting that the music is determined by technology. Kirkegaard performs these works very quietly, which further moves the “musical form” towards the background.
At first listen it felt a bit pretentious, but as the concept sunk in, I started to like it a lot. It is a form of combination of ambient and noise, and the cello connects it to ‘classical music‘. The technology is just “doing its thing”. Albeit controlled by humans, there is much rooms for SID-artifacts in Kirkegaard’s BASIC-programming. Und das ist gut!