allEars Improvised Music Festival – Oslo, 11-14 January 2018

Artists appearing:

Yandsen, Kok, Sandtorv, Mofjell
Jöelle Leandre, Kazehito Seki
Arma Agharta
Will Guthrie
Møster, Gustafsson, Jernberg, Hana, Saunier
Andrea Parkins
Wave Behaviour
McDonald, Welch, Davidson, Duch
Ayumi Tanaka
Rosenberg, Røysum, Rivero, Heule

allEars, Oslo – a festival diary

From the allEars website:
“allEars is an annual festival for improvised music, held in Oslo, Norway. The goal is to present improvised music in all its forms, also incorporating other mediums like video and dance. allEars is a non-profit festival by music enthusiasts for music enthusiasts, organized by Guro Skumsnes Moe and Christian Meaas Svendsen.”
The festival’s been running since 2002. This year’s events took place between 11-14 January and Doğan Namar was there to experience it all. Here are the highlights according to Doğan…



(Venue: nyMusikk)

Joelle Leandre

This versatile avant-garde bassist plays a solo concert on the first day of the festival – 35 minutes of her original, fierce playing and intimate vocals, inspired by Asian and shamanic culture and also contemporary vocal styles. She doesn’t care about the mainstream music scene, believing that music has turned into a global market, a colossal merchandising exercise in which the artist must be subversive, art no longer having any more to do with culture than creation has to do with institution. The following day, Leandre performed with Kazehito Seki, the bass meeting amplified voice, sine waves and harsh noise.

BNSU (Utku Tavil and Kazehito Seki)

In this two-piece noise unit, Utku Tavil works with extreme vocal techniques combined with the sounds of  Kazehito Seki – electronic noise and industrial music unencumbered by the usual restraints. A music that exists on the common border of hardcore, abstract noise and fierce fast furious vocals. Using the mixtapes of Lasse Marhaug, the concert including barking, the sound of motorcycles, varieties of screaming, and machine glitches floating in a swamp of electrified and terrorized sound. “Brain Pussyfication” is their work in progress album.

WeDoMagic (Elin Vister / Kristine Tjogersen / Ola Hoyer / Hanne Rekdal)

Acoustic instruments mixed with field recordings of sea birds and arctic sound environments. Bass clarinet, saxophone, bass, and electronics combine in new age  ambient soundscapes. Waves, birds, whales, and trees trembling in the forest can be heard. Spaces in the music reveal a relaxing atmosphere then the sax intersects with the trombone sending subtle images into the audience. An ambient sleeping pill confronted by nature sounds in a psycho-acoustic laboratory – deep listening required.



(Venue: Nasjonal Jazzscene)

(Andrea Parkins)

Andrea Parkins

Electronic sounds and accordion through eight loudspeakers. An abstract noise princess bringing to mind witchcraft and a walk in a silent forest. Parkins is a New York-based sound artist, composer and electro-acoustic multi-instrumentalist. Her work sits comfortably at the crossroads of improvisation and composition. Using an electric accordion with inventive use of customised sound processing, Parkins wields a sonic language both fractured and fluid.

Yong Yandsen / Siew–Wai Kok & Ole Mofjell / Natalie Sandtorv

Two established duos from opposite sides of the globe crash together in this adventurous ad-hoc collaboration. Ole Mofjell plays intricate and avant-garde meditative percussion. Yong Yandsen is from Kuala Lumpur. A member of the EMACM and SiCKL collectives, promoting experimental music and expression in Malaysia, his influences are free jazz masters Brötzmann and Gustafsson. Siew-Wai Kok applies extraordinary vocal techniques, breathing and gestures alongside Natalie Sandtorv, who wears a shamanic white cloak, dancing freely on-stage. A collaborative audio and visual sculpture.

(Arma Agharta)

Arma Agharta

From Vilnius, this was a combination of total freak show, Dadaist craziness, improvised games and expressive electronics. Voice, objects, and electronics combine in a one-man orchestra playing with the tensions between improvisation and sound art therapy.




(Venue: Salt)

The day started and finished at Salt, beginning with an open conversation between festival performers, touching on issues of sustainability and community and the impact on their creative work and life. Followed by a sauna concert with SKAEVV (Harald Fetveit/Thomas Oxem), a drum and noise duo who took up the challenge of being more intense than a hot steamy sauna. The day ended with a sleeping concert from Denoise (Agnes Hvizdalek / Klaus Filip) whose overnight performance penetrated the audience’s dreams, taking them to the edges of awareness and contentment with subtle sine waves and abstract vocal music. In between these two events, there was a full programme elsewhere…

(Venue: Nasjonal Jazzscene)

Shoshana Rosenberg / Danishta Rivero / Andreas Røysum / Jacob Felix Heule

A first-time collaboration, exploring borders within acoustic and electronic sounds. Danishta Rivero (vocals) uses ethnic sounds from South America and Africa. Andreas Røysum matched well with Australian experimentalist Shoshana Rosenberg on clarinets. Meanwhile, Jacob Felix Heule plays stick-less drums, using cymbals instead to sweep across the surface for creative sound and noise effects.

Neil Davidson / Raymond MacDonald / Fritz Welsh / Michael Francis Duch

Long-time working duos join forces to premier as a Norwegian/Scottish acoustic quartet. The group explored their guitar-saxophone-bass-drums set up, the different components melting smoothly together in a more mainstream free jazz style.


O YAMA O (Keiko Yamamoto / Rie Nakajima / Billy Steiger / Marie Roux)

Kinetic devices and found objects creating soundscapes inspired by Japanese myth, ritual, tribal and everyday non-spectacular sound worlds. A kind of cinematographic ritual starts with the drums and then vocals and violin and objects. The interrelationships evoked a sense of theatre, creating a universe of soundscapes reminiscent of childhood.



Initially a duo with the late Z’EV who passed away last December, IOIOI used sound material which Z’EV had sent to her and used it in a work of tribute combining guitars, objects, breath and electronics. The impressively depressing finale shocked the audience out of its chairs!




(Venue: Salt)

Voicehandler (Danishta Rivero/Jacob Felix Heule)

Primal sounds juxtaposing drums and voice with contemporary disembodied electronics and hydrophonium. Danishta Rivero was especially inspired by Balkan music but adds shamanic vocal elements from Asia, Africa and Peru.

(Venue: Deichmanske Hovedbibliotek)

Will Guthrie

Multidisciplinary drummer and percussionist from Australia, Will Guthrie’s solo set used drums, percussion, objects, junk, amplification and electronics to create hypnotic grooves and abstract metal sounds that shifted the audience to an exponentially different astral-trancendental level.

Ayumi Tanaka

Lyrical, expressionistic, Feldman-esque silence and space – a set of mystic solo piano improvisations to close the festival.


Facebook links:
allEars Festival
Guro Skumsnes Moe
Christian Meaas Svendsen

(Photographs by Doğan Namar.)