2020 in a nutshell

Okay, so 2019 was a blast: a lot of events, with many plans developing on many fronts. One of the biggest plans was to develop sound art and electronic music workshops. I got a grant for those from the city of Oulu, (so really: there were plans for it – thank you Oulu once again!) and secured a few agreements for pilot workshops. Everything looked really good.
Yet a talk continued growing about a virus that was spreading from Asia…

And so it went, all those plans got cancelled.

Although the pandemic’s big shadow spread everywhere, affecting everything and everyone, quite a lot happened last year, with even a light at the end of the tunnel despite it. So what happened? Here is a kind of a chronicle of 2020:

Youth center electronic music sessions @Tuira / Oulu

I got a chance to teach youngsters about music making. Really a good time we had, the kids are fast learners and enthusiastic especially with touchscreen devices that produce sound and music. Happy to do more gigs like that! Big thanks goes out to Kulttuurivoimala – Culture Power Station ry for making that possible.


Gigs @Levi

Just before our Covid lockdown, I got booked to a gig up north. It was a great trip, where I played a solo set and an improvisational jam with Didgeridoo Looper Guru Tapani Lakkala. Also, we got to push snow off from the roof.
Afterward, we were both ill… I had mild fever on and off for many weeks in feb-march, sore lungs, etc. Familiar symptoms, but back then, no tests were available.
By then, I had acquired a bunch of sound art instruments, a proper (field) recording device etc., for future workshops.
After my “sick season” I sat in my studio, thinking what to do next. There wasn’t much human contact in those months; everybody was online.


Streaming and ”Isolation Sound Diary”

I began exploring streaming possibilities and was soon jamming “with the boys” over the internet. In tandem with my music, experiments with visuals streamed performed by Mike Watson.
I decided to set up a sound diary: field recordings from our empty city, the sounds of isolation. While that didn’t last long, it provided some good connections from abroad, with a few collaborations as well.


Stream gig @Hyperboreal

Oulu event producer Juhani Oivo set up a streaming festival Hyperboreal, and I joined him + Swedish and Norwegian artists broadcasting a set from my studio into the internet void. Although we had planned for Mike W. to embed visuals from his studio, he was forced to cancel at the last moment. Luckily, Sami from Rovaniemi (? -crazy times… I can’t recall where he was during the gig! 😀 ) replaced him and the show went on. It was my first time doing a festival gig without a physical audience present. Strange – but very rewarding!


“Porous Life” – collaboration piece for 13TH TBILISI ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION

Porous Life was a Covid 19 / isolation-themed, (very quickly-produced) audiovisual submission accompanied by Mike Watson’s visuals. In short, we cooked sausages in the forest, while I recorded a little jam on my battery-powered gear by the campfire. I’m still not sure what/who was the curator, perhaps a South Korean arts community?


Podcast-workshop – 5 days @Veeran Verstas

Our “podcast studio 1”

By summer, with the situation nearly normalized for a brief period, I managed to offer my first workshop – on making Podcasts. It was a week-long course with everybody participating quite happy with the results. This workshop was another collaboration with Kulttuurivoimala – Culture Power Station and of course Veeran Verstas.


Grant from Taike

After the workshop I got happy news from Taike. I applied a grant for the lost income because the coronavirus and got it! 🙂 Grateful feelings!


Special live ambient set @Oulun Puistopiknik

Different stream on this gig…

July brought a truly special gig with the city of Oulu: Playing an ambient – hardware set live from a rowing boat. That was a fun and special experience as well! With help from Emilia Pöyry (her boat – so naturally she was the captain) we performed a set in the Kauppatori area. Fine weather with quite many people outdoors in the area, many smiling, listening and interested!


Kaikki Äitini – multimedia movie sound production @Oulun Juhlaviikot

This was the major artistic endeavor of 2020. Initially it had been planned as a structured live improvisation with Anthony J Rice-Perttunen, accompanying visuals and live poetry by Milja Laine – narrated by Eeva Maria al-Khazaali. But, no sir… ended up deciding to make it into a movie, for streaming by Pohjoinen Kulttuurivirta.
After an introduction to the piece’s performance, we arranged a panel discussion about Art and well-being. You can find it here.
This was my first orchestration of another artist’s progressions, combined with my sound design – and an altogether successful outcome it achieved. Milja’s powerful images and text were touching, demanding and deeply rewarding! Hope we can do a live version someday!


Moved a house and a studio: from the woods to the city centre. My new place forces me to think again about the ways I produce. So far, it seems this is a good direction.


Electroacoustic techno session livestream @siilokanava

Another streamed gig, this time via Siilokanava with 3 cameras. Groovy techno combined with electro acoustic elements: motors, electromagnetic pick up etc. in addition to improv with traditional synths, samplers, etc. Everything worked smoothly thanks to an excellent crew. Once again: Big thanks to all involved!


Stream sound technician @Oulu Music Video Festival

Oulu music video festival is a legendary event, yet last year’s “big surprise” was it was streamed.. I picked up a small job as an engineer for the Silakka Lounge. Produced once again by seasoned impresario Juhani Oivo, it was a relaxed yet 100% professional festival: great experience!


Sound art workshop – 5 days @Veeran Verstas

A bit messy desk.. how many instruments you can see? 😛

The second workshop of 2020 occurred again in Veeran Verstas, in the autumn, the first of the originally planned ones. We produced a soundscape to the installation that participants had created in their previous workshop. Everything went well, and we reached our goals easily.
Second sound art workshop already agreed for the winter 2021!


Virtual sound art workshop – 2 days

Virtual workshops do not require so much desk space..

During the year I’d developed an idea of producing sound-creation workshops online. The first one was done with Kulttuurivoimala – Culture Power Station ry. Hosting a streamed workshop is something that needs particular technology to work, in addition to developing the content you will offer, then organizing it properly so both beginners and seasoned tech-heads can navigate it well. So, we hosted a small test group possessing a wide range of skill, with pretty good results!
While some technology and synchronicity issues arose, in general we achieved our goals as planned. We examined sound art created on the internet, for streaming over the internet, with many productive one-on-one and small group discussions. Generally, all aspects of this worked well.


Gigs @Levi pt 2.

My last gig of the year was the same venue as my first. Back to Bar Alakerta in Levi… This time, a nice group comprised of 6 live performances/bands, offered mostly electronic genre. It was quite a trip, and also a bit daring to be expose to Covid in these times, but what can you do. And, as of this moment, no one knows when the next chance to play live will occur..


Virtual electronic music workshop – 3 days

The last highlight of the year was my second virtual workshop, this time in the field of electronic music. Again, a small group of people with a wide range of production skills attended. This time experienced more timing issues than in the virtual sound art workshop, yet nothing too serious. Once again, participants were happy, acquiring new perspectives and insights about electronic music. This was made possible through a collaboration with Oulu Urban Culture Ry.


In a nutshell, it was quite a good year and certainly not lacking change, as we all have had. Looking forward to what this next year will bring!

If you are interested in cooperating or participating in future workshops, virtual or “traditional”, or anything related to sound, music, technology and art….. Contact Me!

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