It all began on Thursday night when I received text messages from the band to say that despite having been on the same flight, they were coming from Oslo airport on different trains, and that one of them had been kicked out of first class. When they arrived in the city and reconvened, they promptly stole a shopping trolley.
This weekend I was responsible for bringing the Irish band Rollers/Sparkers to Oslo, for two shows: one at Mir with Salvatore and the other at Sound of Mu with the Center of the Universe. I like the idea of independent music scenes from different countries cross-pollinating. Because of my former far-too-many-years on the Dublin music scene, I was able to select/pluck an act from Dublin to come to Oslo and play with local heroes.
Two of the band were sceptical about using a shopping trolley to transport gear from the station, preferring perhaps to take a taxi, or the tram. The third insisted on the trolley, saying “Wizhiwig. Wizhi wizhi wizhi wizhi,” (as it sounded to my ears). “I like your argument,” he was told. Thus they stuck with the trolley. It’s worth mentioning that the utterance in question was not Irish gaelic, but indisputable gibberish.
At some point during the promotion of these events, the Sparkers became described as “hypno-impro” and that may be an apt description of what they do. They sing through effects units (see my espionage picture: buy the exact equipment in that setup and you too could be a Sparker), establishing looped rhythms made from improvised voice-sounds, and the drummer adds a layer of rhythm on top of that, and then further voice effects add another layer in turn. For substantially less information about their music but more about their world, see the Rollers/Sparkers website.
The Norwegian bands were no less special. Instrumental rockers (?) Salvatore played a really exciting set at Mir. I’ve written about Salvatore in an earlier entry of this blog but the definitive description of the band has been written by Barrett Neumann, in the liner notes for the forthcoming album. When the album comes out, buy it for these excellently written liner notes!
The Center of the Universe, whose “situation” is explained at this website, involves one man and one woman with folk instruments and electronic gadgets. Thus the centre has two points. And in the spirit of welcoming the Irish, they performed a bizarre Enya cover.
It was hard work this weekend but much fun was had. We attended two parties after the show on Friday, and another (epic) one after the show on Saturday. I will be keeping this Irish-Norwegian connection going and I hope to be providing Oslo more entertainment later this year. Right now, I’ve got to go and fall asleep.