Grand Line //

Album label: 
Release date: 
Recording location: 
Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Recording date: 
Friday, April 22, 2016
Artwork design: 
Mikkel Cappelen Smith
Artwork design: 
Christian Meaas Svendsen
Executive producer: 
Christian Meaas Svendsen
Mastering engineer: 
Christian Obermayer
Mixing engineer: 
Christian Obermayer
Christian Obermayer
Recording engineer: 
Jan Erik Kongshaug
  • 1. Doremingo + Taiko__Grand Line (28:34)
  • 2. The Sun__Uzumaki (05:49)
  • 3. Nanika__Decks (08:16)
  • 4. Tsunagari__Split&Curve (06:40)
  • 5. Kusama__Events (05:21)
  • 6. Suffering + Daily Choices Fail Compilation (02:41)
  • 7. Daily Choices__Metro (14:15)

Nakama’s first album «Before the Storm» consisted of four pieces investigating silence as content in relation to other musical parameters. Silence is a highly active and potent agent in interplay with other musical content, and in the long run the band is aiming towards having a range of different types of silences as a tool in our improvised music making. «Grand Line» differs in this aspect as it is not exploring the relation of content so much as it is dealing with how to shape content.

Form, at least in an improvised context, is usually either fixed, or it is totally free. When playing over a tune, there’s usually a set amount of bars which you repeat over and over again before you move on, or in the latter case the musicians make the form up as they go. On «Grand Line» the music is created from a form which behaves like something between these two stereotypes — as something flexible, like a pile of clay which the performers can shape the way they see fit.

The tracks on the album are built from two separate components: musical compositions and form compositions. The musical compositions dictate the content: themes, harmonies, rhythms, tonal material, instructions, dynamics, tempos and many other parameters (lest we forget the newly «discovered» silence). They are divided into sections by a grid ranging from A1 to G7, and this is where the form compositions come into play: The form compositions each have their own identity, and are set up as a framework with multiple choices, each of which refers to an area within the musical composition, as well as some other options. Sometimes it is possible to leap back or ahead in the form, other times you can repeat a section indefinitely, and in some of them there are multiple endings. So it is a mix of linear, cyclic and exponential choices. The choices the players make will affect the choices that can be made at a later point, and most of the time the players navigate through the form independently of each other.

Even though the form is malleable, it always reflects the content of the musical composition. The two combined offers a playground for improvisers who are not only concerned about finding new sounds, but also finding new ways. Founded on a fixed music material it is an approach which mixes arbitrariness with intention, and at the same time relying heavily on the creativity of the players involved. The sounding result might seem entropic, and at times leave both listeners and performers puzzled and perplexed. But the goal with this record has not been to restate what has already been defined or accepted, rather we wanted to challenge recognizable patterns and contribute to the expansion and evolution of our musical consciousness and the multitude of possibilities in which musical events can order themselves.

Working with «Grand Line» has been a very rewarding experience. Nothing exists in vacuum and I am forever grateful for the people who have been in involved in this release, especially Andreas, Adrian and Ayumi. They all inhabit the quality to put their egos on pause and thoroughly integrate my ideas into their own concept of music structuring. I am so much looking forward to explore this material with them further.

I hope this recording will question our conception about how music manifests itself in the course of time, and in the future give us a tool for opening up the traditional conventions of form in improvised music. «Grand Line» presents open questions with loose ends, and we have tried our best to give answers, at least temporary ones. It is an invitation: fresh and confusing, honest and inquiring. So is the music of this recording.

Christian Meaas Svendsen