The Electroacoustic Music Store

Artists Åke Parmerud

Åke Parmerud has successfully pursued a professional career in contemporary music and multimedia art since the late 70s. Although he originally trained as a photographer (1972-74) he went on to study music at the University and later at the Conservatory of Music in Göteborg (Sweden). In addition to his electroacoustic and instrumental music, his work includes a broad cross-section of modern experimental music in the fields of dance, film, interactive art, multimedia, theatre, and video.

Åke Parmerud’s music has been acclaimed since his piece Proximities received a First Prize at the 5th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1978). Since then he has received 17 international prizes and 3 major Swedish prizes. He has represented the Swedish Radio for the Prix Italia on two occasions.

His multimedia works The Fire Inside, The Living Room, and Lost Angel have been presented in Berlin (Germany), Göteborg (Sweden), León (Spain), Mexico City (Mexico), Paris (France), and Reykjavík (Iceland).

He is regularly commissioned to compose works by important international institutions and his work has been presented worldwide. His piece Grains of Voices was premiered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City (NY, USA) in 1997 on United Nations Day. His music has been released on several albums and compilations, and twice he has received the Swedish “Grammy” awards for best classical album of the year.

In the late 1980s he teamed up with composer Anders Blomqvist; their live performances — which included fireworks — were successful all round Europe well into the 90s. Åke Parmerud is also a performer playing electroacoustic concerts using many different types of interactive instruments — often solo — in Europe, North America, and South America.

The last ten years have seen Åke Parmerud working as an innovative sound and software designer for interactive audiovisual installations at home and through several creative international collaborations. From 1999 to 2006 he worked closely with Boxiganga (Denmark) developing interactive video installations, exploring telematic concepts and interactive solutions for live performance. In 2000, ’01, and ’02 he worked as composer, sound designer, and software designer with choreographer Pierre-Paul Savoie (Québec). Finally, with Olle Niklasson, he formed AudioTechture, a project specialized in acoustic interior design for diverse environments, from private houses to public spaces.

He is a member of Kungliga Musikaliska Akademien (Royal Swedish Academy of Music) since 1998.

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Åke Parmerud

Lidköping (Sweden), 1953

Residence: Gothenburg (Sweden)

  • Composer

On the Web

Åke Parmerud, photo: Kari Janzén, Gothenburg (Sweden), 2011
  • On February 11, 2015 Musiques & Recherches present the concert Créations M&R + Carte blanche à Åke Parmerud at Espace Senghor in Brussels (Belgium). On the programme are premieres by Elizabeth Anderson, Katharina Klement, Annette Vande Gorn…

    Friday, February 6, 2015 / In Concert

Selected Works

Main Releases

empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 16137 / 2016
empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 15132 / 2015
empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 0367 / 2003
Phono Suecia / PSCD 72 / 1994

Appearances

empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 0898 / 2008
Various artists
Various artists
Various artists
Musiques & Recherches / MR 2000 / 2000
Various artists
empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 9837 / 1998

Complements

Various artists
Taukay / TAUKAY 136 / 2010
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
independent releases / EMH 2009 / 2009
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Fylkingen / FYCD 1014 / 2005
  • Not in catalogue
dB Productions / DB 87 / 2004
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Mnémosyne musique média / LDC 2781115-17 / 2003
  • Not in catalogue
BIS / BISNL 5019 / 2002
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Teatro Massimo / FTM 002 / 2001
  • Not in catalogue
Albedo / ALBCD 008 / 1997
  • Not in catalogue
Caprice Records / CAP 21517 / 1997
  • Not in catalogue
Caprice Records / CAP 21579 / 1996
  • Not in catalogue
Centaur Records / CRC 2284 / 1996
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Phono Suecia / PSCD 91 / 1996
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
ICMC / ICMC 94 / 1994
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Mnémosyne musique média / LDC 278058-59 / 1994
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
  • Out of print
Caprice Records / CAP 1320 / 1987
  • Out of print
Ton Art / TONART 17 / 1984
  • Out of print
Various artists
Fylkingen / FYLP 1026 / 1982
  • Out of print
Various artists
Mnémosyne musique média / LDC 278046-47 /
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Mnémosyne musique média / LDC 278053-54 /
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Mnémosyne musique média / LDC 278076-77 /
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Mnémosyne musique média / LDC 278079-1 /
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Mnémosyne musique média / LDC 2781133-34 /
  • Not in catalogue

In the Press

Åke Parmerud: L’électroacoustique en interaction

Laurent Diouf, MCD — Musiques & cultures digitales, no. HS02, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lauréat de nombreux prix, Åke Parmerud mène depuis 1978 une carrière internationale de compositeur. Après une formation en photographie, il a étudié la musique à l’université et au conservatoire de Göteborg, en Suède, où il enseigne aujourd’hui. Son œuvre prolifique, plus de cinquante opus, inclut électroacoustique sur support, poésie sonore, musiques instrumentale, mixte, interactive, multimédia, installation, musiques de scène et pour la danse. Un champ d’action qui fait de lui l’autre lauréat du Qwartz Pierre Schaeffer…

Annette Vande Gorne écrit:

Åke Parmerud réussit une rare synthèse entre la pensée énergétique et morphologique de tradition schaefférienne (Les objets obscurs, 1991, studio du GRM), et la relation au passé stylistique de la musique européenne (Gesualdo da Venosa, Dowland, Alias, 1990), et du jazz (Charlie Parker, Retur, pour quatuor de saxophones et bande, 1992-93), ou à ses instruments (le quatuor à cordes Stringquartett, 1988, la harpe Strings & Shadows, 1993, le synthé analogique et les instruments du XVIème siècle Renaissance, 1994, la flûte avec Les flûtes en feu, 1999, l’orchestre de chambre Rituals, 2006), et encore le clavecin, la guitare, les percussions, l’orchestre symphonique…

Mais, les œuvres de Åke Parmerud sont sous-tendues par un projet expressif plus large. Grains of Voices (1994-95), est à la fois un travail de traitement radical de la voix, par étirement et granulation, ou non, et une œuvre symbolique, créée dans l’auditorium de l’ONU, qui reflète à travers toutes les catégories d’âges, de cultures et d’émissions vocales l’unité d’un monde complexe où ethnies, cultures et idiomes se fondent dans une nouvelle forme, dans une grande pièce sauvage et libre de graffiti vocaux. Autre exemple, le jeu d’échec et ses stratégies devient un modèle de comportement pour Parmerud, dont les pièces sont objets sonores, phrases et structures (Jeux imaginaires, 1993), ou encore le compositeur en studio comme alchimiste des sons (Les flûtes en feu).

Le monde invisible, celui de la musique, et visible, celui de l’image l’interpellent. Depuis la fin des années 90, il multiplie les œuvres multimédia (The Heart of Silence, 1997-988 pour chœur, bande, photo et danse, Bows, Arcs and The Arrow of Time, 2004 pour orchestre à cordes, ordinateur et vidéo), les installations (L’espace qui vous regarde, 2001), les musiques pour chorégraphie (Strata: mémoires d’un amoureux, 2001), les systèmes interactifs ou de traitement en direct (Tide In, 2001, Zeit aus Zeit (The Stockhausen Variations), 2001-02. Rituals, 2006)…

Åke Parmerud:

«Mon intérêt pour la danse contemporaine provient de Fylkingen (une sorte d’atelier underground dédié à la musique électronique, la danse et le multimédia), à Stockholm, où j’allais voir des performances. J’ai réalisé mon premier vrai travail de scène en 1980, avec 3 danseurs, un fakir, 15 écrans de projections et une installation quadriphonie. Cela s’appelait [Floden av Glas, 1978-81], on l’a joué seulement 10 fois en tout.

Ce n’est qu’avec le développement des possibilités de vidéo interactive en temps réel, à la fin des années 90, qu’il est vraiment devenu intéressant de faire des installations de ce genre.

J’ai travaillé pendant quelques années avec deux artistes/performeurs danois. Cette collaboration m’a beaucoup appris sur la manière de penser, de concevoir une interactivité qui fasse sens à la fois en termes artistique et psychologique… Pour ma première installation audio/vidéo interactive, The Fire Inside en 2000, j’ai reçu un prix de l’ICMC [International Computer Music Conference]. Le public pouvait se déplacer autour d’un feu, un peu à la manière d’un jeu vidéo. Une autre installation, Lost Angel (2004), a rencontré un certain succès international. Là, le public était invité à danser avec sa propre image-miroir qui se transformait en ange au fur et à mesure des mouvements.»

Un champ d’action qui fait de lui [un] lauréat du Qwartz Pierre Schaeffer…

Interview

Fredrik Emmerfors, Nutida Musik, no. 2008:3, Monday, December 1, 2008

An Itinerary Through Northern Europe

François Couture, electrocd.com, Monday, February 9, 2004

This is a casual listening path, an invitation to travel — not a guided tour per se, more of an itinerary, akin to Romantic-era travel literature. So this will be a listening itinerary, an invitation to discover a highly subjective selection of electroacoustic composers from a specific corner of the world. Our destination: Northern Europe.

France reigns over European electroacoustic music like a despotic queen. The persisting influence of Pierre Schaeffer’s work — even more than 50 years after the invention of what he has called “musique concrète” — and the gravitational pull of the Ina-GRM tend to hide from the rest of the world the work being accomplished elsewhere in Europe.

So let’s start our journey in one of France’s neighbors, Belgium. The country owes much of its electroacoustic activity to Annette Vande Gorne, the indefatigable animator of the Musiques & Recherches center. Her music displays a strong sense of serenity, something rare in the field of tape music. Tao, a cycle about the five base elements (air, earth, metal, fire and water), remains a classic. In it she explores every possible transformation of the sounds associated to these elements with an uncommon level of artistry and poetry. A student of Vande Gorne, Stephan Dunkelman has picked up on her grace, a grace he transmutes into movement. Often the result of a collaboration with choreographers, his works are driven by an inner force that substitutes the sensuality of movement to Vande Gorne’s philosophical — almost mystical — depth. His pieces Rituellipses and Thru, Above and Between, released on the album Rhizomes, deserve your attention.

A jump across the Northern Sea and we set foot on English ground. Birmingham has become an important creative node in electroacoustic music, thanks to the work of composer Jonty Harrsison and his Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre (better known as BEAST), a laboratory for experimentation and sound diffusion that has helped many talented composers in developing their art. Harrison’s music is an essential listen. His piece Klang (released on Évidence matérielle) ranks among the best-known electroacoustic works of the last 25 years. His precise sound constructions and his distinctive way of compressing sound matter into streams of energy put him up there with Pierre Henry, Francis Dhomont and Bernard Bernard Parmegiani. One can follow the traces of his techniques into the works of Adrian Moore, one of his students, especially in the latter’s fondness for putting simple sound sources (marker on a white board, tin foil) through complex transformations. Sieve, from the album Traces, uses a catchy playfulness to make this transformative process transparent.

Denis Smalley was born and raised in New Zealand, but he has been living in the UK since the mid-‘70s. His contributions to the acousmatic corpus and to the development of sound diffusion make him not only the contemporary but in a sense the acolyte of Harrison. Furthermore, the two composers share a similar interest in form and in the choreographed displacement of abstract sound objects through space and time. Wind Chimes (on Impacts intérieurs) and Base Metals (on Sources/Scènes) are good illustrations of the slightly cold yet fascinating beauty of his music. John Young, one of his students — and another New-Zealander who studied and now teaches in England), follows a similar approach, although he replaces Smalley’s elemental sound sources with more emotionally charged images. The works featured on his CD La limite du bruit offer to the listener several occasions to dive into his or her own memories, the sound of a squeaky swing or a creaky door turning into avatars of Proust’s madeleine. Time, Motion and Memory is a choice cut.

Scandinavian electroacoustic music is still too largely ignored on our side of the Atlantic, but empreintes DIGITALes’ catalog allows us to make a short stop to round up our peregrinations. Natasha Barrett has studied with Harrison and Smalley and has been involved in BEAST, but since 1998 she has elected Norway as her base camp. There, she has stepped away from the style of her teachers and has sought inspiration in the Nordic cold. Her Three Fictions, released on Isostasie, deserve many listens. And let me bring this listening path to an end with one of the key composers in electroacoustic music today, the Swedish Åke Parmerud, whose Renaissance (on Jeu d’ombres) pays tribute to the analog synthesizer without resorting to nostalgic tricks.