The Emanuel-CD is released
March 24, 2016
The fifth solo-album by Arja Kastinen is a journey into a complex world of room acoustics and resonance. The music was recorded at the Emanuel Vigeland mausoleum in Oslo, Norway, in the summer of 2015. Recording: Taito Hoffrén (www.aania.fi).
Tomba Emanuelle, The Emanuel Vigeland mausoleum is a barrel-vaulted room with no windows, completely covered with the 800 sq.m. fresco Vita. The acoustics of the space is extremely extraordinary, almost otherworldly, with its unbelievable 20 seconds of reverberation. The atmosphere is strengthened by the absence of light; eyes have to be accustomed for a while before one starts to see the details of the dimly lit frescoes.
The recording session was an experimental adventure inside the combination of the unbelievable room acoustics and the resonance of the kantele instruments. Due to the nearby building site it was only possible for us to record during two weeknights and on Saturday. The first evening went mainly by while building up the equipment and making experiments. On the second night we made a public concert (which also was recorded), and thus the Saturday became the main recording day. In spite of the relatively short time period we finally got as much as circa five hours of sound material.
We had brought seven kantele instruments to the mausoleum: three with steel strings (15-, 14- and 10+4-string kanteles), three with brass and bronze strings (12-, 10- and 5-string kanteles), and one 5-string kantele with viscose strings (resembling the sound of horsehair). (More information about the instruments at: The Polymorphic kantele)
The music is based on improvisation and on combining different playing techniques; in addition to the old plucking technique also the bow, slide and the stick are used as well as muted sounds, harmonics and blowing into the sound hole. There were four microphones: one close-mic, one on both sides, and one several meters high recording the space sound. Combining the sound of these four we aimed to transfer the atmosphere of the original room acoustics on the CD-recording. The most of the music was recorded in the middle of the room, and some also at the other end of the room (tracks 6 and 7). No artificial reverberation has been added on the recording.
The CD has 11 tracks (total length ca 52 min.) which build up a story: The doorway to the unknown is always full of ghosts, Emanuel. The use of the concert recording ended up to be quite challenging in the end: the special room acoustics also enhanced the sounds of the audience, like the movements of the feet on the stone floor, the opening of a zipper (:)) or the coughs. Thus only one, the title track Emanuel (# 11), was taken on the CD.
The magnificent graphic design of the covers was made by Tero Vesterinen. The photos (by Elis Ribeirete) are not shot at the mausoleum. All music is made by Arja; on the last track there is also one old runosong theme at the beginning and at the end of the song. Mixing and producing: Arja Kastinen. recording and mastering: Taito Hoffrén.
As making our part of diminishing the use of unnecessary plastic the TEMPSCDs have no plastic packaging.
The Emanuel-CD was supported by The Alfred Kordelin Foundation and The Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Foundation. FINNO gave invaluable assistance in organizing the concert. My deepest gratitude to all!
The CD is also available online at: Holvi.