Vertex is a norwegian duo that spontaneously compose electroacoustic music that is both immediate and enticing to listen to. From lowercase drones through beautiful melodic passages to assaulting industrial walls of sound, Vertex creates a plausible yet otherwordly soundscape with it's own set of natural laws. A universe that focuses in on form and interaction. Vertex' debut album, shapes & phases has just been released through the renowned label SOFA. The album is produced by vertex and mixed and mastered by the talented Giuseppe Ielasi.
Petter Vagan (b. 1982) is a hard-working up and coming impromusician who ?s becoming a household name in Norway these days, he’s released several albums and toured all over Norway, Sweden, Russia, USA,Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. He’ s playing on guitars, lapsteels and prepared guitars, and utilises an array of effects in a delicate manner, to mangle and distort reality in his own way. He has a performing masters degree from the world-renowned jazzcourse the the Conservatory of Music in Trondheim. He ?s has played with musicians like Christian Wallumrod, Stale Storlokken, Mathias Eick, Havard Wiik, Hakon Kornstad, Thomas Stronen, Jonas Kullhammar, Mats Eilertsen, Lene Grenager and Kjetil Moster etc
Tor Haugerud (b. 1962) has been an active musician, composer and performanceartist for the last 24 years. He ?s developed a unique playingstyle with his unorthodox drumset and use of electronics and unconventional instruments like fans, drills, singing bowls, bows, stones. Has in recent years operated in the more free musical landscapes, with musicians like Kim Myhr, Christian Wallumrod, Stian Westerhus, Martin Taxt, Jon Balke, Sidsel Endresen, Ingar Zach, Eirik Hegdal, Michael Duch, Kjetil Moster etc, and with the groups Alpaca Ensemble, En En En, Murmur, and TIE (Trondheim Improvisasjons Ensemble).
★mail interview with Vertex (Petter Vagen)
- why band name “vertex”? You guys like playing loud?
Petter Vagen The band name Vertex comes from geometry. It means " the point where to lines meet and make an angle". It´s the point where my guitar meets Tors percussion and sounds, and make an angle. It´s kind of a metaphor for our interplay. We do like to play loud, but more often we like to play at a lower volume, but still intensely. That´s more of a challenge we think.
- In what place do you usually play?
Petter Vagen We usually play in concert venues, clubs, galleries, festivals or schools. We recently played in CNMAT, The Center for New Music and Audio Technology in Berkeley, California for instance, or at Free Resonance, a festival for free improvised music.
- Do you think what kind of music your music is related to? About Norwegian music, I know (of-course) Grieg, ECM-ledends(Jan Garbarek, Arild Andersen, Terje Rypdal), Mayhem and Black Metals, recently Rune Grammofon label. I have the impression that these musics values the sounds more than the structures. Is this a prejudice?
Petter Vagen Norwegian music does value sounds, but also structures. I think the newer norwegian music value long and maybe hidden structures. And that much of the music value small or discrete changes in structure and sound. The music of Vertex is related to many genres, the german reductionism, contemporary music, and modern art music (like Arne Nordheim and John Cage). It is also related to electro acoustic music from all over the world, lowercase drones, american folk-music inspired minimalism. And also to your countrymen Tetuzi Akiyama, Toshimaru Nakamura and Otomo Yoshihide.
- In your “myspace”, you categorize your music style “shoegaze”. What meaning is this?
Petter Vagen Do you have any impressions about relationship between electro-acoustic-improvisation and My bloody Valentine?(My funny bloody valentine issue?)
We categorize it as shoegaze for several reasons, for one, myspace hasn´t got the category "electro acoustic" or "improvised". And we think of the term shoegaze in the true sense of the word. To look at your shoe, or down on the floor to really feel the music we play, and to play better. "Concentrated music" could be another word for it.
- It seems to appear a lot of excellent musicians one after another from Trondheim. Is the environment for music good in Trondheim? Or has institutes, tradition, etc. for music?
Petter Vagen The environment for music is very good in Trondheim. It has the "jazz school" where you can get a bachelor degree and a master degree, many musicians come for that, and stay after they´re finished with school. It was the first of it´s kind in Norway, and it still is one of the best because of it´s focus on improvisation, and playing/learning by ear and not notated music, and also developing your own sound. You can play any genre there, and the teachers help you with what you yourself want to do. Also, Trondheim is a small town with a good environment so you can play with anybody, so a lot of interesting things happen because of that.
- How many times have you ever been to Japan? And where have you played?
Petter Vagen Me and Tor have never been to Japan before, and we are really looking forward to it. As Vertex we have toured in Norway, Europe and USA. this fall we´ll be touring in Russia and Europe. With other bands we have toured pretty much all over the world.
- Do you have any impressions about Japanese music (scene)?
Petter Vagen I think the Japanese music scene seems very interesting, especially the improvised music scene. It´s come a long way compared to other countries. I listen to alot of Japanese music. Like the norwegians, the japanese have musical integrity and have developed their own sound.
- Do have any impression about differences between free improv in jazz context and late electro-acoustioc improv.
Petter Vagen I think the difference happened gradually, but now the freejazz is more technical, while the electro acoustic improvisation is more based on sounds and structure.
- Do you want the audience to enjoy what kind of points of your music?
Petter Vagen I think the audience will enjoy our carefully chosen mix of genres, our developed sense for form and structure, and our calmness and integrity while we play.
- Dutch free improviser Han Bennink says "Free Jazz keep you young". It's a joke, but Do you have any idea about your music "effect"?
Petter Vagen I think everyone that listens to free improvised music stays young, you have to always have an open ear and an open mind, and that´s the the fountain of youth. As long as you always keep open the possibilty for change, you don´t grow old or tired. We have been told after concerts that our music makes people feel calm and secure. And that they loved the way the music made them feel. We hope everyone feels like that. We also think people will be surprised about how we play and how we think when we play.
ノルウェー、トロンハイム（Trondheim)から、2人組みのエレクトロ・アコースティック・ユニットがやってきます。3年前テトラで演奏した秋山徹次率いる“古木選集（Koboku Senju）”のメンバーと交流がある2人で、デビューアルバム“shape & phases”をして、本年のフランスQwartz Electronic Music AwardsのDiscovery部門にノミネートされたそうです。つまり、演奏能力は、間違いなし。ぜひぜひ。