Jexper Holmen (b. 1971)
It may be unfair to label Jexper Holmen's music with his own term 'Chamber Punk' because, as all labels, it only accentuate certain aspects of certain works and not the variety of it all. It does, however, make sense to begin with this term, as it seems capable of describing some essential impulses in Holmen's aesthetics. His approach to composing for classical instruments seems to be infused with the energy of punk and postpunk rock music – an energy based on brutal, ecstatic, noisy and abrasive impulses.
Often, Holmen is recklessly pursuing one extreme idea, pushing the sound and the musicians over the edge, hammering brutal tone clusters from the orchestra at the highest possible volume. This has given him the image of an enfant terrible, which he himself denounces. He explores extremes in order to extract ambiguous beauties and energetic ecstasies from them, not to play rebel in a world of self-content subtleties.
To explain this strategy, he has used the dialectic image of slicing a tomato. If you use a blunt knife and press gently, the tomato will be crushed, while if you take a sharp knife and make a full-forced chop, the tomato will be divided in two perfect halves, retaining its structure. The brutal cut becomes the gentler. A common denominator in Holmen's works is a gesture in which everything seems to slither askew. It sounds like microtonal glissandi within a cluster harmonic, even though the effect is often achieved without actual, notated glissandi, but by side effects of pushing the instruments to their limits, impeding tonal precision. Much of the intensity of Holmen's music lies in these slithering frictions.
From chamber punk to nursery chamber, Jexper Holmen's music is a thrilling experience, be it brutal or gentle, expressive or ambient, the intensity is remarkable.
Excerpts from article by Torben Sangild, 2011