Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard (b. 1979)

Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard considers his compositional work to be a basic research in sound. He is interested in exploring the sensuousness of sound, and he wants his music to stimulate new ways of approaching sound.

”I try to reinvent the instrument from a constructive zero. Create new music and create new ways of listening.  - he says, and continues: ”I work with multiplication of sound, as a way to make the wellknown sound dissolve and reappear as a new sound”.

Over the recent years Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard has experimented with creating music that lets the instruments transcend their inherent sonic norms and reappear as new, untouched sound. In the work series SOUND X SOUND he explores this by way of multiplication. He has written and recorded the seven pieces of SOUND X SOUND from 2013 to 2016 – a series of works multiplying one instrument a number of times: One piece is written for 9 pianos, another for 18 clarinets, 10 hi-hats and so on.

The multiplication brings out new timbral phenomena, interference of sound waves and vibrations, and brings out what Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard calls the sound’s potential of transformation. He describes this as the quality in a musical piece, when you no longer hear recognisable instruments, but instead the individual sound, as well as the individual musician, is dissolved into the collective sound. This is comparable to a room filled with people talking. From a distance you cannot identify the language or understand the words, but the sound remains  - pure, free and open to all ears.

Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard points out that usually when we listen to music, we automatically search for a melody, a chord or a rhythm, but music can be much more than that, and approaching his music one should instead listen in the same way as you listen to the waves breaking at the seashore, or even, as in some of his latest work, imagine the sound ourselves, by listening and  creating music using our inner ear.

The SOUND X SOUND pieces do not have clear narratives but rather they possess sculptural and repetitive qualities. Lyhne Løkkegaard mentions the great avant-garde-, minimalist- and conceptual composers of the 20th century as sources of inspiration.   

György Ligeti and his 1962 “Poème Symphonique” written for 100 metronomes is an obvious source of inspiration for exploring multiplication of instruments. Also the minimalist and conceptual music by composers such as American James Tenney and German artist Hanne Darboven and sound poetry by French Henri Chopin can be found on Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard’s list of inspiration.

Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard graduated from the RMC in Copenhagen and the School of Architecture at The Royal Danish Academy of Art. His early work is influenced by jazz and improvisation, and he has released a number of prizewinning albums featuring himself on saxophone and clarinet.

Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard has received a number of awards throughout his career. He received the Leonie Sonning Scholarship in 2006 and was awarded by the Danish Arts Foundation in 2007. In 2014 he received the Creative Circle “Silver Award” for the soundscape to the René Magritte exhibition ”The Mystery of the Ordinary” at MoMA. He furthermore teaches at the RMC in Copenhagen and is the founder of Curatorium -a curatorial non-event.

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