Composer and artist Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard considers his work to be a basic research in realities and he is interested in how bubble-like systems unfold themselves as human conditions. The meetings between the individual body and these different bubble-like systems are a key driver in Løkkegaard’s praxis and he is interested in how to escape these bubbles, and if not escape them, then how they can be warped, wrestled and renegotiated.
Løkkegaard often works with music instruments not only as sources of sound but also as cultural markers embedded within different systems and hierarchies. This driving force in Løkkegaard’s work has led to compositions that can be performed by musicians and non-musicians alike – all revolving around the focus on how to create a safe environment for performing music, and dissolve any shame or trauma connected with a particular music instrument and the act of performing music in general.
Since 2012 Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard has experimented with creating music that lets the instruments transcend their inherent sonic norms and reappear in another form. In the work series SOUND × SOUND (2013–2017) he explores this by way of multiplication with 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.
In recent years Løkkegaard explores the multiplication of sound even further in pieces such as Triangular Mass – for multiple triangles (2016), Birdsongs – for multiple parabolic microphones (2019), SONAR – for multiple vibraslaps (2018), Harmonia – for multiple harmonicas (2018) and Quartet pour Sigurd Raschér – for 4 alto saxophones (2019).
The process of multiplication brings out new timbral phenomena through the interference of sound waves and vibrations, and highlights 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 recognizable instruments, but instead the overall sound – when the individual musician is dissolved into the collective sound.
A sonic as well as human synthesis.
He explains the concept of this sound as follows:
The work of NLL has been presented at a variety of different venues and museums such as MoMA (NY – as a part of the René Magritte exhibition The Mystery of the Ordinary), York Art Gallery, Imaginary West Indies (Overgaden Copenhagen), ISCM (Vancouver), Radiophrenia (Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts), CPH:DOX (Copenhagen), Roskilde Festival (DK), Harpa (Reykjavik), G((o))ng Tomorrow Festival (Copenhagen), Nordic Music Days (Norway), Akusmata (SF, 2020) and his works has been released on labels such as Topos (DK), Archive Officielle (CA) and Important Records (US). NLL is associate professor at RMC in Copenhagen, and has given lectures at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Simon Fraser University (Vancouver), The Royal Danish Academy of Music, Artistic Research Forum (N), Goldsmiths University of London a.o.p. NLL has been awarded several prizes, a.o. from the Danish Art Foundation, the Sonning Foundation and Prix Ars Electronica.
Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard was educated at the RMC in Copenhagen and the School of Architecture at The Royal Danish Academy of Art.