Story: 18/29

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Duo Kapow!


Dacapo Records, 2014

Emotional release

I’m always challenged when the CD release contains not just one work, or even one composer, but is a collection of many works by many different composers. There are so many different ideas, you have to find what it is that connects them in order to give the collection a uniting visual expression.

These particular pieces, apart from the fact that they are played by the unusual combination of saxophone and percussion, are connected by being concerned with strong emotions, such as desperation, fear and melancholy. The themes on the CD include Jexper Holmen’s sensitive look back at early youth, Niels Rønsholdt’s desperate struggle to break through in personal relationships and Kasper Jarnum’s Pied Piper of Hamelin story where the hero becomes the child murderer.

The title of the release, Burst (taken from Niels Marthinsen’s piece) is very active and evocative so I knew I would have to look for images that would not just illustrate the word, but add to it in some way. In order to find something original though, you have to go through so many clichés and get them out of your system first. This can be a very time-consuming, excruciating process.

I started out exploring all the usual bursting things – balloons, bubbles, explosions – before, in another unrelated search, I came across a painting from 1891 by Leonard Portal Mark, of a boy suffering with the medical condition purpura haemorrhagica in the Wellcome Library archives. The innocent, soft watercolour depicting a disturbingly bloody eye surprised me with its graphic violence. I imagined the pent-up emotion inside this boy bringing him to a silent breaking point and the image seemed to gently echo the many different artistic ideas in this collection.

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