CRYSTAL SOUND PROJECT
Feat ÅSA ÖHRN

During an art residency at BKN/Björkö Konstnod, in the northern archipelago of Stockholm Sweden, Crystal Sound Project from Paris started to work with Swedish artist and vocalist Åsa Öhrn. CSP's sound palette  draws on sounds extracted from porcelain sculptures, infused with various metal oxides. The sculptures, created by bilyana furnadzhieva, play a key role in the project. During the residency, logistically being unable to bring all of them, they used recorded audio samples. In addition the temporary trio worked with instruments found in the former school and others in the local church at Björkö. CSP feat Åsa Öhrn is working towards a full album with a number of videos included to the material.  As per September 2021  they have accomplished four recordings during their stay at the art residency. Additional recordings will take place in Paris during the spring of 2022, where CSP have access to a full recording studio and more of their, self designed, original instruments. They are now looking for venues and collaborating institutions for release in Paris, Sofia and Stockholm/ Anna Viola Hallberg, Curator BKN

 

LIVE AND/OR VIDEO

Crystal Sound Project feat Åsa Öhrn can perform live with video as backdrop for others the focus is on the orignial instruments and the musician playing them. Åsa Öhrn is the Vocalist and Viktor Benev on piano/syntheziser percussions and together with bilyana furnadzhieva a number of originally designed instruments some are percussive others with string each with its own name: Stringbone, Buirocordes, Tchanncelaines, Chênecelaine and singing drum (se gallery below).

Abborrevalsen and The Screen exists (sept 2021)as experimental art music videos and can be screened as stand alone pieces. More videos to come in 2022.

 

Instruments (original design)

TOWARDS FULL ALBUM

Songs per September 2021  (Recoded at Björkö)
The Screen, 4:44 (with video), Language: English, Bulgarian  (link to be below)
Abborredansen, 5:06 (with video), Language: Swedish (link to be below)
Nocturnal Mood, 3:20 (video in progress), Language: English
Nära, 4:07 (video in progress), Language: Swedish

The album is produced by enovae, an independent label founded in France 2019, not being confined to a particular musical genre, enovae publishes sounds of a large variety. All projects rely on strong artistic visions. Open-mindedness and collaborative thinking are at the center of the label's activities.


About the process and the works
Prior to our arrival, we had the desire of working on videos. Once the music was ready, we worked on two scenarios, respectively inspired by the Danish "painter of light" Vilhelm Hammershøi and the American film director Terrence Malick, both of them being for us a reference to the fragility of human existence and "capturing the present".


For the first residency BKN in April-May 2021 we started a collaboration with the artist and singer Åsa Öhrn. The workflow came easily as we found out we have many common musical and visual references. Having the needed time and space to experiment, to improvise, we managed to capture elements from Nature and topics related to our personal experience of being in Sweden and that specific area of the archipelago. The sessions in the Björkö Kyrka were particularly prolific, as they helped us compose and record two songs –
Abborredansen and The Screen. 

In Abborredansen and The Screen, Viktor played and recorded the piano in the church. Prior to the recording sessions there, Viktor had time to experiment using an old detuned Eisenberg piano located in one of the rooms at the school. The mechanical and intonation "flaws" make this instrument unique. As a historical heritage of the school, we didn't want to tune it. Instead, we wanted to keep its sound as authentic as possible as a reference to the elapsed time during which it was used as a teaching tool. As a result, we decided to explore its potential during our next residency. In our daily explorations in the surroundings we got inspired by the radiant spring light and fragments of rural everyday life. The two musical compositions had captured different vibes of the place.

Abborredansen  is based on original lyrics in Swedish written by Åsa Öhrn during our first days of collaboration. The main subject of the song is the will of life and the rebirth of the spirit and Nature during Spring. The images that were shot have an impressionistic approach, which aim to convey serenity.

The Screen was created as a dialogue in two languages between two characters located in different spaces. Åsa Öhrn wrote English lyrics based on the topics of isolation, solitude and imprisonment. As a response, bilyana wrote a poem in Bulgarian, the subject of which is the loneliness and longing for comfort and presence in an outdoor wild, hostile environment. The shots in the video play with the antonyms : inside – outside, presence – absence. The alternation of black frames, views through windows and outdoor shots place the spectator inside the narrative.


CPS's second residency at BKN took place in September 2021 continuing working Åsa Öhrn we recorded three new compositions including one instrumental the other to Nocturnal Mood and Nära.

We had three days of recording in church at Björkö, during which we aimed at recording most of the vocal parts and some instrumental ones to make use of the magestic acoustics of the space. Having more time to work in BKN allowed us to feature the old Eisenberg piano, which is used entirely in the third song we've written – Nocturnal Mood.

Nocturnal Mood is an English translation of a Bulgarian poem by Maria Aglikina. It speaks of the fragility of the human existence. The poem is inspired by two figures, a male and a female, both searching for the light. Icarus and Anna Karenina are symbols of freedom in a tragic decor.

Nära is an original song in Swedish with lyrics by Åsa Öhrn. It's an introvert reflection on the struggle of comprehension between lovers. The main character makes a parralel between his poetic, emotional attitude and the stereotyped obligations of human beings. The composition's development follows the story's contrasting images and metaphores.


As with CPC's first album, we wanted to curate the musical material, so that all the pieces create an entity or what's called a "concept album". Alike the storyboards in cinema, we strive to achieve an integrity and continuity of the compositions featured in the album and take advantage of the engineering possibilities of recorded material to create an exclusive discographic work. We realise song by song towards a full album.

/vb & bf, Björkö, Sweden, Sept 18th 2021

Abborredansen (Music VIdeo)

The Screen (Music Video)

GUEST APPEARANCE 2021-22

Åsa Öhrn in her Stockholm studio.

Åsa Öhrn, Visual artist/vocalist
based in Stockholm/Björkö, Sweden

With the appearance in CSP Öhrn re-enters the music terrain, her vocal flexibility and mature voice stretches from latino songs in to jazz, opera, rock , country, and pop. She did her first studio recordning at age 16 with legendary Swedish producer  Ola Håkansson at Sonet studios.  Since then she worked with a number of constellations such as The Garden, The Flying Mantovanis, The Promenads, King Mambo, Serenads Orkester, Stefan Carlsson In the 90s she also did music theatre with The livingroom. Additionally she works as narrator of texts as well as art teacher for adults and children. In the process with  CSP she explores improvisation and experimental contemporary art music for the first time.

 

CRYSTAL SOUND PROJECT


From a live session with CSP in Paris.

Composing and constructing the musical material together is an important aspect of our collaborations. In a way, every member has to get out of his/her's comfort zone. In this "confrontation" we build a common ground, established from different opinions and ideas, which we do not prepare beforehand. In that sense, we strive to capture each individual's current state of mind, which inevitably gets altered by the joint experience of living and working together under the roof of Björkö Konstnod.

CSP is Victor Benev and Bilyana Furnadzhieva
both born in Sofia now living and working in Paris, France.

bilyana furnadzhieva and Viktor Benev have been working on Crystal sound project since 2016, a project that unites forms and music using porcelain sculptures as musical instruments in order to redefine the sound field today. 
The instruments have specific capacities of resonance, which is obtained by adding various metal oxides in the clay. Numerous unique instruments have been created each wearing its own name: the chênecelaine and the stringbone -string instruments and the singing drums - percussions. A variety of sounds is produced by inducing the resonance of the sculptures in various ways - playing with mallets or with hands, singing or talking inside, rubbing their surface or the strings with guitar picks. The sounds are sampled into a digital database and partially constitutes the sonic palette that they would use during their joint residency, given the logistical impossibility of bringing the sculptures in Björkö.

Being fascinated by the musicality of the languages they  work with the local singer and artist Åsa Öhrn. The Swedish language has a specific sound that is further colored by the voice and the timber. They would like to confront this richness with the recorded sounds of their musical sculptures and also the languages, already used as compositional material (Bulgarian, English, French, Finish, and Persian) in Crystal sound project's earlier sound works.

Both bilyana and Viktor draw inspiration from Nature for their personal artistic works. During their residency they plan collecting various objects from the environment - stones, leaves, branches, minerals, but also the sound that those objects might create by interaction. This process would further underline the artists' will to communicate with the space around Björkö Konstnod. They plan on experimenting with different acoustic possibilities and record the resulting sounds, in order to eventually release the music later on on the label enovae.

 /vb & bf, Paris, France, March 15th, 2021

CSP first album released March 28, 2018 >>>

With suppport from: Foundation Nguyen Thien Dao & Björkö Konstnod.


Footnote:
Artist Residency at BKN: April 2021 (3 weeks) and September, 2021 (3 weeks)

Artist Residency at BKN or bilyana furnadzhieva October 2020 (4 weeks), where she met with BKN in-house artist Åsa Öhrn

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