As Ditlev described in his interview with me, we had writer's block at the same time. I suggested we interview each other to get back into the swing of things and he happily agreed!
Being a Danish citizen, Ditlev is fascinated both by the culture of his country AND experimentation worldwide. He brings a lot of eclecticism into what he does; everything from strange audio art to melancholy singer-songwriter stuff (or maybe it isn't and i just think it is due to the language barrier) to hilarious jokey songs (all released on his own label, Stilletid), as well as his writings and films. Even with this range, everything he creates is 100% original and one of a kind. A kind and agreeable sort, he enjoys meeting people from all corners of the world and getting their unique takes on life, art, and everything in between.
Adam: Growing up, did you ever expect to become so involved with art? What first sparked your creativity? What was the first music you got into and what is your favorite music now?
Ditlev: I knew pretty early on i wanted to create things. At first it was simple comics and short stories. In elementary school i wrote a comicstrip about a cat, that was called Mis. Translates to kitty. The other children in the class didn't understand why i did it, because it involved words on a page. Seemed like homework to them. The first music i heard and liked was probably some of my dad’s records. He liked Patsy Cline, Roger Miller, those kinds of people. But what made me want to start a band was the first Black Sabbath record, Even if i didn't actually play with any other people until much later. Then i discovered that if i played acoustic guitar i could do it all alone and not need to have a rehearsal room and all that.
Adam: We've had a lot of discussions about the culture (and pop culture) of our respective countries. What is it you enjoy most about Danish culture? What do you like the least about it? Does a lot of the culture go into your works?
Ditlev: I like that we have a society where a garbageman might live next door to a millionaire, and neither one of them will feel out of place. Its called Jantelov i guess. Jantelov means that no one is any more special than anyone else. I like that, but unfortunately what i don’t like is that a lot of people (mainly the really young) are getting a bit self absorbed because of the selfie-culture. But i think that’s a global problem, not just a local one. These are narcissistic times.
Adam: I've seen you describe yourself as an outsider. What makes you consider yourself as such? Would you agree we're all outsiders in a way on EC, brought together by a sense of camaraderie and be appreciated for who we are by like-minded folks?
Ditlev: I think we all are somehow. It’s great that EC came into existence, since its a treasure chest of parallel culture from around the world. There used to be a website in danish like this, but more centered around punk rock than experimental music. The problem was that no one really looked at it because it was so localized that people just learned about gigs and records elsewhere.
Adam: Have you traveled much outside of Denmark? Is there anywhere you haven't been that's on your bucket list? If so, for what reasons?
Ditlev: Ive been to Belgium and England, and some of the surrounding countries like Sweden and Germany, but i guess i’m not much of a tourist. I like to go to a small island called Langeland once in a while. Its very inspiring there. The light falls in such a beautiful way because there’s water on all sides.
Adam: How much contact did you have with musicians and artists from outside Denmark before Electronic Cottage? I find it fascinating that Hal is giving us a forum to meet on a more personal and artistic level via this great community.
Ditlev: I sent alot of mail before EC too, and sent my music to radioshows like Swami Loopynanda’s Deprogramming Center and Little Fyodor’s Under the Floorboards, but only talked to a few people online. I have definitely made a lot more acquaintances since EC started
Adam: In closing, would you like to link to anything of yours or suggest something for the community that they might not be familiar with?
Ditlev: I guess it would be this album i made with the Danish/Azerbaijani artist Nargiz Andersen. Instead of her illustrating the music, i scored her drawings. Was a fun project for sure!
To hear Ditlev's work, start with his track from the Electronic Cottage Compilation 004!
After that, go check out more of his great works on
The Relation Between Hiking And Musical Ideas: A Very Opinionated Post
By Adam Naworal
Before Aimee and I got married, we already loved nature and hiking and exploring areas both well-trod and off-the-trails. Once we got married, that never stopped. If anything we have more nature adventures than ever. During these experiences, both of us have absorbed the sounds of nature mingling with the human presence that's never very far from said areas. It's an endless and fascinating source of ideas to both of us. How can we replicate that insect noise? Where can we go for unique field recordings? If we set the recorder on this rock in the water, will it catch what we're doing with our gear on the shore about five feet away? I encourage everyone on here to go outside in nature and listen to the sounds around you. It may inspire you, it may just make you find peace, or it might even disturb you. Regardless, go hike. Bring a recording device if you can. Be inspired. That waterfall or spillway you find may lead to endless inspiration with your music.
Tomokie's Cup recommends the following locations in Florida. Suggestions are most welcome!
-Devil's Millhopper State Park, Gainesville
-O'Leno Springs State Park, High Springs
-Washington Oaks State Park and Gardens, Palm Coast
-Gamble Rogers State Park, Flagler Beach
-Tomoka State Park, Ormond Beach (source of the name for Tomokie's Cup)
-Silver Springs State Park, Silver Springs
-Mandarin Park, Jacksonville
-Walter Jones Historical Park, Jacksonville (we can be found here on the first Saturday of every month, volunteering at the Mandarin Museum)
-Castaway Island Preserve, Jacksonville
Fifty years ago (as of June 12th),
English free improvisation forefathers AMM recorded
A monumental and intimidating slab of noise, it wasn't even released until 1981; it's THAT monstrous and weird. It was daunting then, at 88+ minutes spread over two LPs. Now available as an expanded 2 CD set with all the recordings from the session, it's even MORE intimidating at 109+ minutes! So, what does this monster of a recording sound like?
Well, it's FAR more intense than AMMMusic 1966, the groundbreaking album that preceded it.
The quintet of Lou Gare, Christopher Hobbs, Eddie Prévost, Cornelius Cardew, and Keith Rowe used fairly traditional instruments for this. Cello, piano, percussion, electric guitar, saxophone, violin, and....... electronics? That latter element means both pedals and preparations as well as shortwave radios, used both for random snatches of sound and for the static between stations. Listening to The Crypt, though........ who knows WHAT is making which sound? This is a mass of intense and enthralling noise made by masters of their art. It's industrial music before Industrial records. It's the UK equivalent to European/Canadian/US weirdos like The Sperm, Nihilist Spasm Band, and Intersystems. It's several years of musical insurrection both predicted and perfected, as jarringly out of time fifty years later as it must have been when it was recorded. Nothing else is like this, and you'll be hard pressed to find something this eerily prescient. It's not for everyone, but anyone here at Electronic Cottage owes it to themselves to check it out. It's essential.
Aimee and I arrived at Hal's around 12:30. The complex, that is. Our GPS didn't want to cooperate at first so we spent a bit of time figuring out which place was his. Once we saw Hal's smiling face waving to us, we knew we were at the right place.
Mark McGee performed first. Minimalist singing bowls, bells, and other such instruments were used to great effect. I felt like I was floating out of my body. I'd love to hear more of this in person again (something I want to be taken for granted with all of the following abstract recollections).
Hal McGee was next. Something like acoustic noisecore. A bunch of short songs consisting of acoustic guitar abuse, some abstract vocalizations (with the occasional words, if I remember correctly), and each was a few seconds long. I enjoy this sorta thing, and it was fun to see Hal doing pseudo(?)-noisecore.
Lumen K performed as Gear Lust. Abstract electronic noise accompanied by a hilarious rant about being an instrument/gear junkie. The sort of performance art noise I enjoy for its sheer joyous absurdity. I could listen to/watch this over and over and over.
Todd Novosad unleashed his Novasak alias for this. Abstract/surreal electronics of a distinctly cosmic variety. The ghosts of Schnitzler, Cluster, Seesselberg, and all the other cosmic synth greats were heavily presiding here, and it was most welcome. A treat for the ears.
Tomokie's Cup was next. As this is Aimee and I, I won't review our performance, but we felt we did okay and everyone seemed to like it.
Jonas van den Bossche followed with some interesting guitar and shortwave impressionism. Similar to Keith Rowe while being completely non-derivative. Interesting double-bass technique used on pedals as well! A performer I can learn a lot from.
Dylan Houser did guitar impressionism/abstraction/surrealism as well, but uniquely his axe is an acoustic-electric! Great use of loops in an almost-but-not-quite Frippertronic way. Having known Dylan a while, I'd love to hear more of this sort of thing from him.
Emmy Lou was next. Her set was something I've never seen before. Wind-up music box dolls and a fidget spinner used on a contact mic'd street sign. Occasional use of treated haunting vocals. Excellent real-time dark ambient. It was scary yet soothing at the same time. A very interesting idea that has a lot of potential.
Hal Harmon ended Apartment Music 29 with some "Bluto Electronics" (as Dylan calls it with nothing but good intent). INTENSE electronic noise, using what appears to be a VERY tricked-out CrackleSynth-type instrument. This was some of the most intense AND interesting live noise I've ever heard! An excellent and brutal way to end a great day with great people!
Following the show, Aimee and I watched episode one of Twin Peaks: The Return with Hal and Mark. Our heads sufficiently and delightfully swirling, we departed back to Jacksonville and our home, glad that we were a part of this magical event.
check out Dylan Houser's AM29 report here
and Hal McGee's report here