Futura Resistenza / Belgium / 2021
One of my favourite ways to imagine Bergur is to picture him poised before a dark curtain of space — stars twinkling all around — and he, just floating there, wearing a calm, focused expression, with arms raised and rhythmically moving, magically conducting the stuff of the cosmos.
Like: this goes here aaaaaand yup, that there — let’s see about...ahha, ahha good...
Two seconds after I first envisioned it — chuckling from whatever inceptive, jokey circumstances I now can’t quite remember, and without consciously thinking much — I realized: oh wow! but Bergur actually is a conductor! — is The Conductor. A cosmic role. An archetypal aspect. That’s, like, his whole way and whole thing — so effortless; so gentle; so flowy. So in-tune.
Conductors are the materials or substances which allow electricity to flow through them; allow the transmission of energy from one source to another. True of elements, true of humans. And, besides the obvious, another related, metaphorical way of thinking about electricity is: as a state or feeling (of excitement, tension; you name it). Electricity, electrically charged particles, as feeling(s).
Bergur has this very lovely way of moving things around in space and exchanging: feelings for ideas and ideas for feelings and ideas with people and labour for labour. And this conduct-ability is beautifully illustrated, I think, in Night Time Transmissions.
Night Time Transmissions is world.
A stretch of land and shore and sea. A nocturnal town — and just outside of it, the groaning Z-10: a working-and-residential complex of artists, sleepless and (therefore) exhausted — rudely awoken from dreamy communal visions by the pressures of rising rent, looming evictions, and other heavy Modern machinery...
A world-forming and world-sized fiction which allegorizes a real time in Bergur’s life and a real set circumstances and, apart from the particulars and dramatizations, a “classic” situation for artists in general (as you maybe well know).
And it is an album —
— Bergur’s first solo album. Composed, developed, and recorded between the winter of 2019 and the winter of 2020; between Lithuania, Iceland, The Netherlands; in the field and in the studio; with the help of friends. For instance, with the Singing Club of Rotterdam — of which Bergur is one of the co-founders, members, and organizers — which runs as a bi- monthly-meeting, informal-group-of-people interested in the potentialities of voice and choral sound. The Singing Club appear in Night Time Transmissions as the collective- character, Flock, the Midnight Choir, as both the inspiration and actual voices behind it. Or, for instance, with the collaborative energy of Bergur’s long-time friend, fellow artist and wiz- kid, Gunnar Gunnsteinsson. The tracks on the album were conceived of, composed, and initially recorded by Bergur and then sent, for fine-tuning, magic layering, and additional arrangement/recording, to Gunnar in Reykjavik. Then back and forth.
And then there is the antennae... another conductor.
Which makes a real-and-analogous appearance on the album too — characterized within The Night Time Healer — who suddenly emerges from the night sky right when tension
begins to boil — who emits waves of soothing frequencies and melodic broadcasts to the anxious, spiraling tenants of Z-10; good vibes, who roll in.
Many voices make up this world and this album — and appropriately too. Ever increasingly, Bergur’s focus, and his resulting research, are wading into the deep and rich waters of polyphony and polyphonic storytelling.
A quick search will quickly tell you that, “polyphony is a type of musical texture consisting of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody, as opposed to a musical texture with just one voice...or a texture with one dominant voice.”
To tell a story polyphonically then, is to be beyond the singular and the dominant, to be inclusive and multifaceted. Multifaceted sound...I like the sounds’a that.
I tune into them, they tune in to me, its evening time again...
At sea level
it is said
sound vibrations travel through air at approximately 331 meters (1,087 feet) per second.
May the good vibrations of Night Time Transmissions get to you that quickly.