STEIM in Bergen, Norway. Between the mountain and the sea.

Robert van Heumen visited the Borealis festival in Bergen Norway to give a lecture on STEIM and perform with John Ferguson from Culturelab (Newcastle UK) as Whistle Pig Saloon.


Borealis 2009 was the first installment curated by Alwynne Pritchard, winner of the Ton Bruynèl price 2005 in the Gaudeamus Music Week in collaboration with STEIM. The program was varied under the theme ‘George and the lion’. There were a number of works by Michael Finnissy performed by the Asamisimasa ensemble, works for a huge stack of organs, installations in a church, the Dutch POW Ensemble performing on the local race track and a couple of films being shown in an intimate setting.

The highlights:

  • MEM1 (Laura & Mark Cetilia) created a beautiful soundworld of subtly processed cello and an analog synth, building up from barely audible via high pitched screetching to waves of noise, moving between the 4 speakers with grand gestures. At the end, after 40 minutes, I wasn’t sure if the chill on my back was from the music or someone opening the outside door to let the Bergen air come in.
  • Pascal Baltazar presented a number of improvisations, using crispy sounds and heavy bass, performed using a custom tabletop controller. The broad and active gestures of the performer and the well-balanced structures made for an impressive concert.

With John Ferguson I spend a day in the BEK studio, recording possibly the next Whistle Pig Saloon album. BEK is a place very similar to STEIM, although smaller. Many thanks to Trond Lossius, BEK’s artistic director, for arranging all that.

Borealis - Whistle Pig Saloon (photo by Thor Brødreskift) Borealis - MEM1 (photo by Thor Brødreskift) Borealis - John Ferguson lecture (photo by Thor Brødreskift)

Borealis - studio at BEK Borealis - Bergen from above

More photos at Flickr.

Comments are closed.