The Broken Vessel
THE BROKEN VESSEL
With THE BROKEN VESSEL, Andreas Barth, Geir Hjorthol, and Magnar Åm take the concept of “industrial music” to a whole new level. The recording took place in an abandoned Norwegian factory, “The Propeller Hall,” utilizing everything from the acoustics in the building to the muffled sounds of traffic outside its walls. In this way, the building became a partner in concrete as well as a metaphorical way in creating the music of this ten-track album.
Let us quote the composing musicians: “Metaphorically the building with all its scars could be seen as a broken vessel, left alone and non-productive. And this broken vessel even became the reflection of how our minds had to willingly enter into the nothingness of the creative moment, where we are left with nothing but what we are and what is around us, trying constantly to find a meaningful way into the next moment. This is true both as far as composition and improvisation concerns, maybe even living in general…”
The notion of THE BROKEN VESSEL is borrowed from German philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin. Benjamin argued against the idea that any original work could be translated into another language while still retaining its original meaning. Thus any translation would be a “broken vessel”.
“We chose this title,” the composing musicians say, “because we acknowledge the impossible challenge in translating what our hearts feel into a musical language. But music was the most direct language we could find.”
From this double inspiration, the three composers/musicians created their sonic interpretations of a factory, now abandoned, as an image of the relation between past and present, but also between the materiality of industrial production and the spirituality of music.
They created this project using instruments such as a glass harp, grand piano, trumpet, the human voice, and various percussion instruments including tools and materials found within the factory. They manipulated their sonic output to simulate the industrial sounds of production in an attempt to musically translate the labors, but also the hopes and longings of the workers of the past. The outcome of this was a series of musical images filled with contrasts between darkness and light, drama, and peaceful meditations.
Though the past cannot be fully translated, Barth, Hjorthol, and Åm reimagine the factory in its working condition, bringing the building to life in an attempt to retell its story to a new audience.