Pre-order the limited vinyl box via Kompakt HERE!
Pre-order the full digital album HERE!
On October 19th Kompakt presents a new LP and audiovisual venture by Danish producer Kasper Bjørke and close cohorts. Epic and in length but always captivating, ‘The Fifty Eleven Project’ is an entirely ambient concept album, that interprets and evokes the emotional rollercoaster Kasper experienced, from his cancer diagnosis and throughout the five years of regular check-ups. The week of album release marks his 2nd anniversary of getting the all-clear.
“Just two weeks before my 35th birthday, doctors discovered a tumour during a routine scan. The prognosis was positive, but the anxiety that accompanied the diagnosis was incredibly difficult to navigate.
I felt this urge to document what I was experiencing through music, but at the same time, I didn’t want to begin recording before my final hospital examination; not until I knew for certain I was going to be okay. On October 16th 2016, after five long years of regular CT scans, x-rays and blood samples, I left department 50 11 for the last time.
I wanted to document the gamut of feelings – both light and dark – using these long instrumental compositions as the narrative, and the track titles as a cronological guideline. The album chronicles a journey from discovery of the tumour, to the operation and frequent examinations; from feeling a beacon of love and light in the birth of my son (in the same hospital), to finally leaving that waiting room for the last time.
The project has been a therapeutic way of me processing the diagnosis, the constant fear of relapse and the light in being healed. Throughout the process I used the music to fall asleep to — and as a sonic space to meditate in and contemplate my journey. My hope is that others; healthy, ill or next of kin, will be able to use ‘The Fifty Eleven Project’ in that same way.”
The base of the album was composed on vintage analogue synthesizers, reverbs, echo and sequencers – using the computer solely as a recording device – by Kasper and synth wizard Claus Norreen, in the latter’s Copenhagen studio.
The violins, violas and cellos are composed and played by the Italian composer Davide Rossi, who has also worked with Ennio Morricone, Jon Hopkins, Röyksopp, The Verve and Goldfrapp.
The piano parts are composed and played by Danish musician Jakob Littauer (of Kompakt labelmates Jatoma) on an old upright piano in a studio, and on a Steinway Grand Piano in the concert hall at the Royal Danish Music Conservatorium.
Despite the very personal theme and story behind the album, Kasper wanted to acknowledge the indespensable contributions from these three musician friends, hence crediting the project to a quartet.
From Max Richter’s ‘SLEEP’, Hannah Peel’s ‘Mary Casio: Journey To Cassiopeia’, to much of Brian Eno’s ‘Music For Installations’, ‘The Fifty Eleven Project’ continues in a rich vein of work by contemporary composers which explores a situation/condition, and is made with functionality and healing in mind.
But whether heard with knowledge of the deeply imbued concept, or listened to unaware and purely on surface value, the album works equally well. Bjørke’s ordeal and the potential for resonating with and offering alleviation to others gives this record depth, nuance and substance, but it’s also something that simply sounds great.
This ambitious and brave feat of electroacoustic ambience, contemporary classical and minimalism references greats including Vangelis, Peguin Café Orchestra, Nils Frahm, Global Communications, Johann Johannsson, Jean Michelle Jarre, Biosphere and Hans Zimmer.
However, this darkly beautiful but ultimately empowering and salvative odyssey sits confidently alongside its teachers. Exquisitely recorded, arranged and produced, it twinkles like stars in the cosmos and is expansively infinite, but also vaporous like phosphorescent cosmic dust. In other places it’s dramatic and pensive, like an impending one-way exile into a black hole; the album suggests being lost in space, as metaphor for being lost in the journey of cancer.
The visual side of ‘The Fifty Eleven Project’ is made in collaboration with the culture laboratory Prxjects and acclaimed LA based artist/filmmaker/photographer Justin Tyler Close, who has created art films for each of the album’s 11 tracks - plus one music video, including clips from all 11 films. The 11 films will be assimilated into a video exhibition at Klub in Copenhagen from 12th – 21st October. The ambition is that the installation will tour Europe and the US in 2019.
The album cover art is created by world-renowned artist Landon Metz, further cementing the release’s multidisciplinary links to the art world.
Vinyl Box & Digital Track List:
A1 / 01 ‘Line Of Life (Prologue)’ A2 / 02 ‘Seminom Non Seminom’
B1 / 03 ‘CT’ B2 / 04 ‘50 11’
C1 / 05 ‘Neurons’
C2 / 01 ‘Dur For Vitus’
D1 / 02 ‘Paramount’ D2 / 03 ‘Os’
E1 / 04 ‘061016’
F1 /05 ‘Contemplation’
F2 / 06 ‘The Antiphon (Epilogue)’