MUSIC FROM A PLAY
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Back in 2010 I wrote the music for a play produced by Teater Martin Mutter and Västerbottensteatern, based on the short story ”The man in the boat” by Swedish author Per Olov Enquist. The music was to be performed live on stage, accompanying the acting, so it was an easy decision to compose all of it for guitars. I used loop stations quite a lot as well, mostly playing back pre-recorded guitar parts.
This was a really special project for me, in many ways. It was the first time I was hired to write music professionally, and the chance to get to play theater music live on stage interacting with an actor and be a part of that kind of story telling, was a great learning experience in terms of timing, expression, stage presence and listening.
During 2010-2011 we played in lots of different places, including a couple of tours in the northern parts of Sweden. The premiere was held in the village of Hjoggböle in Västerbotten, in the chapel just nearby Per Olov Enquist’s childhood home. The chapel, built by his father, is mentioned on several occasions in Enquist’s writing. There is even a scene in ”The man in the boat” that takes place there (the whole story is set in the surroundings in which he grew up).
”The man in the boat” is a story about a young kid who faces loss and grief after a traumatic event with his best friend. During an adventurous journey across the lake on a home made raft, things go terribly wrong. On another level, it’s a story about having to grow up too soon, how the innocence of childhood is lost when you find yourself suddenly having to deal with, and ultimately accept, the sorrow of losing someone. I felt that the tone in the story and the rural surroundings in which it is set suggested a kind of roots/country/Americana sound to the music, and also something of a melancholic, nostalgic quality that a lot of Swedish traditional folk music is known for. The blending of those influences made for a good musical environment for the story to unfold within.
A while into the project, I began recording the music in my home studio, mostly for documentation purposes. I found that the main musical themes and motifs from the play was adaptable to lots of more variations and further thematic development. Inspired by soundtrack albums such as Pat Metheny’s A map of the world, Mark Knopfler’s Local Hero, and Bill Frisell’s All Hat (and even his album Disfarmer, which is not a soundtrack but has the structure of themes and variations), I wanted to not only record the music performed in the play but also include additional music inspired by it and the fictional world in which the story takes place (the tracks Chapel gospel and Pious people being good examples). The result is this album.