Kilpisjarvi, Residency , Bioart Society , May 31st to June 6th 2011, sound and biodiversity

Chorus: I went to Kilpisjarvi to write music in remote locations, listen to the nature, record nature and record realtime composing with a mac book pro, a custom made Max/Msp patch and a Tascam stereo recorder/ microphone.

This is part of my ongoing curiosity, how to connect digital music and wilderness, digital life with remote places.

I am searching for locations and possibilities to host a collective wilderness performance/ listening here in Kilipisjarvi with locals, students and researchers.

Tuesday - Arrival, Set up, getting to know the place

Wednesday 1st June - Wandberg

Me and my 5 year old daughter conquer the big mountain Saana behind our residence. If you stand directly in front of the mountain it appears you stand in front of a few hundred meter big wall. We call it the Wall Mountain. We are rewarded with the most amazing view ever. Up there we go East a little and find a windproof valley with a light stream. I set up simple gear, just laptop and headphones, I could not carry radios up there. I tried record wind with the Tascam DR-1, the wind is too wild, unrecordable, the mice sounds stronger. So I decided to just sit there and compose… use open mic and voice into laptop speakers. 

The overwhelming spirit of the place cuts into the music, the cold and rough landscape and at the same time the airy-ness finds place into the composition.

Wandberg Song

The wind is incredible and with what I have not recordable. I made a vocal improvisation along the wind I heard and recorded that into the patch. In some ways my imitation is closer to how I hear wind than any recording I managed so far.

Wind Imitation

Thursday 2nd June - The sun is up north

We head north with the weather to norwegian Skibotn. The landscape changes every few minutes. We find a nice beach in the gulf stream warmed up Fjord and I record following piece and take a few pictures. I use a little radio with FM transmitter to exhibit the sound. But record internally. The area is not real wilderness, its rather touristic and a mountain street runs through with quite heavy traffic. I was nevertheless interested in the feel of this.

Skibotn live improvisation

We found a dead Lemming. The scientist from the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station are researching this sweet curious animals which have strange patterns. I was hoping to meet one and record the particular scream the biologists mentioned, no luck.

Most impressive layout of stones at the border Finland/ Norway E 8. I play some rough digital beats and record a 99 mini movie serial of stones to send my to Sue.C

Friday 3rd June

We investigate the nearby shore. My local host and artist fellow Leena Valkeapää has told me about a wonderful ice melting sound. We recorded at midnight.

Ice Shuffle


I meet Prof. Jarvinen, the director of the Kilpisjarvi Biological Station, University of Helsinki.

Malla - Nature Park, I study the water roar. I used to think and remember colleagues say, oh yeah, yawn, another water recording… It is funny! If you stand there it sounds remarkable and in connection with what you see, smell, breath (OXYGEN!!) and hear it has such an impact. But when you listen disconnected from all that, it is kind of pointless, is it ? Then again you listen to millions of the same pointless bassdrums, claps, rock guitars or synth sounds all the time in music and nobody doubts that existing.

Water Roar Siilasjoki

Saturday 4th June

We drive north 20 km and find this incredible waterfall. Rovijoki. The sound is permanent roar. Please find an original recording.

Rovijoki Powerful Noise Producer!

Saturday night: It started snowing

Sunday 5th June

I use the day to write this and finish my work up. Also I record the ice sound once more and get amazing shots of the melting and breaking ice. Stunning.

The other side of Kilpisjarvi

Friday night sitting in the sauna, I noticed trucks speeding by the main road E8 and asking Leena later, she tells me this incredible story, how salmon banks in Norway are growing all the time and these trucks bring the freshly killed breed fish in 24 hours down to Helsinki Vantaa airport, fly the food to China, there the stuff gets unloaded and driven to a factory where chinese workers cut and pack the fish and fly it back to Europe. This is such an outraging story and I am sure another insane example story for idiot free market capitalism. I will never buy norwegian salmon again. I was anyway suspicious of the health and nutrition value. I will find out more and encourage everybody to check that out. Not only is there all this aspects of how fish and life is exploited and oceans fished empty to breed more fish. On top of it airoplanes full of salmon circle the sky to end up in cheap supermarkets. Its disgusting and who is watching over this ?

The sound of this speeding trucks who drive to Oulu and change the driver to make it fast to Helsinki. Is a permanent and present sound of Kilpisjarvi.

working on a sound and video piece and will add later


The primary sound you hear here is variations of wind, birds, cars, water, and if you listen closely, ice.

I was inspired by the evening long talk and exchange of thoughts with Leena Valkeapää, who lives and amazing life with an old Sami reindeer family. It was truly heartening. We ended our conversation with realizing that my humming on the mountains into software is not that far away from Joik, a practiced voice art up here.

I found that there is amazing beauty in nature and biology and also violence but sound does not seem to translate this happenings, the wind goes on as it has too. I mean you can see how powerful and beautiful this wild life is but you can not hear it !

Questions remaining

Can any micro sound be found in biology, when you go deep, something we can not hear but is there nevertheless ?

How to plant sound poetry permanently into forms of nature ?

I am looking to find a technology which allows me to use alternative power. Conversion of natural energy forms to power up sound generating, performance and wireless transmission settings. Usage of material according to the environment will be realized. Is there an energy source in this nature I could use to power my actions ?  I am thinking something crazy like portable earth heat distraction or a portable wind mill ? Military solar patches which merge with a flat speaker ?

soon download complete soundfiles zipped, contact

Thanks to Bioart Society, Goethe Institut Helsinki for support

Thanks to my ice breaker !