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SOFA MUSIC continues to release the work of the extraordinary Norwegian composer Jan Martin Smørdal. Recently he was awarded the prestigious Arne Nordheim Composers Prize for his creative work. Kraftbalanse is a a composition for piano, alternating current and strings, written by Smørdal in collaboration with artist Øystein Wyller Odden. The piece is based on Wyller Oddens prior investigations on the sound of the electrical grid and was part of Oslobiennalen First Edition.

The liner-note explains:

“Kraftbalanse” (Power Balance) is a musical translation of the hum from the mains, i.e., the frequency of the alternating current. The piece is based on the instability of the frequency, it fluctuates subtly around 50 Hz because of supply and demand in the power market. The composition consists of a self-resonating piano that is tuned to resonate at 50 Hz. The piano is fitted with vibration-elements; transducers, plugged directly into the electrical grid, causing the resonance and timbre of the piano to change with the fluctuations on the power market. The piano is accompanied by a string octet. The musicians are equipped with voltmeters that measure the frequency of the current in real time, as well as a score of instructions on how to respond to changes in this frequency".

Kraftbalanse was recorded in Oslo City Hall and with the kind support from Oslobiennalen First Edition, Arts Council Norway and Statnett.

SOFA MUSIC is proud to be able to present this intriguing work by Smørdal and Wyller Odden which has a particular relevance today as the crisis in the energy market in the world is increasing. The instability in today’s power market would maybe have influenced the fluctuation of the frequencies drastically, and thus changing the musical result of this composition. However, the version recorded on Kraftbalanse is beautiful documentation of the fluctuation of the current in Oslo on the 1st of June 2019.