Jacob Kirkegaard (born in Denmark 1975) is an artist and composer who works in carefully selected environments to generate recordings that are used in compositions, or combined with video imagery in visual, spatial installations. His works reveal unheard sonic phenomena and present listening as a means of experiencing the world. Kirkegaard has recorded sonic environments as different as subterranean geyser vibrations, empty rooms in Chernobyl, Arctic calving glaciers and tones generated by the human inner ear itself.

Unheard Voices 7/11

What does singing sand sound like? Can one listen to a country? What sounds can be found in the abandoned, radioactive buildings in Chernobyl? These are just some of the questions Kirkegaard explores in his artistic practice. On the first day of the Sound of Stockholm journey, Kirkegaard lectures on the methods used when discovering sound with the use of unusual archaeological methods and special recording equipment. Thus, he reveals natural and anthropogenic sounds which humans wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to hear.

Eustachia for Voices 8/11

During the second day of Sound of Stockholm, Jacob Kirkegaard will present Eustachia for Voices – a vocal work composed from tones generated in the inner ear.

The ears of only few people are constantly producing faint, but constant acoustic tones: spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAE). Each emitting ear produces something akin to an acoustic fingerprint: whereas the combinations of tones emitted from one ear can be dissonant, microtonal and complex, tones emitted from another ear can be harmonious and ‘in tune’.

Eustachia is created from a selection of individuals’ ears which emit these tones. Recorded and amplified by Jacob Kirkegaard, the recorded ‘ear chords’ are filtered, analyzed, to be interpreted for voices in the format of a choir. Thus, the work connects two intimate organs of our body: the ear and the throat. Whilst the ears are the composers, the throat and serve as performers of the sound that is heard. In the spring of 2017, Kirkegaard recorded the sound of emitting ears from Aarhus Pigekor, which he later filtered and organized them as chords into a composition. The Sound of Stockholm version of Eustachia brings a third layer to the work, which is the copying action of a voice reenacting what the ear is hearing. Listening to the very same chords that they are listening to in headsets, the choir reenacts the sound of the absent ear which initially emitted the very tone. Together, the choir sings a composition of tones which the authoring ears still haven’t heard themselves.

For this occasion, the choir Birdies joins Jacob Kirkegaard. Birdies is constituted by approximately twenty-five members of mixed gender that’ve been working together over a ten year period. The choir is led by Lina Åberg, who also writes and composes a majority of their arrangements