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Per Boysen

“I play music that is open, improvising, breathtaking and sometimes a complete failure!”

Swedish multi instrumentalist and “electronician” Per Boysen is a crossover crusader that loves music, but not genres. Enthusiastic listeners have hinted at “EAM”, “Nu-Jazz”, “Psychedelic” or “Minimal” while some refer to “Sound Art”. On stage Per plays interactive electronics driven by the Alto Traverse Flute, the Tenor Sax, the Fretless Guitar, the Chapman Stick or the EWI (Electric Wind Instrument). All this as part of his self designed meta instrument; the live looping laptop to be played by foot control pedals.

“Among the many festival highlights was Swedish guitarist and flute/wood-wind player Per Boysen’s Jon Hassel-like soundscapes” (Guitar Player Magazine, USA)

Photo by Leontina Barreto“Per Boysen’s live looped ambience music with layers over layers of sax- and flute melodies was a real experience, and it was obvious that he is utilizing the electronics as his personal expression without being a slave to the technology.” (Smålandsposten, Sweden)

Per Boysen has performed many live-looping shows around Europe and the US, both as a solo performer and with ensembles. He is fond of multi media based collaborations, as for example when the Italian Festival Internazionale di Andria Castel dei Mondi gave him a budget big enough for assembling a temporary quartet, the Boysen Network Ensemble, to improvise a micro opera with amplified painting canvas percussionist and musicians clamped with cameras projecting over a big screen by the stage. He is also active as a media music composer, having produced recordings of surround music, mixed records for bands and creative remixing for special record label releases.

The Swedish Art Grants Committee helped financing a few of Per’s projects, as the series of Swedish Live Looping Tours happening in 2003 and 2008. Interviews and concerts covered by the national public service television’s art documentary Musikspegeln and, internationally, by The Music Room of CNN.

As a consulting musician Per Boysen is also working with a row of software developers to help out in the creation of tomorrows musical instruments. Besides playing music he has also written expert studies for WIPO in Geneva, the Nordic Musician Union and The Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs. Other works including books in Swedish on the music business as well as being a freelance journalist, editor and columnist for Scandinavia’s biggest guitar and computer music studio magazines. Per Boysen is also frequently booked as a speaker, trainer and consultant regarding Apple Logic, Ableton Live and assorted live-looping techniques. Hired as guest lecturer at several Swedish universities and UCSC, USA.

Former credits include international major label releases with extremely visual punk-electronic dance- pop band Plastico (artist) as well as Swedish gold seller Peter LeMarc (studio musician). Per Boysen has also appeared in art performances directed by Swedish multi artist Dan Fröberg (Stockholm Art Show, “Nya Gärdesfestivalen” etc). Many other credits not mentioned here – but who cares about old history when fresh music happens right now!

Finally, how would you describe what you are doing?

“Multi Lateral Improvisation as in Instant Composing”

In jazz it is common that one musician improvises lead themes over a fixed chord structure background played by other musicians. In my music the same musician, or musicians, typically improvises both the lead themes and the chord structures at the same time. This multi lateral improvisation is made possible by advanced live-looping techniques. It is an extremely fun and intuitive way of creating music.

Playing the music rather than the background – and vice versa…

I think “playing the music rather than the background”, as Ornette Coleman once put it, is one side of what I’m doing. The other side is that in a certain sense I’m “exclusively playing backgrounds”. Whatever way the listener choses to interpret my music, there will always be some empty part of the screen to be filled in by the listening mind’s imagination. In my opinion this psychologic aspect of listener’s participation is a key element in “psychedelic” or “open” music.