If you enjoy artists like Massive Attack, Royksopp, Thievery Corporation, Enigma, Vangelis, Café del Mar, Buddha Bar etc., you will love this album from the Norwegian music project Homeless Balloon! The CD has more than anhour of acoustic and electronic pieces inspired by ambient, world fusion, chill out and experimental electronica. A highly eclectic album to ease your soul! A limited stock of the CD comes with a nice Digipak cover. A digital booklet with images, information about the recording, the instruments and the artist, can be downloaded free from the official artist page of Homeless Balloon.
Homeless Balloon is the music project of Norwegian composer and artist Helge Krabye, who was born 1953 in Oslo. He has composed music for more than eighty television documentaries, radio plays, fantasy stories and art projects as well as more than a hundred signature melodies and musical jingles. In his music, he is known for combining acoustic instruments with experimental, electronic sounds, and for building strong melodies.
Helge Krabye's first instrument was a small, wooden zither that his grandmother gave him when he was four years old. At six, he started taking violin lessons and later began playing first violin in Nordtvet Skoles Strykeorkester in Oslo. His teacher Peter Hindar (well known for his performances with Hindarkvartetten) encouraged him to practice more, but he didn't have the patience. One day Peter Hindar caught him in cheating; he didn't read the music, he played it by memory and by ear... That was the end of one era, but the beginning of another.
When Helge Krabye was 15, big boys were supposed to play guitar, not violin - and he quit the school orchestra. His grandmother gave him a violin, so he never really got rid of it... He took up the violin again after high school, encouraged by his friend Vegard Brenna who played piano. Since then, he has often used violin in his recordings.
With the Tandberg 1200X tape recorder he bought for the money he received at his Confirmation, Helge Krabye started composing music and creating new sounds. Very much inspired by Karlheinz Stockhausen and the Beatles, he developed an ear for sound. He was able to dub his guitar with noises and voices from the radio. One of the first compositions was "Song of the world", a montage of acoustic guitar, radio tuning and voice samples like Mr. Richard Nixon announcing the end of the Vietnam War and an overexited radio dj announcing the (terrible) movie "Song of Norway".
Music meant a lot to Helge Krabye as a teenager, and he bought a lot of LP's and even made his own listening charts every week. He discovered "Astral Week" by Van Morrison, "Inner Mounting Flame" by John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, "What's going on" by Marvin Gaye, the experimental music of Karheinz Stockhausen and Terry Riley, as well as Mozart's "Symphony No. 40" with the great conductor Carlo Maria Giulini.
After high school, he went to technical school in NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Cooperation) to become a sound engineer. Here he was able to use professional recording studios and instruments, and he played guitar with his classmates. With a class mate, he was responsible for the innovative radio program "Lydbåndmix" ("Music Tapes") where amateur musicians were invited to send in their own musical compositions. Several later to be well known, musicians and singers were among the artists who were discovered through the program.
Later, Helge met Arnfinn Christensen, who became a close friend, and who jumped in as program host with Helge in the next series of "Lydbåndmix". Arnfinn also played instruments and made his own music. He owned a Tascam Portastudio, and they made several songs and instrumental tunes together. (The cassette "Spillopper" is still available). Arnfinn has contributed by playing recorder on many of Helge's pieces during the years, and the compositions "Order and Chaos" (fantasy story for radio) and "Beatie Bow" (a popular Radio Play) were highlights.
When MIDI arrived in the late eighties, Helge Krabye purchased his first Macintosh SE (in 1987) with the MasterTracksPro MIDI sequencer and a Roland S-10 sampling keyboard, as well as the first multitimbral synthesizer: the Roland MT-32. He was working close with radio pioneer Lars Lønne who was program host in the successful youth program "AB 8-12" in NRK, and he invited him to make jingles for the program. Helge also composed illustrative music for the program, and when he started receiving royalties from airplay, he was able to upgrade his studio and instruments and purchased the very first hard disk recording system for a personal computer, "SoundTools" from Digidesign (later to be named ProTools). He used his equipment for composing jingles and creating original sound landscapes when he became responsible for the next youth radio program in NRK: "ABRS". In this program, that was broadcast every working day in the afternoon, Helge also programmed various interactive games in HyperCard, with sound effects and musical pieces built into the applications and the Macintosh computer connected to the radio mixer in order to create a rich sound design live on air.
Helge Krabye first started to work as a technician in the Radio Drama department in NRK in 1986, and director Kyrre Haugen Bakke allowed him to compose music for the fantasy story "The Magician's Nephew", one of the great books in the "Narnia Chronicles" by C. S. Lewis. Being in control of both music and sound design, was a nice responsibility! He enjoyed this a lot, and he later wrote his own story with music and sound effects for children, "Herr C og bestevennen som ble borte". Arnfinn Christensen also worked in the Children’s Department in radio at that time, and Helge composed music to several of his great fantasy stories.
In 1997, Helge Krabye realized that the budgets for the radio got lower every year, and it was time for him to move on. He started to work with post production (sound) in NRK Fjernsynet (television). Soon after, he was responsible for doing the sound design for the documentary journalists in "Brennpunkt", and they invited him to compose music as well. Since then, he has composed original music for more than sixty television documentaries, both within and outside NRK.
Helge Krabye also has a great interest in interactive media and computer games, and he programmed a special interactive HyperCard game called "Nysgjerrigper" for Norges Forskningsråd in 1990. He also programmed the "Midt i Planeten" ("Worlds apart") with Arnfinn Christensen - a computer game where the alien Gorx is guiding us through our solar system. The game was included with the new Macintosh Centris multimedia computers that Apple started selling in Norway in 1993.
2001 was in a way a highlight in Helge Krabye's career as a composer for television, since the five part documentary series "Det gåtefulle Kina" (Mysterious China) was a success and was shown in several countries around the world the following years. (A remix of the best music pieces from this series was finally released on CD in August 2007.)
In 2004, he composed original music for nature documentarist and fotograhper Arne Nævra and his nine part television series "Villdyr og Villmark" ("Global Safari"), an adventure and wildlife series shot in Russia (Wrangel island and Kamchatka), Rwanda, India, Borneo and Alaska
Helge Krabye has contributed to other artist's projects as well. He contributed on acoustic guitar for Øystein Ramfjord (Amethystium) on his CD project "Evermind" (2004), an album that climbed high in the ambient and new age charts around the world. He also played electric guitar (with Ebow), Alembic electric bass and some percussion on the track "Moths Drink the Tears of Sleeping Birds" on Kit Watkins 2006 CD album "SkyZone".
In 2005, Helge Krabye began working as a video editor in NRK, a profession that made it possible to combine all his experience from drama, storytelling, sound design and graphic design. He is a big fan of Eric Wenger (U&I Software) and his software tools ArtMaticPro, ArtMaticVoyager and MetaSynth, and he has created several complex animations and graphics, which he will be using in his video and music compositions.
Even if Helge Krabye was very eager to start using MIDI and compose with samplers, his heart is beating stronger for using real instruments when composing and recording music. His taste for jazz and improvisational music has grown during the years. He has invested in quality instruments like acoustic and electric guitars, a Rhodes electric piano as well as various percussion instruments and a real, MiniMoog Voyager synthesizer. He slowed down composing for television from 2006 and instead started concentrating on remixing his best music as well as composing new, independent pieces.
Helge Krabye decided to release his music commercially under the project name "Homeless Balloon" in the spring of 2007. In August, he released his first two commercial CD's, "Travel in Silence" and "Mysterious China", the very year he also celebrates his first twenty years as a composer. Four more CD's were released in August 2008. Helge Krabye aka Homeless Balloon is working on new material for a possible release in late 2009.