Terje Winther is one of Norway's most respected musicians in the genre that simply is entitled "synthesizer-music". However, this busy gentleman is also a renowned composer of contemporary music as well as active in the field of electro-acoustics. His new record, "Trespasser", has just been released on the Norwegian label "Bajkal Records".
By Kyrre Tromm Lindvig
Winther explains his way of combine these seemingly incompatible musical genres by referencing the period of time he grew up, which was during the seventies.
- At that time, we in Norway were subjected to a great deal of experiments, both socially and culturally. Growing up at that time was a great opportunity to get exposed to a lot of music, it was a time of great diversity. And of course, we had progressive rock. Listening to progressive rock was very important to me, as it combined complex compositional structures, improvisation, elements from jazz, rock-rhythms and a lot more. Often all of these could be found in one song, he recalls.
In his youth, Winther started playing in bands that played different forms of popular music, but he still continued to take classical piano lessons, something he had started with at an earlier age.
- I saw it as two different worlds, but I started to make connections between the classical and the popular after a while. There are still a lot of examples of the interaction between musical genres, a very good one is the use of classical music in hard rock: A lot of the guitar solos in hard rock and metal stem from adaptations of Bach-pieces, he explains.
Winther is one of the few that are equally at home both in contemporary classical music as well as in synthesizer music. He has written pieces for string quartet, woodwinds, solo violin and is very respected for his work in the field of electro acoustic music - the latter is documented on the record "Sinus Seduction", a collection of selected electro-acoustic works released on the Norwegian label "Aurora". This record also features other prominent composers , such as Natasha Barrett, Maja S.K. Ratkje and Rolf Wallin, among others. But where does synthesizer music fit into this picture, one might ask.
- The truth is that there is a lot of cross fertilasation between the different strands of my work. My contemporary classical music tends to be a bit more rhythmic than most others, and there are also elements from contemporary music to be found in my synthesizer music, Winther explains.
He remarks that he is generally sceptical to labelling a genre of music as "synthesizer music".
- A wedding band musician and a rock'n'roll guitarist can use the same instrument, a Fender Stratocaster, for instance. But neither of them would accept the label "guitarmusic" as the sole characteristic of their music. It is the same with my music. I use synthesizers, but everybody does this today! The point is that I make music that has certain specific aestethic ideals, inside a genre that was defined by artists like Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre. This music is unfortunately not so easy to get hold of these days anymore, he adds.
Winther also says that his music in general creates more interest abroad than at home, an he has had problems in booking gigs both with his band WintherStormer and with his soloproject.
- There is a certain interest for this music in Norway, but nobody is interested in making this music accessible to the general public. I Netherlands you find synthesizer music in every record store, but when Norwegian stores don't take it into their assortment, it is no wonder that everybody thinks that there is no such thing as synthesizer music in this country. On the other hand, the yearly Oslo Synth Festival is always completely sold out, he states.
Winther is member of a society which endorses the use of analogue equipment. But why does he bother to work with old synthesizers that fall apart only when looking at them?
- Because it gives something back to you. The physical response you get from turning knobs is something completely different than working on a computer. And I also think it is easier to get exactly the sound you want that way, and that in itself is so gratifying that I love to out in the extra hours simply dealing with the equipment. I would not have bothered if it had not been an effect, he says.
His new record "Trespasser" is released on the Norwegian label Bajkal Records. On this release, he has gathered a lot of the best of the material he has been working on during the last years. Since he has a wide international network, his record has already gathered interest among synthesizer lovers abroad. Also, one track of his recording will be featured on a CD that is released in conjunction with the magazine E-dition.
To obtain more information on Terje Winther and his analogue synthesizer music, please follow the links below.