Boomkat Product Review:
Kompakt presents a new LP and audiovisual venture by Danish producer Kasper Bjørke and close cohorts. Epic and in length but always captivating,
"‘The Fifty Eleven Project’ is an entirely ambient concept album, that interprets and evokes the emotional rollercoaster Kasper experienced, from his cancer diagnosis and throughout the five years of regular check-ups. The week of album release marks his 2nd anniversary of getting the all-clear.
“Just two weeks before my 35th birthday, doctors discovered a tumour during a routine scan. The prognosis was positive, but the anxiety that accompanied the diagnosis was incredibly difficult to navigate.
I felt this urge to document what I was experiencing through music, but at the same time, I didn’t want to begin recording before my final hospital examination; not until I knew for certain I was going to be okay. On October 16th 2016, after five long years of regular CT scans, x-rays and blood samples, I left department 50 11 for the last time.
I wanted to document the gamut of feelings – both light and dark – using these long instrumental compositions as the narrative, and the track titles as a cronological guideline. The album chronicles a journey from discovery of the tumour, to the operation and frequent examinations; from feeling a beacon of love and light in the birth of my son (in the same hospital), to finally leaving that waiting room for the last time.
The project has been a therapeutic way of me processing the diagnosis, the constant fear of relapse and the light in being healed. Throughout the process I used the music to fall asleep to — and as a sonic space to meditate in and contemplate my journey. My hope is that others; healthy, ill or next of kin, will be able to use ‘The Fifty Eleven Project’ in that same way.”
The base of the album was composed on vintage analogue synthesizers, reverbs, echo and sequencers – using the computer solely as a recording device – by Kasper and synth wizard Claus Norreen, in the latter’s Copenhagen studio. The violins, violas and cellos are composed and played by the Italian composer Davide Rossi, who has also worked with Ennio Morricone, Jon Hopkins, Röyksopp, The Verve and Goldfrapp. The piano parts are composed and played by Danish musician Jakob Littauer (of Kompakt labelmates Jatoma) on an old upright piano in a studio, and on a Steinway Grand Piano in the concert hall at the Royal Danish Music Conservatorium.”