Archive for February, 2013

Photo exhibition opens in London

Stian Andersen and Magne Furuholmen at Strand Gallery in London, 27 February 2013

Stian and Magne at the opening
(Photo by Rachel)

Stian Andersen’s exhibition of a-ha photos opened at the Strand Gallery in London last night. In addition to Stian himself, Magne also made an appearance. Music was provided by harpist Erin Hill, who had come over from New York.

A gallery of photos from the opening can be seen at Strand Gallery’s Facebook page, and the UK edition of Huffington Post has an interview with Magne about Stian’s photos.

“They’ve revealed a feeling of unity that you don’t really think about in terms of the band, and that was a positive feeling that came out of it… I wrote in the preface to the book that I think it’s captured something we all felt was like being there, it had that authenticity, feeling of recognition. It takes a lot for us to agree on anything, and we all really liked the outcome of his work”, Magne says.

The exhibition at the Strand Gallery is open until March 17th.

And if you haven’t already, check out a mini-documentary about the photo book project on Vimeo and a new interview with Stian on

Apparatjik to play in Copenhagen

The cube is coming to Copenhagen

The cube is coming to Copenhagen

Apparatjik will play at the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen on May 3rd, reports.

Last summer the band presented a spectacular show for an audience of 50.000 people at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, but this time they’ll be playing inside the cube.

Tickets are available now, from

In other Magne news, he presented In Transit at Tronsmo bookstore in Oslo last week (February 13th) with his right arm in a sling.

He didn’t say what had happened, but he has previously broken his left arm in three separate snowboard accidents.

Luckily Magne is left-handed, so he had no problems signing the book.

Paul and Lauren contribute to Infuze EP

Eliot Leigh, who works as an engineer in Paul’s studio in SoHo, NY, has his own dubstep project called Infuze. Last November he released his debut EP called Far Away on Smog Records. In a recent interview with house music website Leigh reveals that the vocal melody and lyrics of the title track were written by Paul and Lauren:

The title track of the EP features your own vocals. Was this the first time you’ve sang on one of your own songs? Where’d you get the pipes?

I work really closely in my day job as an engineer with a guy named Paul Waaktaar Savoy. He’s the songwriter/guitarist of the Norwegian band A-Ha. He wrote “Take On Me”, one of the biggest songs of all time. I played him the instrumental of Far Away and he suggested he and his wife Lauren have a go at writing a vocal. He’s got an unbelievable knack for melody and she for lyrics, and I really liked what they came up with, so I went home and demoed it with my own voice with the intention of finding another singer. So many people told me they liked the sound of my vocals that I decided to keep them! To be honest, I sung pretty seriously when I was kid in choirs and stuff, but I hadn’t used my voice in many, many years before this.

Here you can have a listen to the song:

The full 5-track EP, which also includes a radio edit of the same song, is available on iTunes, Beatport and Amazon.

No word yet on Paul’s own projects, but Leigh reportedly came over to Norway to do some work in Paul’s studio in Oslo a few weeks ago…

Songwriting session in Brazil

An update from the website of Swedish writer/producer Peter Kvint (Feb. 10th):

Morten in Brazil, 3 February

Morten in Brazil, February 3rd

“Just got back from two weeks of writing with Morten Harket on the beautiful island of Ilha Grande in Brazil. The monsoon rains and extreme humidity made all my technical equipment break down but even so it was a really creative stay with lots of new songs coming together! Here’s a snapshot of a vocal session featuring mr Harket singing straight into my laptop mic.”

Morten is currently working on the follow-up to Out Of My Hands, which may be released sometime later this year.

Apparatjik Suite opens at The Thief

The so-called Apparatjik Suite, which has been designed by Magne and the other members of Apparatjik, opened at the new luxury hotel The Thief in Oslo on Friday, 8 February. Tini Flaat has posted an instagram photo of Magne, Jonas and Martin at the opening.

“Apparatjik’s music and art, with its creativity and positive madness, appeals to us at The Thief. We let them do whatever they wanted when designing the suite, and the result is impressive”, Marcus Majewski (The Thief executive officer) says.

The suite’s interior includes pixelated carpets, video installations, antlers on the walls and a mirror ball in the bathroom.

“We have created a small corner of the Apparatjik World”, Magne says in a press release. “We wanted to design a room that would make whoever stays here smile and shake their heads at the same time. One thing that the members of Apparatjik have in common is that we have all used a disproportionate amount of our lives staying in hotel rooms. With the Apparatjik Suite at The Thief, our starting point was that it isn’t necessarily the hallmark of a good hotel that all the rooms are identical.”

The suite also includes music by Apparatjik and a large selection of their own favorite albums.

“Everyone thinks their personal taste in music is the best in the world, and we’re no exception. We’re also hoping to eventually offer a growing selection of music that you won’t be able to hear anywhere else – maybe some material that hasn’t been released yet, and obscure projects that we feel deserve more attention. In that respect, the Apparatjik Suite is guaranteed to be the radio station with the fewest listeners anywhere in the world. Now, that’s what we call exclusive”, Magne says.

Visitors to the The Thief can also try out Magne’s Climax Cardgame from 2007, of which the hotel has bought 7 of the 20 copies in existence. There will also be a copy of Magne’s new book In Transit in every room.

“There are some hotels around the world that have made a serious effort to create an arena for experiencing art, and when it works it’s a win-win situation”, Magne says.

If you would like a stay in the Apparatjik Suite, the suite is now open for booking on The Thief’s website.

Magne planning opera about Julia Pastrana

Ceremony for Julia Pastrana

Magne Furuholmen, Ute Meta Bauer, Laura Anderson Barbata and Jonas Bjerre standing by Julia Pastrana’s coffin.
Oslo, 7 February 2013.

Magne is now planning an opera based on the tragic story of Julia Pastrana. She was a Mexican woman, born in 1834, who suffered from hypertrichosis, a syndrome that gave her a very unusual appearance.

She would eventually be exhibited at sideshows around the world as “Bearded and Hairy Lady” and “The Apewoman”, until her death in 1860. Bizarrely, her body was then mummified and would continue to be displayed in public for more than one hundred years, until it somehow ended up in storage in Oslo. Now, in 2013, Julia’s remains are finally being returned from Norway to Mexico, where she will have a proper funeral.

Magne has personally gotten involved in the process of returning Julia Pastrana to Mexico. Yesterday he took part in a closed ceremony at Oslo University Hospital, along with Jonas Bjerre, Ute Meta Bauer and Mexican artist Laura Anderson Barbata, where the coffin was formally handed over to Mexican authorities, represented by ambassador Martha Barcena Coqui. The funeral will be held in Sinaloa, Mexico on Tuesday next week.

Julia Pastrana

Julia Pastrana

“The story of Julia Pastrana is one of the most fascinating stories I have ever come across, both as an artist and as a fellow human being”, Magne tells VG.

Together with Laura Anderson Barbata he is now planning to turn Julia Pastrana’s story into an opera:

“We want to make a rich, proud and ambitious production. We’re aware that there’s also a Hollywood movie being planned, but we’re hoping to tell the story in our own way. This is about how society responds to unusual people, how we treat people with handicaps. It’s such a strong story that an opera would be appropriate. It will be a celebration of her”, Magne says.

“Julia Pastrana used to sing opera, so I think it’s a good idea if they make this a worthy tribute to her”, ambassador Barcena Coqui says.

Article in English:
TV report from yesterday’s ceremony: Østlandssendingen

In Transit book launch

In Transit book launch at The Thief

Books on display at The Thief yesterday

The release of In Transit was celebrated with a book launch at The Thief hotel in Oslo yesterday. The publisher Forlaget Press has posted a gallery of photos from the event on Facebook, including Magne in conversation with Ute Meta Bauer and Håkon Harket (head of Forlaget Press).

There have also been a couple of interviews with Magne in the press this week. First in Aftenposten’s paper edition on Monday, which is also available online at And yesterday there was an interview in Dagsavisen, from which I’ve translated a few quotes below:

You’re known as a musician, composer and visual artist, and have now released a book about your art career. How does that feel?

– The book has been in production for a long time, and was supposed to be published in 2010. So it’s a relief that I’ve finally been able to finish it. The problem is that I’ve always had new projects in the works. Each time I came up with a new project, it was also a new addition to the book. Now In Transit is finally ready, as a summary of my career. This is the first book of its kind that has been published.

First? Are you planning more books about your art career?

– He he. Yeah, from now on I’ll put out a new book each year. No, I meant that this is a special book with an overview of most of the stuff I’ve made over the last 20 years. My previous books have been of the “artist book”-type, while this is a book that also includes interpretive essays written by art historians and others.

What are you working on these days?

– I always have various projects in the works. Right now I’m working on an exhibition that will open in London in May, plus a couple of Apparatjik projects. I’m also working on some interesting projects that will combine music and visual arts in new ways for me. I can’t say more at the moment, as we’re having some important meetings about it this week.

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