Archive for the ‘Magne’ Category

White Xmas Lies album tracklist

The cover art unwrapped

A press release quoted on Northern Irish music website xsnoize.com has revealed more details about Magne’s upcoming solo album:

“‘White Xmas Lies’ is the third solo album by A-ha co-founder and keyboard player Magne Furuholmen. As the title suggests, it is an album with a different take on Christmas. A melancholic winter album, it consists of fourteen original new songs and two surprising cover versions.”

Although the release date is not mentioned, it will apparently be out on 25 October.

Looking at the full tracklist, the album does include the current single “This Is Now America”, plus what could be a new version of “Differences” (originally recorded by a-ha in 2001) and a cover version of AC/DC’s “Hells Bells”:

  1. There Goes Another Year
  2. The Light We Lost
  3. A Punch-Up On Boxing Day
  4. Caprice Des Dieux
  5. This Is Now America
  6. White Xmas Lies
  7. Differences
  8. Revelation Song
  9. The Season To Be Melancholy
10. Snow Is Falling
11. Dark Days, Dark Nights
12. Hells Bells
13. So Cold It’s Hard To Think
14. A Wintry Silence
15. The Ghost Of Xmas Past
16. Come Back Home

“This is now America” available for streaming/purchase

Single cover

Eight days after posting the song on Instagram, Magne’s new single “This is now America” is now available for streaming and purchase through this link.

Magne has recently signed with Drabant Music, the Oslo-based label that already has Waaktaar & Zoe and Savoy among its roster of artists.

Drabant Music describes “This is now America” as “a single from an upcoming project by Magne Furuholmen”, but it’s not yet clear if this refers to his White Xmas Lies album or something else.

Magne posts new song “This is now America”

Screenshot from Instagram

Magne posted a new solo song called “This is now America” on his Instagram on Thursday, 22 August, along with a home-made lyric video.

The song is a melancholic and poignant look at what America used to be, and what it has become.

In a longer response to one of the Instagram comments, Magne explained some of the background for the song:

“(…) this song is an instinctive artistic response to my own growing concern about our drift towards division and entrenchment – happening all over the place, and on all sides of thinking. if we conclude that the ones who share our opinions are the good guys, and the ones who do not are bad, then we are on a dangerous path.
it could have been written about a great number of places, like my second home great britain, or indeed my native norway…i don’t care much for what is happening here either.
but truth is, what happens in america is just much more important to the world.
(…)
so it came out this way: a lament for an america i think a lot of us are still trying our best to dream about. both inside the country and out.
as an artist i cannot help but express how i feel – about everything around me. this does not mean there is an ambition to push a partiular political agenda, or even advance my own personal views – i am not even sure that i am right half the time. i do however believe in the power of art to open minds – my own as well as those of others.”

Magne’s entire response can be seen here.

The lyric video was directed and edited by Magne’s son Thomas Vincent, with artwork and concept by Magne.

Magne talks new exhibition and solo album

Magne in front of one of his artworks at Notodden

Magne was at Notodden yesterday, where members of the press had been invited to see a preview of his new exhibition IGNIS which opens this Saturday, 1 June.

The exhibition is held at Telemarksgalleriet, a gallery situated in a converted industrial hall from the early 1900s.

“This is my first solo exhibition here, and it’s really exciting to have my art on display in a room like this – an industrial cathedral – with such a fascinating inner structure. It affects how we install the exhibition”, Magne told newspaper Varden (paywall).

Exhibition poster

IGNIS features a variety of new graphic prints and ceramic sculptures, including an expansion of the chess-theme he’s been exploring in the last couple of years. A large dadaistic chessboard has 32 randomly placed sculptures – or chess pieces – where each one represents a city around the world.

Magne says he’s been inspired by chess world champion Magnus Carlsen.

“I have, like everyone else, been following Magnus Carlsen. That’s made him become a part of my works, except on this chessboard it’s impossible to understand the rules and who has the upper hand. After all, chess is a game where the pieces fight for positioning, conquest and domination. I have given the pieces city names, and the sculptures have been influenced by my own personal associations with those cities.”

Among the sculptures are “Moscow”, “Los Angeles”, “Aleppo” and “Berlin”, which could be interpreted politically, but Magne insists that the audience make their own associations when viewing them.

“I want my exhibitions to be an exercise for the brain. But perhaps the main thing about this exhibition is the large number of works that haven’t been on display before”, Magne says.

He was also asked briefly about his upcoming Christmas album White Xmas Lies, which was recorded earlier this year and is scheduled to be released in December.

“Yeah, I’m preparing a Christmas album – a grim and miserable Christmas with Magne Furuholmen”, he says with a grin.

“It will be an alternative to all the polished Christmas albums that are being released.”

There was also an NRK TV report about the exhibition, which is available here.

IGNIS can be seen at Telemarksgalleriet from 1 June – 1 September.

Magne will also be exhibiting at Rana Kunstforening in Mo i Rana this summer, from 20 June – 20 August.

Magne steps down as chairman for Bergen International Festival

Magne was announced as chairman in February 2016

Magne has decided to step down as chairman for Festspillene i Bergen (Bergen International Festival) later this year, Bergens Tidende reports.

Three years ago, the Norwegian Ministry of Culture appointed him chairman for the period 2016 – 2019.

Although he was recently asked to continue for another three-year period, Magne has decided not to continue because other projects – including a-ha – will take up much of his time going forward.

“It was very flattering being asked to continue as chairman, but it’s true that I won’t be running for re-election for the next period”, Magne tells Bergens Tidende.

There was some initial criticism when Magne first got the position, but that has since largely dissipated.

“The work I’ve done as chairman should be up to others to consider, but I feel we have managed to successfully work our way through a period that started out quite turbulently – and we’re delighted that there’s a positive development and increasing enthusiasm for the festival in general”, Magne says.

Bergens Tidende mentions that the success of “Take On Me” being used in a number of big Hollywood movies over the last few years, means that it’s in the cards that a-ha will be shifting their focus to the USA in 2020.

According to a recent Dagbladet article, the upcoming Hunting High and Low Tour has been extended into a world tour, and a-ha will be doing various legs of the tour throughout next year, up until Christmas 2020.

Magne working on new solo album

Left to right: Thomas Vincent Furuholmen, Even Ormestad, Morten Qvenild, Tor Einar Jensen, Bjarne Stensli and Magne F. (See large version on Karl Oluf’s Instagram)

Magne has been up in the mountains at Norefjell this past week, to work on what seems to be a new solo album. Norefjell is an area where he owns two cabins, and it looks like he may have converted one of them into a recording studio.

He was joined by the whole a-ha backing band from last year’s Electric Summer tour, including the string trio, the only difference being that Ingvild Nesdal Sandnes played the cello instead of Tove Margrethe Erikstad. Magne’s son Thomas Vincent was also there, along with Magne’s ever-present assistant Tor Einar Jensen.

“It’s new Magne F Music. Really good songs!”, Karl Oluf Wennerberg said in an Instagram comment.

According to a Facebook post by catering firm Food Occasion, which delivered food to the recording session, Magne’s solo album will be released sometime in 2020.

Sound engineer Bjarne Stensli was also part of the recording session. He is the former drummer of Harrys Gym, whose original debut album was co-produced by Magne at Kensaltown back in 2006/07 (that version of the album ended up being shelved, as the band re-recorded the whole album themselves).

Several pictures from the recording session at Norefjell have been posted on Instagram by Karl Oluf Wennerberg, Madeleine Ossum and Emilie Heldal Lidsheim.

Magne in 55pluss magazine

Magazine cover

Magne is on the cover of the latest issue of 55pluss, a Norwegian magazine for – you guessed it – people over the age of 55.

Inside there is an 8-page interview about his art career, in which he talks about past projects such as “Payne’s Gray” and “Climax”, as well as new series of artworks including “Stigma” (woodcuts), “Spina” (etchings) and “Queen vs Queen” (sculptures).

The interview was done before the opening of his solo exhibition of new works at Bærum Kunstforening on 3 May this year.

A shortened version of the same interview has previously been published by the online art magazine PLNTY.

This summer, in between a-ha concerts, Magne held three further solo exhibitions around Norway:

23 June – 5 August: “Sorgenfrei”, Galleri Jennestad, Sortland
16 August – 16 September: “Stigma”, Galleri Ismene, Trondheim
19 August – 16 September: “Icon”, Haugesund Billedgalleri, Haugesund

Apparatjik events in Sweden and Poland

Exhibition poster

This month marks the 10th anniversary of Apparatjik, as their very first single “Ferreting” was released in September 2008.

Tomorrow a retrospective exhibition of Apparatjik’s various projects over the years, with graphic prints and video installations, will open at Pumphuset gallery in Landskrona, Sweden. The exhibition will also feature new graphic prints, created in collaboration with the New York-based artist Foxito.

Magne, Martin and Jonas was at the gallery yesterday to meet the local press. A picture was posted on Magne’s Instagram and articles later appeared on the websites of Helsingborgs Dagblad and Landskrona Direkt.

The Pumphuset exhibition will be on display until 28 October.

There will also be a retrospective Apparatjik exhibition as part of the MDF Festival in Szczecin, Poland, opening on 19 September:

This exhibition presents a retrospective look at visual works, objects, books and films from the Apparatjik oeuvre. Part of the exhibition is an experimental typographic poster wall by students of Prof. Sven Völker from the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam. Using words and sentences from old newspaper articles about Julia Pastrana, the work creates a fresh portrait of the life and death of an exceptional woman.

And as previously mentioned, Apparatjik will also be performing during the MDF Festival, on Sunday 23 September at the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall.

The first part of the concert is called “The Sound of Szczecin”, and has been created in a partly similar way as “The Sound of Fosnavåg” four years ago, in collaboration with Audiokolor:

This composition is the result of an exceptional project carried out on 17th and 18th April 2018 in Szczecin. The city streets were cruised by specially marked cars equipped with devices collecting geodata from the streets, which were later transformed into binary codes, and these – into music codes. (…) The piece will be performed for the first time during the final of the MUSIC.DESIGN.FORM festival by the Szczecin Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and the synth-pop group Apparatjik. It will be a unique opportunity to hear how Szczecin sounds.

The second part of the concert is called “A Heroine for our time – the artist Julia Pastrana”, and will once again feature special guest Concha Buika on vocals:

“A Heroine for our time – artist Julia Pastrana” is the world premiere of the orchestral version of the song “Heroine of our time”, based on musical material for an upcoming opera detailing the tragic life of Mexican circus artist Julia Pastrana. The story of a peculiar woman with a beard, her fate and loneliness, will be told by music and light images created jointly by Apparatjik, Szczecin Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, as well as Concha Buika – a Spanish vocalist and composer.

A video clip of Rune Bergmann and Magne talking about the upcoming Szczecin performance can be seen here.

The story of Julia Pastrana was also the inspiration for Apparatjik’s “Day of the Dead”-performance with Buika in Bergen two years ago. Buika’s latest single “Deadbeat”, released in June, is a cover version of the Apparatjik song from 2010.

Magne Furuholmen appointed honorary doctor at the University of Agder

Now also an honorary doctor

In connection with its 10th anniversary, the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway, has appointed Magne Furuholmen as one of five new honorary doctors. The recipients are given the honorary doctorates for their “significant scientific or artistic efforts”.

An article on the university website states:

“Magne Furuholmen is one of Norway’s most recognized and versatile artists. He is an innovative and genre-defying artist, and a person that both our staff members and students are inspired by.

With his large international and national network, his wide experience and artistic qualities within several fields of art, he will be a valuable asset for both the University of Agder and our Faculty of Fine Arts.”

When collaborating with the university, Magne will probably be working closely with Karl Oluf Wennerberg, who – in addition to being the drummer for Magne, Apparatjik and a-ha – is an Associate Professor at the Department of Popular Music.

The five honorary doctors will attend the University of Agder’s 10th anniversary celebration at Kilden concert house in Kristiansand on 28 November.

Magne has previously been a guest professor at the The College of Fine Arts in Shanghai, China and is an honorary mentor at the Gutenberg Academy in Germany. He has also hosted workshops at the Hanoi University of Fine Art in Vietnam, at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Germany and at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art in Norway.

In other news, Magne and Queen Sonja were in Aarhus, Denmark on Thursday this week, for the opening of another of their joint Texture exhibitions.

The exhibition at Galerie MøllerWitt in Aarhus received quite a bit of coverage in the Danish press, and here are some links:

DR: Dronning Sonja udstiller med norsk popstjerne
Horsens Folkeblad: Dronningen og popkongen åbnede udstilling i Aarhus
Jyllands-Posten: Norges dronning i fælles kunstprojekt med popmusiker
Lokalavisen Aarhus: Dronningen og A-ha-stjerne viser kunst i Aarhus
Århus Stiftstidende: Rift om Dronning Sonjas kunst
Kongehuset.no: “Texture” i Århus

Magne: “The tour keeps growing”

Magne promises an “electric summer”

When tickets for the a-ha concert in Hamar were released on Tuesday, 8,000 out of 10,000 available tickets were sold within a short time.

“It’s good to hear the tickets are selling well. And it’s nice to be playing somewhere we haven’t been before. Hamar has built a good reputation as a city for concerts, and has had visits from both Sting and Elton John lately. It’s really fun to be a part of establishing and building new, solid venues for people to experience live music”, Magne says in an interview with Hamar Arbeiderblad (paywall).

Although only five summer concerts in Norway have been announced so far, a lot more shows will be added in other countries:

“We’re doing a small unplugged tour in Europe early next year, which has lead to a lot of requests for a summer tour. So we decided to set aside the summer for touring, which has since been extended in both ends. The tour keeps changing and growing from day to day.”

But, as we know, the summer tour will not be unplugged:

“The two concerts [at Giske] formed the basis for the [MTV Unplugged] recording and TV-special, but we’re not sure if we’ll keep touring with that concept. Those are vulnerable instruments that are difficult to bring on tour. It’s a somewhat more demanding format, and with less energy than a fully electric show. We did some pondering if we should continue unplugged, or if we’d celebrate the summer with full power. We’ll be playing a number of football stadium concerts in the UK next summer, which naturally means we’re doing a full ‘electric summer’.”

“We have expanded our backing band for the unplugged tour, and we’ll keep going with a larger band. There will be full power at Hamar. We’re coming to create a good vibe, as best we can”, Magne says.

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