Pioneer & Outsider
Rune Lindblad. Photo: Göran Olofsson
Rune Lindblad: Objekt 2. Pogus Productions P21014-2.
Works by Rune Lindblad from 1962 1988.
Musique Concrete was scratched, scraped, howled and pounded last night in the Community Building. The audience consisted of about forty people, amongst which a few visitors voluntarily payed their admission
The works of art then underwent a structural analysis by Mr Epstein. He addressed interesting phenomenon in the noise, according to different ways of acting woodpecker on sheet iron.
Two youngsters were officially pronunced composers. A few whistles and scrapings were percieved as interferences in the tapemachine, but it actually was the first composition, with the literary title Essay
Of course it is embarrasing to recommend a visit to Gotaverken (a ship-yard in Gothenburg), but such a visit would greatly simplify the preparatory work of the noise process.
Those were citations from two reviews; the first by Ake Engfeldt in Goteborgs-Tidningen, and the second by Bjorn Johansson in Goteborgs Handels- och Sjofartstidning (Main newspapers in Southwestern Sweden). They were published on 15 February 1957, as a reaction to the first concert in Sweden with concrete and electronic music, which took place the night before in Gothenburg. The composers presented were Bruno Epstein and Rune Lindblad (1923 1991).
Not so much has changed in the years since. The common audience probably share the same view today about Lindblads music, if by chance they would be confronted with it. The electronic and electroacoustic music, which has won global acclaim within a rather small crowd of enthusiasts, is looked upon by the common music consumer as something alienated and strange, even when it comes to the tidy and polished dilettante electroacoustics of later years, which can easily be achieved by any untalented brat with the right soft- and hardware. It is an important observation that the result naturally is empty and pointless, unless an artist with skills turn the levers. A good pen doesnt produce a better novel. A real artist can write a masterpiece on wrapping paper with a piece of carbon.
There are many works also within the latest electroacoustics and computer music saturated with true craftsmanship and talent, but the spirit of pioneering and discovery, and the special feeling that goes along with those, is gone. It almost seems as if the abundance of digital soundmakers and editing possibilities actually aggrevate the creative process, by all to readily providing smart solutions.
An air of freshness and ingenuity hovers over early works by Bruno Maderna, Luciano Berio, Henri Pousseur, Gottfried Michael Koenig, Herbert Eimert, György Ligeti, Konrad Boehmer, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Henry, Pierre Schaeffer, James Tenney, Alice Shields, Pauline Oliveros, Ramon Sender, Folke Rabe and others. This spirit also rises out of Rune Lindblads music. Right off I can only think of one single modern work that shivers with that same ingenious intensity and curiousness; the monumental Phonia Domestica (1988) by the Swedish occupational therapist Sune Karlsson (1946). This work is so far only available in short excerpts on a home-burned sample CD-R, and it has been heard more officially only once in a Swedish radio-program ten years ago. The sample CD has been aired on a radio station in New Jersey. Sune Karlsson, with improbable energy and stubbornness, set out to record all the sounds he could find in his tiny one-room apartment in Danderyd in northern Stockholm, and he came up with about 12 hours of sound investigations.
Karlsson is an exception in the Swedish music community of today, and surely looked upon as being as odd in Stockholm today as Lindblad was in Gothenburg 1957.
Rune Lindblad, who was an engineer and a painter, and also a single father with a son in the late 1950:s, started his sounding experiments as early as the first years of the 1950:s, without prior knowledge of similar experiments being conducted in France and Germany. He kept on composing against the wind all the years up to his premature death in 1991. He also served as a teacher of electronic composition, and some of the most renowned Swedish composers of electroacoustics have had him as their primary teacher and guru.
The release of phonograms has been sparse, considering that Rune Lindblads output is more than 200 works. A single or EP was released in the early days with a couple of concrete works, but the first LP came in 1975 on the Proprius label, which usually, in those days, issued religious music (PROP 7799). The title was Predestination, and presented a very good sample of Lindblads compositions of the 1970:s. This issue probably is the most important Lindblad issue so far, with weighty works like Termonuklearation (1969), Kontorslandskap (1974) and Glacier (1971). This important LP was embellished with a woodcut by Lindblad on the front cover.
The Gothenburg label Radium 226.05 issued a double LP in 1988 with works by Rune Lindblad, just named Rune Lindblad (RA 040). This release meant a sort of belated breakthrough for Lindblad, who by this was somewhat compensated for the scorn he had endured over the years from more established composers in the Stockholm in-crowd. The same year Lindblad was represented with a spectacular piece on the Phono Suecia labels anthology of Swedish electroacoustics (PS CD 41). At this time, courtesy of Radium, Lindblad was being noticed internationally, and Pogus Productions in New York issued an LP in 1989, with the title Death Of The Moon (Pogus Productions 201-3). The front cover of this LP carries the most heartening of Rune Lindblads woodcuts; Sorg (grief) from 1959. The contents of the LP was later (1997) presented on the Pogus CD Death Of The Moon (Pogus Productions P21011-2), together with some material from the Radium double-LP Rune Lindblad .
In 1993 The Swedish Music Information Center Hire-Library of Electroacoustic Music issued a promotional CD (not commercially circulated), where Lindblad was represented by his work Worship.
In 1998 Pogus Productions has released the rest of the material from the Radium double-LP on a CD called Objekt 2 (Pogus Productions P21014-29). It contains central works like Plasibenpius (1969), the chilling Halften av nagonting (half of something) (1970) and Maskinlandskap (machine landscapes) (1975).
This release should be of interest to those favouring the early electronic idiom, as well as to those who are historically inclined, even though I, who have access to about fifteen hours of unreleased Lindblad works, copied for me by Lindblad himself shortly before his untimely death, would suggest a rather more interesting choice of pieces for a CD. Lets hope that the collected works of Rune Lindblad, now lying dormant at the Institution for Musical Sciences at Gothenburg University, will be made available as a selection in a Lindblad CD-box in the future.
Lindblad also was socially very engaged, and he was deeply worried about the injustices of society. In one of his unreleased pieces; Jag vill hem (I want to go home) (1974), he interviewed an old lady at a nursing home, and rarely is the barren bruteness of society more readily exposed than here.
When Rune Lindblad died in 1991 in a brutal war of attrition against a horrifying rheumatism, one could read the following words by Professor Jan Ling in the obituary:
Rune Lindblad was a richly talented and original artist. He tried to convey his unique knowledge of life and man in sounds and pictures of sharp and clear contours. They mirror his personality of high ethical and aesthetical demands, for him outweighing public acclaim and convenience.