Åke Parmerud / Ella Hillbäck, Göran Sonnevi


Närheter is my first ever commission as a composer. The Swedish Radio asked me to make a text-sound composition so I decided to quit my job at the university and become a full time composer. You have to be young a or crazy or very brave to do that kind of thing but it worked for me… The piece is a sequence of musical images portraying a trip through a landscape of voices an sounds. My idea was to try to create a feeling of the listener seated in an imaginary train looking out at a passing dreamy landscape having these voices creeping into his/her mind. I used some poetic material from two fantastic Swedish poets, Ella Hillbäck (Tolv blickar på verkligheten (12 Looks at Reality)) and Göran Sonnevi (Det omöjliga (The Impossible)). Not having a big budget at hand I asked my friends to do the reading for me although no professional actors. But they did a good work at it and I also had the Göteborgs Kammarkör (Gothenburg Chamber Choir) to sing a bit for which I am grateful for. I also managed to get in touch with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm where they had a vocoder (for scientific purposes) that they kindly let me use. In fact the piece starts off with a rather long introduction using just the vocoder and some post-processing. It took me a full nine months to make the piece and I probably made at least one thousand tape splices to put it all together on a number of tape reels. This was later transferred to a 16-track tape recorder that the radio had in one of their new (at the time) studios.

Närheter [Proximities] was awarded the 1st prize in the Programme Music Category of the 6th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition 1978 (France).


  • May 3, 1978, Concert, Sveriges Radio — Stockholm, Sweden