By now Kasper Bjørke has built a long, impressive back catalogue these past fifteen years, while continuing to push forward, exploring new territory—both as a solo artist, in various studio collaborations, and as a remixer and as a DJ. On his acclaimed fourth solo album After Forever (2014) Kasper created a new take on contemporary, melancholic synth pop, merging his productions into a multi coloured soundscape with echoes from Post Disco/Punk, Kraut and New Wave. It was a step away from the disco and house sound, that brought him into making music in the late 1990s. The full remix version of the album, After Forever Revisited (2015) included luminary interpretations—where especially the Michael Mayer remix grew into a proper club anthem.
Kasper then released a club workout of his own, Fountain of Youth (2016), a seven track mini-LP which was accompanied by remixes from Weval, Gerd Janson, Marvin & Guy, Multi Culti, Thomas Von Party and Marc Pinol. In 2017 Abstraxion and Kasper Bjorke teamed up for their second collaboration, the EP Matin / Nuit, and Kasper also co-produced another EP, entitled Black Magic together with French artist Colder, released on New York label Throne of Blood, along with remixes by The Golden Filter, Mutado Pintado (Paranoid London) and Pilooski.
Simultaneously though, Kasper was working on something entirely different, which would turn out to be a milestone in his career. The ambient album, The Fifty Eleven Project (released on Kompakt Records in October 2018) is a two hour long completely beat-less ambient voyage. Credited as the efforts of a quartet, since Kasper recorded and composed the 100% analogue album together with his musician friends Claus Norreen (Synthesisers), Jakob Littauer (Piano) and Davide Rossi (violin, viola and cello). The album was highlighted as number five on ‘The 10 Best Contemporary Albums of 2018’ in The Guardian and on ‘Best of 2018’ lists on i-D Magazine and XL8R, while Musik Week named it “A shimmering, nocturnal masterpiece” and Uncut wrote “sketch lines between the modern chamber music of Ólafur Arnalds and the collapsed-star ambience of early Tangerine Dream”.
I made this piece during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic during lockdown. I spend a lot of time in the countryside of Denmark with my family—right by the ocean, in the summerhouse, and this is where I recorded the music. It is actually the only piece of music I worked on during that time and somehow stands as a personal diary of those months in isolation. I tried to let the composition evolve in a natural flow, from airy soundscapes and field recordings, mixed with classical elements, which then around half way turn into a repetitive, hypnotic structure that draws on techno patterns and influences. The title The Beast. The Tree. The Man. comes from a famous quote by the native Indian chief Seattle (1786–1866), who was speaking about the symbiotic relationship between nature, man and wildlife…something to think about during the climate crisis, “All things share the same breath—the beast, the tree, the man. The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports”.
I use deep listening and in particular ambient music in my daily life as a way to calm down, as a de-stress tool and to contemplate or spark creativity…even while running. I have no doubt that ambient music has a healing effect on the mind and can really help in dealing with anxiety, which I also have done in the past.