Also with the same ticket 8 Bits High.

Heikki Lindgren – synth, Esa Ruoho – processing

HLER is a combination of the initials of Heikki Lindgren and Esa Ruoho, illustrating the improvisational collaborative creative process of this ambient drone dynamic duo.

Some four years ago, Heikki found the rare Peruvian synthesiser that he had been searching for, bought it second-hand and began to explore its inner workings. The instrument soon proved to be more interesting than he had realised. It is sometimes almost impossible to predict how it will operate and how its sound will change in any given situation – it literally seems to have a life of its own. Heikki introduced the device to Esa, and they decided to probe its depth in live performance.

Their first rehearsal session gave birth to an approach where they each have a particular job to do. At the beginning of a live set, Heikki plays a tone. Esa records it on a computer and then plays it back through various reverbs and other types of processing suitable for space music. Reversed, right way round, multiple octaves higher or lower. Short snippets, the entire long tone, or something completely different. While this is going on, Heikki has already played another tone, and Esa’s recording–playback–processing loop continues. Finally, both listen to the sound collage thus created and guide it wherever their intuition may lead. Each gig begins with a completely blank slate; the only unchanging elements are HL feeding material to ER and the goal of creating improvised ambient/space music.

“We always manage to surprise ourselves with where we end up,” they say. “We can never replicate anything exactly the same way even if we tried. Even if you just power off the Atomosynth Mochika XL and do not even touch any of the other controls, then when you power it up again, the sound will be different.”

Heikki’s synthesiser is the sound source, and Esa functions as a sort of multieffect/reverb/looping/sampling unit, using whatever software he sees fit and combining the sounds he receives until a new mood, situation or space has been achieved.

“It has been extremely rewarding to work as a duo, because the unpredictability of the process is really refreshing, and no two sessions are alike. We can attempt to repeat individual elements, but they never turn out exactly the same due to the properties of the synthesiser and the intuitive nature of the process that Esa goes through in a live performance. The process is based on improvisation and sound discoveries."

File under: noise, space music, clicks, buzzes, drones, “Hey, this is like listening to Space Junk!”, submarine in a spaceship hangar, “Is everything OK? Should it sound like this?”