Six songs from our concert at Hošek Contemporary, Berlin, october 17th, 2023
00:00 Odyssey chapters 1 + 3
06:34 Connect the Dots
14:56 Qivittoq (the fell walker)
31:23 Garden of Exile
Tanja Hollerup: Vocals
Jesper H. Petersen: Bass
Emil Rønning: Electronic devices
Ste van Holm: Chapman Stick & Electronic devices
With special guest: NU Unruh: Percussion on Oscillations
Live sound & recording: Jens Søbæk
Light programming: Mikkel Møller-Larsen
Our short run of concerts came to a conclusion at Hosek Contemporary right in the heart of Berlin. The venue was an old river barge that had been turned into a contemporary exhibition hall and a concert venue for experimental electronic music. The barge was located on the Spree river very close to Alexanderplatz in Mitte, and from the entrance to the venue, there was an unobstructed view of the dome on the tall Fernsehturm. The barge wasn't insulated and the only source of heat was a wood-burning stove, which stood against the wall where the stage and the audience area met.
The night opened with an improvised set by Flemming aka SoundOkapi, who played electric piano and a drummachine that emmitted random notes. SoundOkapi created an atmospheric mood, before it was our turn to get to the stage. It is not the first time there has been a warm-up before one of my concerts, but it has been a very long time since the last time. And I was a bit nervous before SoundOkapi's set, because an opening act can easily create a different energy in the room than the one you're aiming for. But Flemming's electronic sound was perfect. Organic, mystifying and ethereal.
We played a shorter set than the previous two concerts on our tiny tour, and this time we opened with a medley from 'Odyssey' while lasers ablazed the interior of the old barge. I have usually never played anything from my debut album live, as I thought the sound was too far from what I normally play. But on this tour I have focused on the more thoughtful and electronic part of my output, and here Odyssey has fit in nicely.
From there we played a few more instrumentals before Tanja took to the stage, beginning with the song 'Antenna' from the 'Thaw' album. 'Antenna' is a weird song, and it doesn't really work on paper. It starts of with a few minutes of soundscapes and sound collages, before the seemingly random noises makes way for a soft chord sequence and a crystal clear melody line. This kind of music would never have worked with our previous line up.
Just before the end of our show, we were joined on stage by NU Unruh from the band Einstürzende Neubauten.
I cannot overstate how amazing that was.
And since we were in Germany, I felt that I should do the presentations in German. I had written some things I wanted to say between the songs, but there was just the problem that I don't speak German, so everything was written with the help of Google Translate. During the sound check, however, Unruh was kind enough to proofread my text.
Unfortunately, not many had found their way to the venue. But I don't blame them. Despite the very central location, the venue was very hidden, and if I hadn't been looking for it myself, I would have just passed by. So most of the chairs were empty, which brought to mind Pink Floyd live at Pompeii, where the band plays in an empty amphitheater. The people who had found their way to the place, however, got a concert that I hope exceeded their expectations.
Let's see what the future brings from here...
When the Norwegian cadets laid the first granite blocks as a foundation for a cannon position on Christiansø's second highest hill in 1684, they could not possibly have imagined what the tower would house just short of 340 years later.
This is written by Kirsten Th. Jacobsen from Christiansø in a press release about Saturday's multimedia concert, which Ste van Holm was behind. The artist with the civil name Stefan Holm has lived on Christiansø for the past few years.
Store Tårn, which today functions as an art museum and cultural center, was the backdrop for a sound and light show orchestrated by the ensemble Ste van Holm & Friends. For an hour and a half, films were shown on screens set up for the occasion, laser beams formed colorful fans and figures, while this year's art exhibition "The tower in the tower" became an active part of the light show.
- On stage you found five musicians who guided the audience with a sure hand through an electronic sound tapestry, where Tanja Hollerup's voice stood as a solid centre. Behind her was guitar and bass, while she was flanked on either side by an arsenal of electronic devices. Often the musicians only appeared as silhouettes to emphasize that it was the show that was in focus, writes Kirsten Th. Jacobsen.
There was free entry, and already half an hour before the concert was to start, Christiansø Støtteforening had to get more chairs, as significantly more people came than expected.
Kirsten Th. Jacobsen states that all rentals on Christiansø were fully booked in connection with the concert.
- So if you didn't manage to secure accommodation, you have to hope that Ste van Holm & Friends will bring the show to Bornholm. Hereby, a reccomendation has been passed on to the Allinge Dome. Otherwise, there is an opportunity to experience Ste van Holm & Friends when the show plays on a river barge in Berlin in October, she states."
Last night we played at the 350 years old gun tower at Christiansø. It was quite a spectacular evening with guest performances by Anna Richter and Nicolai Olsen.
This was a very special event, for several reasons. First of all, it was the most ambitious concert I have held. The old tower is a very unique room, and cannot be compared to anything else I have played in. The centuries old boulder walls, the massive wooden floor, the slanted glass roof, not to mention that the room is shaped like a donut interrupted only by a lighthouse.
In addition, it is the first time that the tower has housed a show of this caliber. There are several concerts in the tower throughout the year, but these are often with classical repertoire and without amplification. We changed that yesterday.
Another thing that happened for the first time was that I played a home concert. Usually I play far away from where I live and drive off after the concert and therefore don't meet any audience members in the bakery the next morning. But I live only about 150 meters away from the tower, so the crowd was full of friends and neighbors. I have to admit that I found it a little unnerving.
The sound was beautifully engineered by Jens Søbæk.
Thank you to everybody who came!
Next stop Berlin!
Nicolai playing Chapman Stick during 'Flux'
Anna dancing during 'Ouverture'
As a prelude to the concert on Christiansø, Bornholms Tidende has published a short notice about the concert in Gongladen. It's in danish, but here's a translation:
Multimedia show in the tower
Yesterday, Christiansø artist Ste van Holm had premiere of his latest multimedia show in Gongladen in Rødby, and on Saturday 9 September at 8:30 p.m. the work will be performed at a home concert in Store Tårn on Christiansø, says a press release which continues:
The tower will be filled with sound, light and film in a show, that visually resembles Kraftwerk or Jean-Michel Jarre in mini format, while the music has more in common with Mike Oldfield and Pink Floyd.
The concert is organized in collaboration with Christiansø Administration, why there will be free admission.
Ste van Holm is one of the musicians whose name does not resonate with the general population, but whose work you have - with reasonable probability - heard anyway, since the artist has provided music for series of documentaries on DR, such as "When two genders are not enough" and "Panic before closing time" - and helped with the creation of albums with names like Michael Falch, Big Fat Snake, Mike Tramp, F-A-R, Heatherhill and more.
Ste van Holm has also made the films "Traumfestival" and "Die Intonatore" with and about the German industrial pioneers Einstürzende Neubatuen, as well as directed music videos for King Crimsons' Trey Gunn and further released eight solo albums in various genres from progressive rock to pop, disco, ambient and industrial.
Local newspaper, Bornholms Tidende, has a nice feature on me and the forthcoming concert at Store Tårn. It is in danish, but you can read a translation below:
Multimedia artist Stefan Holm has been making music for many years as both a solo artist and in collaboration with major Danish andinternational names. Two years ago he settled on Christiansø, and in September he will make a multimedia show there at the Great Tower, 'Store Tårn'.
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
– Genre confused. I'm not that interested in repeating if I've done something once. That's what keeps me going. To try to challenge myself and walk new paths. It has proven to be a hindrance sometimes, because I find it difficult to maintain an audience. Because when someone has opened their eyes for what I have done, they disappear, because then I do something else. But I won't compromise on that.
What type of art do you do?
- The backbone is being a musician. I have released eight solo albums and at least as many collaborating with others. I love music videos and think it's a fun genre. So I threw myself into that too. But again, it's the music the foundation, and then movies are built on top of that. And when I play concerts, it is the music that forms the core, and then comes the rest of the show building upon that.
What have you done before?
- I have worked for other musicians and supported their work. I have been in Germany and made a documentary film about the band Einstürzende Neubatuen, who were the first in the world to make a crowdfunded album.
I have worked a lot with a Danish musician called Klaus Schønning, who makes instrumental synthesizer music. I've made some music videos to support when he does something new. I also helped design his general visual expressions such as album covers, album concepts and suggestions for titles. I've toured with a band called Entakt, have appeared on a single album with Michael Falch and when Big Fat Snake was around I was involved in some stuff there.
Your stage name is Ste van Holm...
- When I joined a composer's association in the 90s, there were several guitarists named Stefan Holm, so how should they know they got the right one? Then I got a letter from a Dutchman I had been in contact with on the phone who spelled it out Dutch, where they use 'van' as a kind of middle name. And then I laughed at it, because I could take that as a stage name. I took it as a joke at first, but it stuck and now it's the stage name. It's pronounced Stefan Holm, it's just spelled ridiculous. I took it to stand out, but sometimes it has made things difficult. I once did something that resonated with Croatia. There was a Croatian newspaper that wrote about it, and they wrote my real name, which meant that no one could find that I had made.
You are doing a show in Store Tårn. What is it about?
- It is a really nice building, which is a perfect combination of tradition and innovation, recently decorated as art museum with new floor and fine glass roof. There is a strange feeling of something that points both backwards and forwards. I often have thought if you could make a sound and light show there. Someone from the 'Christiansø Støtteforening' association discovered that I do multimedia shows and asked if I would like to do something. So I arrange it in collaboration with them. Inside, the tower will be decorated with images, sound and light for a single evening - on September 9th. I have four video projectors set up. There will be a live band that will perform the music in sync with the images. A lighting technician is coming, there will be a light show, and maybe there will be a laser show. We are looking at what can be done.
Is there a theme to the show?
- A lot of the visuals is about the Arctic and can be seen as a comment on the fact that we have a climate crisis, where the ice is melting, and there is noone who does anything. There will also be some footage from Chernobyl, where I was inside the exclusion zone for a total of four days filming. I like to be discreet with my messages. I show my pictures, and then you have to interpret what you want to interpret. When you see the Arctic melting and a city abandoned due to a nuclear accident, you might be able to make some sense of it, but I don't say it out loud. It is a commentary on decay due to human hubris. And then I try to mix in some hope. But not too much. It's not schlager, I'm going to play. It's a bit bleak.
What do you do when you're not a musician?
- I am a teacher and teach science part-time at Christiansø School. It's the reason I can stay at all at Christiansø, because it is service housing. There is no position over here as a multimedia artist, so I do that in my spare time. I have sometimes been sad that I never had an artistic breakthrough so I could stop working. It is probably the dream of most artists to make a living from it. But it turned out to be a huge advantage during corona, because I had my bills covered elsewhere. So in that way both good and bad.
What education do you have?
- I am a trained primary school teacher with a focus on the natural sciences. I am currently also chairman of the Danish Physics and Chemistry Teachers' Association, where I am the layout designer for their two trade magazines.
Do you have no education in the arts?
- When I started out in the 90s, there was no education within what I wanted to do. Today there is an exciting place, Sonic College, in Kolding, and I'm quite envious of those who study there. I learned it the hard way by being self-taught and by master teaching. I have been employed in a recording studio, where I helped and looked over the shoulder of the sound engineers. And then I toured with the band Entakt, where I was their technician, so I was behind the mixing desk. I learned it on the road.
When did you move to Christiansø? And from where?
- I am from Copenhagen but have lived in North Zealand before I moved to Christiansø in 2021.
And why Christiansø?
- Christiansø is a magical place. So is Bornholm, and I think there are very few Bornholmers who would disagree with me, when I say these are some of the most beautiful places in Denmark. It is a very unique place with a special atmosphere. So when the chance came to get the position at the school, I saw it as a huge one privilege to be allowed to try. And I couldn't allow myself to say no to that.
Here's a short documentary about the origin of the album.