Cover Music

Over three pieces by The Velvet Underground, Robert Ashley and Jenny Hval, and through a selection of record covers, this listening session with Kyrre Laastad & Martin Palmer will unfold the background- foreground relations that construct the complexity of an album: cover aesthetics, lyrics, volume, and modes of narration emerging between sounds, meaning and overtones.  (Images are linked to sound and lecture excerpts!)


Intro: Change and Adaption

A short history of making music available or not taking things for granted




Music and a voice telling a story on two different channels

The Velvet Underground: The Gift (1968)


The idea came to him on the Thursday before the Mummers' Parade was scheduled
to appear. He'd just finished mowing and etching the Edelsons lawn for a dollar
fifty and had checked the mailbox to see if there was at least a word from
Marsha. There was nothing but a circular from the Amalgamated Aluminum Company
of America inquiring into his awing needs. At least they cared enough to write.


It was a New York company. You could go anywhere in the mails. Then it struck
him. He didn't have enough money to go to Wisconsin in the accepted fashion,
true, but why not mail himself? It was absurdly simple. He would ship himself
parcel post, special delivery. The next day Waldo went to the supermarket to
purchase the necessary equipment. He bought masking tape, a staple gun and a
medium sized cardboard box just right for a person of his build. He judged that
with a minimum of jostling he could ride quite comfortably. A few airholes,
some water, perhaps some midnight snacks, and it would probably be as good as
going tourist.


Cover Art

The many shades of a black album cover (what does it even mean to make an album?)



Layering a World

Robert Ashley: The Gift (1977)

He took himself seriously
Motel rooms had lost their punch for him
He opened all his bags
There were two and inside those two, there were two more
It's not an easy situation
But there was something like abandon in the air
There was something like the feeling
Of the idea of silk scarves in the air
There was a kind of madness to it
The kind we read about in magazines




A monolog and a dialogue

Jenny Hval: The practice of love (2019)

Ok. Page 2? Yeah. As I inhale, as I inhale, as I inhale and feel my lungs fill up with black breath to exhale, what comes out is: I wanted to write to you about love. I hate "love" in my own language. It contains the entire word "honesty" inside it, which makes it sound religious, protestant, hierarchic, purified. The word "love" comes in the way of love, and makes me want to say sorry. I say sorry with black breath, black letters staining the air around me, the walls of the house, the bed, the desk. Maybe "sorry" is the closest I ever got to expressing love. In my bed, honesty is lying on top of love, sucking the blood out of it, occupying it. What's left is a little corpse. I hope I don't laugh when I read this. Remember when I started saying "of corpse"? Hahaha! Every time I wanted to agree on something... 


This is so funny. Remember when I started saying "of corpse" every time I wanted to agree on something? I was inserting a little slice of death with my agreement. Whether it was coming out of my parents, coming out with my parents for a boat trip, or agreeing that a boy was cute. Corpse will definitely be sitting inside the world for love. Is that how you pronounce it? 'Cause I've heard so many pronounce... Um-umbilical? This is very visual, I have a thousand placentas, they are all burnt, language doesn't fit, community, affinity, togetherness, the words don't work, or they are blackened, of corpse. So, what about you and I? For you, I feel a closeness that I can only explain as love, the unknown, the black hole. I was going to say "chaos", but I say "the unknown" because I don't know where uncommon ideas and thoughts come from. Because I don't know where are common ideas? Do you have to say common? Um, is it ok to say, "But I say that wrong because I don't know where ideas and thoughts come from"? Yeah .. (Jenny Hval lyrics, The practice of love)

Fe-mail (Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje & Hild Sofie Tafjord): A Merry Day in the Woods (2003)


“Out of Norway comes the most exciting noise LP I’ve heard to date. These two women romp thru stimulating noise compositions fresh and clean w/ a distinct Scandinavian frost. But there’s always an undercurrent of warm embrace, sweet and masterful.” (Thurston Moore on