Petri Kuljuntausta is a composer, musician, sound artist and author of three books on electronic music and sound art. Since 1990's he has belonged to a new generation of composers in Finland interested in experimental and electronic music.
Kuljuntausta has composed digital music for experimental films, video art, visual art and dance projects, and made media and sound installations in museums, galleries and concert halls. His works has been performed in many European countries, Australia, Mexico and the USA, and he has made recordings for various labels in Australia, Colombia, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Sweden and the USA. In 2004 Star's End and Inner Space radio shows selected Kuljuntausta's Momentum as one of the most significant CD releases of the year. In 2005 he won an award, The Finnish State Prize for Art, from the Finnish government as a distinguished national artist. NPS, the Nederlandse Programma Stichting (Dutch broadcasting foundation), and Yleisradio (Finnish Broadcasting Company) has produced extensive artistic profiles on Kuljuntausta.
Petri Kuljuntausta is famous for music composed of sounds both natural and extraordinary. In close collaboration with natural scientists, he has composed underwater installations from underwater materials and made music out of whale calls and the sounds of the Northern Lights. In many ways Kuljuntausta's art is based on good knowledge of tradition. Environmental sounds, live electronic music, improvisation and collaborations with Media Artists has influenced him as a composer.
One of his many challenging composition projects is Northern Lights Live, which is based on soundscapes of the Northern Lights and audio feedback. The work was commissioned by the ISEA2004 (Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts) festival, 12th Symposium on Electronic Arts. Northern Lights Live is a vivid collaboration in the field between art and science, recycling original nature recordings of the phenomena as well as processed aurora borealis sounds. A forty-five minute long continuous audio-visual dialogue between nature's own soundscapes and their digitally altered, urban noise-art substitutes were created on stage. In collaboration with zoomusicologist Dario Martinelli, Kuljuntausta released in 2008 a CD entitled Zoosphere. A Musical Encryptation of Animal Sounds, which is entirely based on animal sounds, like the sounds of birds, whales, wolves, shrimps. Kuljuntausta has also composed extensive body of works in the style of Minimalist music. Since mid-1990s he has developed new composition technique based on Phasing. Repetitive music could be heard especially in his film and video soundtracks.
In collaboration with visual artist and experimental film director Sami van Ingen Kuljuntausta has created media installations where the energy of light waves reveal audible sounds (Wave Motion), and the sound waves in water reveal moving light figures with the help of laser beams (Waves & Patterns). Soundscapes and environmental sounds are often present in his works. Another distinctive character in his music is the use of feedback noise. Kuljuntausta has developed his own electronic system to generate and control feedback sounds live.
The most extreme musical environment for Kuljuntausta's music is Saturn's moon Titan. When Cassini-Huygens spacecraft (Titan-IVB/Centaur) started its journey in 1997 from Kennedy Space Center, United States, his composition Charm of Sound was inside the Huygens probe of Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, stored on the CD-rom. When Huygens probe reached its destination on Friday January 14, 2005, Kuljuntausta's Charm of Sound landed on the ground of Titan after travelling seven years and four billion kilometres through Space.
Kuljuntausta has collaborated with composers and artists Morton Subotnick, Atau Tanaka, Richard Lerman, David Rothenberg, Robert Jürjendal, Markus Reuter, Pat Mastelotto, Chris Mann, Jim Nollman, Dario Martinelli, Al Margolis (If, Bwana), Helmut Lemke, Ocean-North, Juhani Liimatainen, Juhani Nuorvala, Hepa Halme, Jukka Orma, Markku Veijonsuo, Markus Fagerudd, Rihmasto, John Richardson, and VJ group Random Doctors, and he has produced and coordinated many album projects since late-1990s. In 2011 Kuljuntausta composed soundtrack for the film Five Fragments of the Extinct Empathy (directed by Anna Nykyri), the film was selected as the Best Short Documentary 2012 at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Toronto. Two years earlier, in 2009, Kuljuntausta composed soundtrack for the film Water Cities (directed by Jaana Puhakka) which won the first prize at III. Istanbul International Architecture and Urban Films Festival in Istanbul, Turkey. He has also composed music for the films Texas Scramble, The Blow, Days, and Navigator, all directed by Sami van Ingen.
Kuljuntausta is the author of an 800 page history of Finnish electronic music, On/Off. Eetteriäänistä sähkömusiikkiin (On/Off. From Ether Sounds To Electronic Music) (Kiasma and Like Publishing). With the book was released a CD compilation (compiled, restored and produced by Kuljuntausta), which contains the first Finnish electronic compositions from the years 1958-1963 first time on the CD.
In 2006 Kuljuntausta published his second book, Äänen eXtreme (eXtreme Sound) (Like Publishing), on his own approach to music and sound. Together with the book was released a DVD, which was simply entitled as Petri Kuljuntausta (also known as 1994-2005, referring to the composition period of the disc), which contains almost nine hours of electronic music and sound works (42 works) composed and performed by Kuljuntausta. His third book, First Wave (Like Publishing), on Finnish electronic music was published in English in 2008.
Kuljuntausta is the founder of Charm of Sound association (Äänen Lumo), established in 1995 to support electronic music, experimental music and sound art, and the Finnish Society for Acoustic Ecology which was founded in 1999. Kuljuntausta was the founder and main editor of "..." ezine (electronic magazine, 1997–2001) and he also founded Charmlist emailing-list in 2001, both focused on distributing information on the activities on electronic music and sound art.
During 1997-2005 Kuljuntausta produced a radio programme on electroacoustic music and sound art entitled Charmed Sounds (Lumottuja ääniä) for Yleisradio, Finnish Broadcasting Company. In 2000 Kuljuntausta worked at City University London, Department of Music / Composition (Electroacoustic), as a Visiting Scholar. During the visit he composed soundscape music from the sounds of London City. One of these works, Vroom!!, was released on Hearing Place (Sound Art Exploring Place from Around the World), a CD published by Australian label Move Records.
In 2005 Kuljuntausta produced internet (media) albums of Atau Tanaka, Richard Lerman, If, Bwana (Al Margolis) and Petri Kuljuntausta for Aureobel internet publishing company. Since its start the label has worked as a distribution channel for experimental music and sound art. In 2008 Kuljuntausta worked as an artistic director of the Nightingala festival and invited composers and performers to create music from nightingale song. In 2009 Science Centre Heureka commissioned Kuljuntausta to compose 20th Anniversary Music for the Science Centre. The original opening music of Heureka was composed by Einojuhani Rautavaara in 1989. In 2012 Aalto university commissioned a work from Kuljuntausta for the university's opening ceremony. Kuljuntausta lecturers regularly on Sonic Art, Electronic Music, and Soundscape Art at the University of Art and Design Helsinki and Theatre Academy (Finland).http://www.aureobel.com/petrikuljuntausta Organised Sound nr 8, 2003 (Review) International Who's Who in Classical Music 2003 Ministry of Education Composite News Bulletin - November 2005, Ministry of Education http://www.aureobel.com Petri Kuljuntausta: Feedback As a Performance Tool in Live Digital Music (article on Noise City album) Une musique de Titan - MacMusic Music for Titan - MacMusic http://www.like.fi http://www.aureobel.com/dvd-tracklist.html http://www.akueko.com/ http://www.charmofsound.org/ Petriear Blogspot Hearing Place, Move Records MD3275 Science Centre Heureka University of Art and Design Helsinki Theatre Academy Helsinki
Concerts, Performances (selected)
International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2014Avant Festival (Sweden), 2013 Helicotrema (Italy)Visiones Sonoras festival (Mexico)Insomnia Festival (Tromsø, Norway)ISEA 2004 festivalEXPO 2005 World Fair (Aiichi Japan)Ars Electronica festival (‘Rivers & Bridges’, Linz) Festival di Musica Acousmatica (Cagliari, Italy)Jauna Muzika festival (Vilnius, Lithuania)Futura festival (France)Synthese festival (Bourges, France) Electric Rainbow Coalition Festival (USA)Eclectica festival (Tartu) 8th Annual Santa Fe International Festival (USA) Música electroacústica de Hoy (Argentina) Festival Internacional de Musica de Cadiz (Cadiz Spain)Musica Nova (Helsinki Finland)Avanto festival (Finland)Tampere Biennale (Finland)Finnish National Gallery (Helsinki)Kiasma Museum (Helsinki)Helsinki Sound 2001 (Finland) View (Finland)
Sound Galleries, Exhibitions (selected)
Chapman Gallery / University of Salford (Manchester, UK)Hearing Place (Melbourne)Fondazione Nicola Trussardi (Milan, Italy)Three Rivers Arts Festival / SoundscapePGH (USA)Collage Jukebox (touring sound exhibition) Festival le Bruit de la Neige (Annecy France)Video Positive (Liverpool)Helsinki Kunsthalle (Helsinki)Helsinki City Art MuseumArt Fair Suomi 09 (Cable Factory Finland)Korjaamo gallery (Helsinki) MuuTen (MUU festival) Pipe Hall gallery (Finland)Lusto MuseumTampere Hall (Winter Garden)Forum Box gallery (Helsinki) Galleri Leena Kuumola (Helsinki)
Radio Broadcasts, Profiles, Projects (selected)
Folio (The Netherlands)Electric Storm (Canada)Quiet Space / ABC (Australia)Fieldwork 2SER 107FM (Australia) Crossover: Sound HR2 (Germany)Foldover WOBC 91.5FM (USA)Resonance 104.4 FM (London)Star's End (USA)Inner Space (Zagreb)Borderline Freien Radio Kassel (Germany)Difficult Listening (Australia)NPS-4FM/Muzikale Delicatessen (The Netherlands)Acoustic Frontiers (Canada)Springel & Zabrinsky (Brazil)Feedback Monitor (Canada)Kalvos & Damian (USA)Ström / SR (Sweden)Estonian Radio (Estonia)Yleisradio (Finland)
Net projects, Netcasts (selected)
Sound Box 1.0 (Kiasma Museum)Sound Box 2.0 (Kiasma Museum)Sound Calendar (Austria & Canada)Le Train Fantôme (France)ARS01 / Arsradio (Kiasma Museum)Ääniradio 1 & 2 (Sibelius Academy, Finland)Audio Autographs (Finland)art@radio (USA)Elektra (France)Radio Internationale Stadt (Germany)