A Festival Of Underground, Experimental & International Music
April 2021
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Ela Orleans at EMS, Stockholm – Days 14, 15, 16 and 17



The 14th day was my longest day at EMS. It’s fair to say, I overdid it. I over estimated my physical abilities and paid a price for it later. You live and learn… or not. I spent eight hours in Studio 1 editing and cataloging sounds I recorded earlier. Fantastic Olivia Block was having her residency at EMS for a couple of days and she turned out to be not only a great artist but super friendly and helpful person. I was working with GRM and IRCAM plugins, which are phenomenal and fun.


Studio 1’s control board

As I am quite new to Pro Tools I couldn’t figure out how to take advantage of all the possibilities and how to manipulate and play with the effects and register my improvised moves in real time. All engineers were gone and I was sipping my fifteenth coffee in the kitchen area sulking and wondering aloud how brilliant it would be to figure out this now and spend next five hours doing magic. Olivia was there in the kitchen, working on her laptop and offered to show me how to do it. It was quite simple and significantly opened up the window of possibilities. Thank you, Olivia! I had five hours of marvelous madness. At 10, I went to the other side of town – Hägersten, to watch two great electronic acts at Tropiska Föreningen –  Jenny Gräf and completely unknown Henrik Söderström.


Henrik Söderström

At midnight I was back at EMS stealing some precious hours in Buchla room. I was pretty much falling on my face, but after having an early breakfast at 3 AM I managed to pick up and had some quality time with banana jacks and came up with a few patterns, which I have no idea now how to recreate. The notes i made are chaotic and impossible to decipher.

I walked, or rather glided like a ghost through town at 6AM and reached sunny forest in Orhem  at about 7. I woke up at 1PM and cycled to the train station. I was back in EMS again at 2 but the tiredness was larger than me and I had to surrender. I went with my friend Kali Malone for a beer and called it a day. When I came back home, I had a long lie down in sauna and later drafted a few versions of a main movie theme for Boa Pettersson – brilliant clarinetist, who came to EMS the next day. We recorded the first version of the theme for MAN. I set up cardioid condenser microphone stereo set in conference room (can’t remember if it was Schoeps or Neumann) and plugged them to my own sound card and computer. It sounded incredible. Once again I repeated to myself my sad mantra – “how on earth am I going to go back to my studio in Glasgow?”. That may explain why I am using every single possible hour. I have never in my life used time so wisely. I just know, once this is over, it is over and I have to take a maximum advantage of my time here. I got a few great takes of Boa’s playing and we decided that we should meet once again later in the month, once the idea of the theme is more developed with Maja.


Boa Pettersson

The next day – October 17th, was the International Cassette Store Day – a DIY Christmas. I was invited by Gavin Maycroft who runs Oma333 – fab little cassette label, which recently released my mix tape. We are planning a very exciting release together very soon. It was great to have a dip in Stockholm’s impressive and active DIY community. It invigorated my spirits which have been floating rather low around my recent experiences and I am coming back home with a few, good ideas and bunch of copies of my sold out mixtape. I made myself a promise that I will never ever work with anyone who values the cost of PR agency more than the cost of art and labor of an artist. Away with that nonsense.

I wondered what is it that makes the art scene look so fresh and wholesome in Sweden. From the little poster designed with finesse to the structure of art funding and support… it doesn’t seem to be determined by money, but by the attitude.  I toured Sweden three times and now I am working here, and the standards never go down. It’s been always a consistent experience revolving around the same values: respect for art, great taste, preservation of quality and appreciation of detail.


Gavin Maycroft wearing his cassette special shirt

Later in the evening I went to fabulous Cinemateket – The Film Institute, which was founded in 1963 by the Swedish state and the various professional bodies of the film industry. I was invited by one of EMS composers – Matti Bye, who was about to play an improvised soundtrack to two silent movies – “Madame de Thèbes” and “Das Mädchen ohne Vaterland”. For two hours I watched absolutely mesmerizing footage accompanied by phenomenal performance by Matti Bye, who played prepared piano, glockenspiel and electronics.


Cinemateket – The Film Institute

I walked home through the forest. I could feel the winter in my limbs. When i got home, the whiskey was still magically in the bottle in my suitcase. I have been behaving (read: I haven’t have time to misbehave). One tiny glass warmed my thoughts and put me to bed for the obscenely long, six hour sleep.