Tara Pattenden tour diary

A mystery tour of experimental electronics in Denmark

Tara Pattenden / Phantom Chips by Louise Brady

“We will treat you like a rock star”

I met the Goodie pal (goodie, Parl, gp) at Tectonics Glasgow 2015. He was there giving an almost continual performance. I was there as I had made a custom instrument for Hockyfrilla. We met through mutual friends and he came to visit Bristol (where I was based at the time) after the festival. We’ve kept in touch and he invited me to perform with his band at Oto in December last year and again at Supernormal festival this year. I’m now a member of the band (when I am around). Goodie proposed that I come over to Denmark for a tour. We arranged the dates and that was really all that I knew. Goodie likes to be mysterious and all I was told was “we will treat you like a rock star, very very little money but great great time and a lot of synthesizer talk and a gig every night”. And that’s really all I knew, I found a few of the gigs on Facebook but mostly I was going to just see what happened…

15 October Copenhagen

I arrived into Copenhagen early and met Nynne and Goodie at the Norreport Station. We walked to Nynne’s flat. I hadn’t slept much for days due to packing and travelling and Copenhagen was an unreal haze. Nynne had work and meetings so after I dropped off my belongings Goodie and I walked to the Jazzhouse where we met Roc who was playing as Evol there later that night. Hung about and chatted, Goodie and Roc had a meeting about their next release while I had a look around the centre. We went back to Nynne’s for dinner and then back out to the Jazzhouse for the show. I really enjoyed Evol’s set - with a synchronised laser show. Moving around in the space changed the shape and effect of the laser.

16 October Svendborg

I met Nynne and Goodiepal at Nørreport Station in Copenhagen and we caught the train to Svendborg where we were met by Jon Dræby Nielsen. He brought us to Maskinen for dinner. Maskinen is a collective run venue in Svendborg that has been active since the 90s but not where we were playing that night. We were performing in a newly opened art space in an industrial building at the harbour. The harbour area in Svendborg was largely occupied by arts and creative spaces. There was an abstract expressionist exhibition on at the gallery and we set up in the middle of the room. We played a set with the random tone generator setting the pace and goodiepal as band leader, theorising about music and tempo while barking our names when it was our turn to make sound. After the show we went back to Maskinen and chatted with Jon and Matthias. Goodie and Nynne realised they left important things in Copenhagen so they rushed off to catch the last train and I spent the night at Maskinen.


17 October Oure

I spent the day looking around Svendborg which is a ridiculously cute city, old and wonky with decorated doors and railings. I visited a church which had a discordant organ playing and ships hanging from the ceiling. Bought some gloves and an ear cover.

At 15:30 I met Goodiepal at the station then realised I left my bra at Maskinen. Goodie rode there to try and find it but none was about so he couldn’t get in. I read a Danish zine about electronic music and we chatted about this. Our next stop was Oure where we were playing in a performing arts high school. Christian, one of the teachers at the school met us and we joined him and the students for dinner. The show was planned to be in the bar but after seeing the rehearsal rooms at the school we decided everyone crammed into a small space would be better for the gig. We started in the bar and Goodiepal chatted to the students then we all walked walked over to the rehearsal room. More chat from Goodie while he played lounge music. I introduced my instruments, explaining how they worked before getting the kids to join me in playing them. Goodie moved to the adjoining room and the audience moved between both rooms. It was a mix of performing jamming and education. I was asked lots of questions as the idea of noise and unstructured sounds was new to most students. After almost two hours we moved back to the bar and listened to the bird songs tape through my tape step sequencer.


18 October Aarhus

At breakfast we decided to hitchhike to Aarhus instead of taking the train. It’s only 120km away and brings a little adventure to the trip. It took only 4 minutes for our first lift from a burmese man who lived in the area. The countryside is beautifully autumnal. Lakes, fields, and forests with a smattering of old brick farmhouses. Apple trees growing on the side of the road provided snacks. We made good time to Aarhus with four lifts in total. In Aarhus we were met by Poul, a friend of Goodiepal’s who played in Denmark’s first metal band Daisy. We ate falafel then visited GP’s mum and grandma and had tea and biscuits.


We went to the university where the Anarkististisk Synth Mode was happening and set up. I gave a demo of my instruments and everyone played around on them. It was interesting to see how different people made the instruments sound different. Poul could only make bassy sounds as he was not drinking enough water. We got him to wet his hands a little and it made a huge difference in the range of pitches he could play. Parl gave a talk about the internet of shit and the idea of crapularity.

Arhus students

19 October Aalborg

Another 6am start! I met goodie at the station and we met the rest of the band on the train. They’d travelled from Copenhagen that morning. In the band this time was Rasmus Kjærgård Lund on tuba, Daniel S Bøtcher playing synths, Nynne Pederson with a Lerango Drone (I’m so proud to see something I’ve made in use!) and Oliver Laumann on percussion. Once in Aalborg we headed to Kunsthal Nord for the Live Art for Børn (children) festival. We were there to make music with the kids and we started by using one of my circuits to create sound via body contact. We got the kids to hold hands in a circle to complete the circuit and played different games, hi-fiving to create sound.


We also performed some animated notations together. Animated notations use visuals to instruct performers. It’s a really fun way to make music. For example in spooky spiral, there are two coloured shapes and a spiral. I am the red square. When the spiral touches the red square I make a sound and stop when it’s not touching. http://animatednotation.blogspot.nl/
We finished at 15:00 and went to 1000 Fynd where we had a show in their cinema space also performing animated notation with goodiepal doing some lectures. It was all in Danish so I didn’t know exactly what was going on but everyone was laughing.

20 October Aalborg

We started the second day at the Live Art festival with Oliver and Rasmus running a workshop, getting the kids to dance about to control our sound. A child would stand in front of Rasmus, Nynne or myself and move their arms and we’d react with sound. The kids were fairly shy at the start. More kids turned up and we performed more animated notations, this time using clapping and stomping which the kids really loved. We then had another gig in the main space at 1000Fynd. This time we performed as a big band/modular band responding to goodie’s instructions as he chatted to the audience. It was a really good show, the club environment was a good setting. We played well and the audience had fun. The show finished with some games of Stop Dance. Oliver and Rasmus provided the music. At midnight it was Rasmus’ birthday and the whole bar sung him happy birthday. The danish birthday song is completely different to the english one. We went out to a bar to celebrate.


21 October Aalborg

We have the day off today. We all went out for breakfast and Rasmus and I continued his birthday celebrations with a bubble brunch - Sparkling wine and a massive crazy mix of salads and fruit. Nynne, Parl, and Oliver caught the train back to Copenhagen as Nynne had to work. Rasmus went to meet his family and I looked around Aalborg. Daniel and I caught the evening train back to Copenhagen.

Champagne breakfast

22 October Copenhagen

Also a day off today. I met up with my old Finnish friend Mace who is studying in Copenhagen. In the evening I went back to Daniels and had some food at his neighbours house. On entry I was handed a megaphone and told to make beats for Jan and Daniel’s song. After some food, poetry/yelling, and dancing we went to the gay house at Christiania to see Daniel’s husband perform. We just missed his show which was such a shame as the room was decorated so well and their costumes were amazing Leigh Bowery-esque white dresses and headwear.


23 October Copenhagen

It was quite hard to get up today. I arrived at the Jazzhouse at noon for the Anarkistic Synth Rally and set up my equipment. There were several tables for people to set up their gear which included an Oscar synth that was repainted in orange by it’s owner, Simon steffensen’s midi hacked instruments, and Goodiepal’s EMS suitcase synth. We ran our equipment through the EMS synth and spent the day playing around with the sounds and showing people the different equipment.

Synth meet Copenhagen

At 8pm it was time for my last GP and PLS show of the tour. We were a larger band, this time consisting of Nynne Pederson, Sif Pederson, Oliver Laumann, Sara N Rosendal, Daniel S Bøcher and myself. Goodie opened with a short reading from Andrew Mackenzie’s book “”””” about equipment dictating the sound and providing a framework for music. And how the makers of those frameworks aren’t generally people who make music or will use the instrument that they make. He then talked about influence in creating music and how trying to sound like someone you like doesn’t work. He then switched to Danish for most of the show and we went around in a circle being a group synthesizer. This time we had Sara on the EMS synth, Daniel playing synths (I forget which ones!) Nynne playing Lerango Drone and a switch box, Sif playing a sampler and switch box and Oliver on the piano. This was a much more chaotic concert than Aalborg but lots of fun. We went for a goodbye dinner at indian buffet. I fly out tomorrow. I’ll be joining Goodiepal and Pals again at Christmas in the UK, performing on the 22nd of December at Colchester Arts Centre, Cafe Oto on the 23rd and hopefully in Glasgow on the 24th at a venue to be confirmed.

  • For more on Tara / Phantom Chips and the instruments she makes, read our interview.