There are people, who are called “human orchestras”. Precisely because they are almost identical to an orchestra or at least to a part of it. Surely, such description in most cases is applicable to musicians, more precisely – to those, who play a not small amount of instruments at once. Here it’s also an orchestra, just the instruments are different. And the combination of them in one person could compete even with variety of colours spectrum.
The direction after the mentioned orchestra – Norway, Oslo. Following this direction and knowing already mentioned “orchestral” goal we will find Kim Hiorthøy, who, with his contribution, occupies music, graphic design, cinematography, even literature. And this is just what is published officially and known for the wishful ones. The success in the mentioned fields provoked such characterizations as „Norwegian wunderkind“ or „one of the most creative people in Norway“. Possibly not without a reason? This time, for discussion, we have two from the four: electronics and graphics by Kim Hiorthøy.
While studying music in Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, Kim‘s interest was focused on graphic design. Work with fanzine publishing and typography of local groups‘ entries began. One of the better known projects in his biography – collaboration with a publishing company “Rune Grammofon” and a rock band Motorpsycho. His other works include interior decorations and even a cinema theater poster. By the way, Kim is also interested in illustration and not just any kind but for children books. At the moment, if he wanted, he could brag about more than fifteen publications, in which his graphical contribution is imprinted. It’s a shame but I didn’t have a chance to see the last illustrations. Knowing that Norway is a country of non – conservative children, we can expect oddity. With no linking to Kim Hiorthøy – just think,what worth is a book about defecation with vivid illustrations.
However, this Norwegian is strictly Norwegian. This phrasing came to me after seeing his geometrical, refined and quite minimalistic pieces for the first time. Well and stably calm, even when the colors are bright. I am not applying this to the majority of the portfolio but, probably, the northern make – up leaves its imprint whether it’s colorful figures or collages of grainy photos. And now he is under an Oslo’s gallery’s STANDARD protective wing, which represents contemporary Norwegian visual art artists. He organized four personal exhibitions, even more collective ones.
When evaluating Kim Hiorthøy as a musician a gap opens up, letting only subjectively foresee and expect the indistinctive. This music does not simply fit in the word electronics. When in artist’s MySpace website it’s introduced with a mystical “melodramatic popular song” term, elsewhere it’s not dispensable without impressive and allegedly universality meaning descriptions, for example, “lo – fi/leftfield electronics, field recordings, electro – acoustic sounds” etc. Possibly, if shortened – an entirety of synthetic, quite strange and maybe even minimalistic sounds and, surely, not far behind from Kim’s graphics’ particular Norwegian flavor. In 2001 this music attracted the attention of “Smalltown Supersound” company. This way the first album “Hei” emerged and a couple of others, not mentioning EP or vinyl records and with that – a certain international recognition followed.
I regard them as very different things, even though the place in my head that decides if something works or not is the same for both (and I guess for anything, in a way). – Kim about the creating processes of graphic design and music.
Nevertheless, the processes often tend to exchange with one another. This way they complement each other with useful and fresh ideas. So, when facing a theoretical dilemma “the knowledge of one field or the priorities versatility?”, a large list of versions come up. Limitedly but almost perfectly or widely taking a serious bite of each? Which sounds better, an orchestra or solo? Let’s leave this question with widely opened windows for everyone to think. With Kim Hiorthøy and in a part maybe not abundantly known Norwegian art.