A Rymden Rollercoaster – Annette’s experience of Rymden at Turner Sims

Arts Ambassador Annette takes a trip to Turner Sims to see the incredible supergroup Rymden. Read on to see her unique perspective as a newcomer.

As I entered Turner Sims late Friday evening, I was apprehensive about what to expect from the event, with nothing to relate to as a similar experience from the past. And this was not just any old live piano concert, double bass concert, or drum concert – it was all three at once. This wasn’t just any old musical group, this was the Rymden supergroup , joining three major minds in European music history, as award-winning Norwegian pianist Bugge Wesseltoft joins forces with two friends and innovative forces in European jazz: Magnus Öström and Dan Berglund.

As a newcomer I felt excited to experience the atmosphere so often talked about when being in the audience of a live instrumental event. However with Rymden, as an alternate twist, it seemed that the audience were all in the same boat as newcomers to this completely contemporary music. I instantly felt no different to everyone else in the room, and was able to enjoy the unorthodox beats and rhythms with the freshness and awe of all the other listeners.

Coming into the event with my friend and fellow fine art student, we found an instant generational gap between us and a majority of older music lovers. As a young person, I’ve always been intrigued by the music of the past which has inevitably influenced the music of the present that younger people conventionally enjoy as being the most current.  We find that we mistakenly link generations with genres and rarely, if ever, mix between the two. What I found most exciting was that Rymden started a dialogue between the genres of music in all their broadness, opening up my mind to rhythmic opportunities as a music lover.

As we all settled, we were introduced to a slow bellowing beat of pizzicato double bass (plucking the strings of the instrument) with soft drums and harmonising piano in a soft descent into the beautifully unorthodox world of Rymden’s musical experimentation. As the evening went on and we became more absorbed and curious, Rymden’s sounds transitioned from the more conventional play between instruments, to the more experimental, techno, uncanny and contemporary. Sometimes colliding a heavy and explosive drum solo with deep harmonious rhythms of the double bass; sometimes delicately kneading hypnotic classical piano with electronic keyboard, Rymden kept us under their control as puppet-master the entire evening.

With the new songs played including ‘The Odyssey’ and ‘Reflections’ (that drummer Magnus Öström promised would be available to stream in February), Rymden began their next set which quickened the pace with hints of a rock’n’roll vibe. I was enthused to see the audience head-bopping to this more dynamic bass-y song, and found myself joining in. Who would have thought we’d be headbanging to piano or double bass!

This truly is an art form, and resonates with me in my contemporary visual art mind-set in merging the rich influence of sound together, dissolving the boundaries we place with what genres should and shouldn’t be.

Arts Ambassadors is a paid opportunity, supported by the Careers and Employability Service’s Excel Southampton Internship programme, University of Southampton

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