The Squid's Ear Magazine

Hawkins, Chester: Magnetisk Nord (Intangible Arts)

Chester Hawkins' curiosity for Denmark resulted in his renting an apartment in central Kobenhavn, bringing along his electronically modified lapsteel guitar, wind and reed instruments, tabletop noise-boxes, mobile synthesizer apps and a shortwave radio, which he joined with field recordings from the capital region, creating this magnificent loveletter to Denmark.

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product information:

Label: Intangible Arts
Catalog ID: IA021
Squidco Product Code: 26060

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 7th to the 11th, 2017.


Chester Hawkins-prepared lapsteel guitar, shortwave radio, alto recorder, harmonica, tablet computer, field recordings

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Magnetisk Nord is an experiment in composition beyond comfort zones. After a few years of nurturing a curiosity for Denmark (for its landscape, culture, and social dynamics, all of which seemed delightfully opposite to that of the U.S.A.), a new sonic project began to percolate: to fully embed within the place and consume its essence in absolute solitude, and see what musical ideas result.

Thus, an apartment was rented in central København and as much studio gear as could be carried was brought from Washington DC. A week was spent walking the city all day, and recording all night. Using a lapsteel guitar as a primary instrument (with much electronic modification) with various wind and reed instruments, tabletop noise-boxes, mobile synthesizer apps, a shortwave radio, and field recordings captured across the capital region, a very different composition took form.

"Different" from previous works by virtue of its patience. This is a deliberately slow work, without the narrative structure of previous releases. It's a melancholy loveletter to Denmark in November: an augmented fantasy portrait of a place that resonated deeply, appealing to a primitive escapism (the trip was timed to coincide with the first anniversary of a most regrettable presidential election back home). The result was more of a sonic ecosystem than musical composition: an atmospheric immersion beyond nations, flags, and human complications. Therefore, a thing worthy of sharing with anyone who has the patience to open the windows and let in a brisk autumnal wind."-Intangible Arts

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
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Artist Biographies

"Chester Hawkins (Washington DC) has performed a wide range of experimental music since 1985. His most well-known project was BLUE SAUSAGE INFANT, being an exercise in musique concrète and loop-collage, which later expanded to embrace drone, krautrock, psychedelia, noise, and sonically intense live performances. After 28 years, the BSI project was retired and new works continue under his own name, crafting dynamic adventures in sound with a more focused and wholly electronic approach.

Hawkins has released music under the imprints Alrealon Musique, Zeromoon, and his own Intangible Arts. Past collaborators include Insect Factory, Violet, Tag Cloud, Haunted Toilet, Changes to Blind, New Carrollton, Lida Husik, and Stolen Government Binder Clip."

-Chester Hawkins 9/20/2023

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Track Listing:

1. Magnetisk Nord 53:18

Related Categories of Interest:

Rock and Related
Progressive Rock
Piano & Keyboards
Guitarists, &c.
Electronic Forms
Field Recordings
Solo Artist Recordings
New in Experimental & Electronic Music

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