Reaching for the utmost limits
Making a process visible with the Hands, the Bow, and the Bass
10 January 2022 - 21 January 2022

For 20 years Johannes Nästesjö has worked as a professional double bass player and teacher in the genres of modern jazz, improvised and contemporary music. He currently conducts artistic research at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen (RMC).

Johannes will demonstrate how the music evolves and becomes a part of a personal and independent musical language; hence, the importance of studying, learning, and then transforming and personalizing already existing techniques from contemporary music.

And as the title suggests, this work is limited to the use of the hands, the bow, and the bass as working tools. At the IAC, Johannes will begin to document these techniques, which will later form the basis of a personal archive of contemporary techniques.

The archive

When I started at RMC, my intention was to start and complete a full archive of personal contemporary techniques. An archive that would have been presented in a research catalogue, in which the reader could easily click between different headings such as pizzicato, arco, wood, left hand, right hand, and harmonics. Possible subheadings could have been collegno, flautando and ponticello (with arco as the heading). But to be realistic, this is a lifetime journey that would have been overwhelming for me to do during my two years at RMC. Instead, I will focus on the areas that I have developed the most during the last year and a half, namely, different bowing techniques and harmonics. In January I will spend five days in studio B at Inter Arts Center in Malmö. During my stay, I will record both audio and video examples of my ”personal discoveries”. And in the cases where I already have musical examples recored, ie, recorded performances and sessions, I will put them in the archive as well so that listeners can access both musical examples and technical explanations.

I have finally found a working method that I am satisfied with that makes it easier to remember my ”discoveries”. Whenever I practice, rehearse, record or do concerts, I ask myself the following questions:

Can I, in my musical process, both act as the first person, i.e. the subjective musician, and as the third person, i.e. the objective observer?
– If so, can I, as the observer, and in this way similar to an anthropologist, objectively observe and organize the ”discoveries” that I am doing in my daily work as the musician?

And can I, through these immersive and widening my musical expressions, find a richer language, more elastic and colorful.
And can I, as a ”musical anthropologist”, make this tool visible and draw a red line between the music and the technique?

Visit Johannes Nästesjö webpage –

Listen to Johannes Nästesjö’s music on Youtube:

1. seals IV (Henrik Denerin), 2. improvisation
Solo Double Bass
Bier Bass, Double Bass Solo

Photo: Christer Männikus

Johannes Nästesjö