How authentic is electronic music?
A conversation with Petri Kuljuntausta
Petri Kuljuntausta is one of the most important figures in contemporary Finnish electronic music. An eclectic composer, he achieved international notoriety as performer and recording artist in many European countries, Australia and the USA. Kuljuntausta tackled a wide variety of electronic music styles, besides those discussed in the present interview, including also digital music for experimental films, visual art and dance projects, media and sound installations in museums, galleries and concert halls. Among his many collaborators, the experimental film director Sami van Ingen, the urban architecture group Ocean-North, composers Morton Subotnick and Atau Tanaka, sound artist Richard Lerman, zoomusicologist Dario Martinelli and musician/philosopher David Rothenberg.
Kuljuntausta is also active as a musicologist, being, a.o., the author of On/Off, an 800 page-long History of Finnish Electronic Music. In 2005 he won the prestigious Finnish State Prize for Art, from the Finnish government as a distinguished national artist.
Talking to him, one gets the comforting idea of an artist who does not pretend not to know where his art comes from and what are the aesthetic values it relies upon (as instead many composers snobbishly do): Kuljuntausta knows how, and likes, to talk about his music and his artistic program. His competence and theoretical awareness made the following interview dense and pleasant.