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Kjartan Abel is a Norwegian composer, soundscape designer and digital artist based in Fredrikstad. Best known for his warm, bright electronic dance tracks, Kjartan’s recent releases include the introspective and mesmerising ‘To the ocean’, followed by groovy mellow record, ‘You told me’ (2021). Creatively influenced by the likes of Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, KOTO, Laserdance, and Røyksopp to name a few, Kjartan’s harmony-stacked melodic style stems from his childhood. As a toddler, he would listen to and create harmonies on his family piano, even though he couldn’t reach the keys. By the age of ten, he had started sitting for hours, making up simple melodies. Eventually his parents bought him a Casio MT400V keyboard. Within five years, he had a midi-setup and sound module attached to a PC. At age 16, Kjartan won a music contest with his original, self-made song, ‘The Rainforest’ (inspired by the girl next door, who he had a crush on). It is also around this time period Kjartan dipped his toes into sampling and tracker music on a 486 PC with a home soldered Covox Clone.

Born with EEC syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, Kjartan began to withdraw from performing as a result of low self-esteem in his teenage and young adult years. Preoccupied with confirming to society’s ideas of normalcy, the artist stopped playing even to his parents and girlfriend.

Kjartan, who previously lived in London, studying at Kingston University and UCL, credits the city for shaping his creativity and unlocking his confidence. The artist says: “London is a city where you can be yourself and no one cares – I mean that in the most generous and positive way. It profoundly affected who I am today.”

Upon moving back to Oslo to work at Public Art Norway, Kjartan focused on photography and filming, but it wasn’t until recently in 2020 that the global pandemic gave him the room and inspiration to focus on his music again. The artist, who often uploads his music and soundscapes to the FreeSound community, says: “It motivates me to know that I can give back and use my talent to provide music and soundscapes for others, especially youngsters who can’t afford to buy licensed music for their school projects and so on.” Kjartan Abel is currently working on new music, coming soon.

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