The Weird Beats of Multi-talented Norwegian Artist Kim Hiorthøy

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Multi-artist Kim Hiorthøy has left his mark on the creative Norway in more fields than you’d ever imagine – he is a graphic designer, a cinematographer as well as a musician. Hiorthøy is the youngest artist ever to receive the Klassikerpris (Visuelt’s Lifetime Acheievement Award). Visuelt is Grafill’s annual design festival. The Weird Beats of Multi-talented Norwegian Artist Kim Hiorthøy can be experienced in multiple creative fields.

Hiorthøy began making music while attending the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art; he worked in the academy’s sound studio until he left school and purchased his own equipment. After various “collaborations and accidents”, his music was eventually introduced to Joakim Haugland of the Smalltown Supersound record label. Haugland asked Hiorthøy to work with the label, and in 2001 Hiorthøy released his debut album, “Hei”.

The Weird Beats of Multi-talented Norwegian Artist Kim Hiorthøy
Hiorthøy began making music while attending the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art

Related: Refreshingly Eccentric Young Norwegian Artist

In his music, Kim Hiorthøy mixes everything from folk, free-jazz, lo-fi electronics, and acid house to instrumental hip-hop and field recordings. His album Dogs (2014)is a beautiful, minimal departure and consists mostly of piano and ambient noise, with occasional interjections of electronic beats and synths.

The Weird Beats of Multi-talented Norwegian Artist Kim Hiorthøy
Hiorthøy’s musical style is difficult to classify. The Smalltown Supersound website offers the following description: “On his records Kim Hiorthøy combines weird beats, lo-fi/leftfield electronics, field recordings, electro-acoustic sounds and samples, resulting in a sound all his own.”

The Weird Beats of Multi-talented Norwegian Artist Kim Hiorthøy
Hiorthøy’s musical style is difficult to classify

Related: Norwegian Electronica Artist André Bratten

On the album Dogs, Hiorthøy has stripped everything down to a minimum, and gone to the core of his characteristic sound. The album consists of mostly just piano and ambiance, with some beats, and on some tracks the occational synth. Dogs is his purest and most beautiful album.

Hiorthoy himself cites Jan Johansson as an inspiration but says that for him the music on this album is still anchored in early hip hop, sample-based music (though there are no samples on Dogs).

The Weird Beats of Multi-talented Norwegian Artist Kim Hiorthøy
Hiorthøy is represented by Oslo-based art gallery Standard

The graphic design of Kim Hiorthøy
While exploring music at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, Hiorthøy simultaneously began his work in graphic design. He started to publish fanzines and design record sleeves for local bands, and as time passed, he began to work more seriously in a variety of creative mediums. Hiorthøy is the definition of the multi creative, his CV is proof of someone who’s never settled and always strived to create something new.

Related: Portrait of Two Norwegian Geniuses 

Kim Hiorthøy, author and film director
In 2002 he debuted as an author with Du kan ikke svikte din beste venn og bli god til å synge samtidig (You cannot let your best friend down and become good at singing simultaneously) . Hiorthøy is represented by Oslo-based art gallery Standard and he has worked as a film photographer on multiple films by filmmaker Margareth Olin. One of his latest work was his directorial debut with the feature film The Rules for Everything (2017).

The Weird Beats of Multi-talented Norwegian Artist Kim Hiorthøy
As time passed, Hiorthøy began to work more seriously in a variety of creative mediums

Kim Hiorthøy
Hiorthøy was born and raised in Trondheim, Norway, and studied at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art (1991–96) as well as the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen (1999–2000). During his tenure at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, Hiorthøy spent a year abroad in 1994 to attend the School of Visual Arts in New York. There he worked extensively with Cinematographer Mott Hupfel. Currently, he lives and works in Berlin, Germany. A fictionalized version of Hiorthøy is a character in an Erlend Loe novel.

The Weird Beats of Multi-talented Norwegian Artist Kim Hiorthøy, written by Tor Kjolberg

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