Multidisciplinary artist Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard (b. 1979) considers his work to be a basic research in realities.

Working within the domains of imaginary & physical sound as well as other non-sonic media, NLL seeks to stimulate new ways of approaching reality. This can be heard in his work with sonic potentiality and music for the inner ear - an imaginary kind of music only hearable for the inner ear of the listener, or in the SOUND X SOUND series where he works with multiplication of sound as a method of investigating music instruments.

Løkkegaard is interested in music instruments not only as sources of sound but  also as cultural markers embedded within different systems and hierarchies. This being a driver in Løkkegaards work has led into compositions of music that can be performed by musicians as well as non-musicians - all revolving around the focus on how to dissolve shame or trauma connected with a particular music instrument and the act of performing music in general.


I try to reinvent the instrument from a constructive zero. Create new music and create new ways of listening, and  I work with multiplication of sound as a way to make the wellknown sound dissolve and reappear as a new sound”. (NLL)


Working with physical sound

Over the recent years Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard has experimented with creating music that lets the instruments transcend their inherent sonic norms and reappear as new, untouched sound. In the work series SOUND X SOUND he explores this by way of multiplication. He has written and recorded the seven pieces of SOUND X SOUND from 2013 to 2016 – a series of works multiplying one instrument a number of times: One piece is written for 9 pianos, another for 18 clarinets, 10 hi-hats and so on.

The multiplication brings out new timbral phenomena, interference of sound waves and vibrations, and brings out what Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard calls the sound’s potential of transformation. He describes this as the quality in a musical piece, when you no longer hear recognisable instruments, but instead the individual sound, as well as the individual musician, is dissolved into the collective sound.

A sonic as well as human synthesis.


He explains the concept of this sound as follows:

“Imagine you enter a room with vibrant acoustics, such as a cafe full of people having conversations, and when you’re close to those conversations you hear the language and understand the words. If you step away from the tables, however, and stand in the doorway, you begin to loose the ability to distinguish the words from one another. Now instead of hearing the individual conversations, melts all the conversations together, and transform into a one new sound. A sound of people without words and language. Just as when you hear a group of geese squawk, or the wind in tree tops, a kind of nature given sound of people. Once the language is dissolved and the words stop making sense, what is left, is the sound."


Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard points out that usually when we listen to music, we automatically search for a melody, a chord or a rhythm, but music can be much more than that, and approaching his music one should instead listen in the same way as you listen to the waves breaking at the seashore, or even, as in some of his latest work, imagine the sound ourselves, by listening and  creating music using our inner ear.

The SOUND X SOUND pieces do not have clear narratives but rather they possess sculptural and repetitive qualities. 


Working with imaginary sound

Løkkegaard is composing imaginary music only hearable for the inner ear of the listener, where written stories about sound manifest themselves as imaginary pieces of music or soundless sound installations evokes inner soundscapes within the listeners mind. A kind of music in which the listener also becomes the composer, and a kind of music that unfolds itself in a utopic space -a space of potentiality.

In 2019 Løkkegaards Symphony No. 1 was released - an entire symphony written in prose. The Symphony inhabits multiple states at the same time - being in constant fluctuation between alphabet, word, language and meaning - & between book, score, written text and imaginary music. The ancient cycle of sounds transforming into words transforming back into sounds is summed up by Marshall McLuhan who said that “Man was given an eye for an ear”, and Løkkegaard is hoping to give back an ear for an eye. 

Niels Lyhne Løkkegaards  interest in how stories about sound can be accepted as being sound detached from any physical manifestation and how the narrative meta-sphere can be a space for artistic action in what could be described as curatorial times, has also lead Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard into creating Curatorium, a curatorial non- event that celebrates sound on an annual basis. Curatorium is a story about a sound-art festival that never takes place - a festival in between realities. Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard raises the question: When does something actually exist?

The work of NLL has been presented at a variety of different venues and museums such as MoMA (NY - as a part of the René Magritte exhibition The Mystery of the Ordinary, 2013), Imaginary West Indies (Overgaden Copenhagen, 2017), ISCM (Vancouver, 2017), Radiophrenia (Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, 2017), CPH:DOX (Copenhagen, 2017), Roskilde Festival (2017), Harpa (Reykjavik, 2017), G((o))ng Tomorrow Festival (Copenhagen 2016, 2018), Nordic Music Days (Norway, 2019), Akusmata (SF, 2020) and his works has been released on labels such as Hiatus (DK) and Important Records (US). NLL is associate professor at RMC in Copenhagen, and has given lectures at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Simon Fraser University (Vancouver), The Royal Danish Academy of Music, Artistic Research Forum (N), Goldsmiths University of London a.o.p. NLL has been awarded with several prizes a.o. from the Danish Art Foundation and the Sonning Foundation.


Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard was educated from the RMC in Copenhagen and the School of Architecture at The Royal Danish Academy of Art.

Press photos: Here


Personal mail:



TOPOS (for Symphony No. 1) (for scores)


Photo credits:

Jacob Kirkegaard, Malte Iverson, Carolina Bittencourt, Per Lyhne Løkkegaard, Karolina Zapolska, Mike Højgaard, Thomas Dyrholm.