Wednesday, November 25, 2009

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Willow's Playlist: Ambient Keyboard with Torben Asp - Think Kraftwerk Meets Mozart

Exclusive to NWN, Willow Caldera covers SL's burgeoning live music scene

On those happy days when there's nothing pressing to be done and the idle time stretches ahead, you need musical accompaniment that's as chilled out as you are. Torben Asp, quite fortunately, is on hand to provide a soundtrack to the laziest of days; his own personal brand of self-composed ambient keyboard is mellow enough to slow the most stressed of heartbeats.   

This video was shot by Sound'r at The Forest and features the original song (and my personal favourite), "Senses".

"In 1998 I bought the first music software for the PC and then things started moving with composing and presenting my stuff on different websites," says Torben. "Suddenly I could express everything I wanted to through my music... and today, well, it is a great pleasure to be composing and through SL I can get immediate feedback. 'Stay or Go?' I always ask the audience when I have presented a new composition... they most kindly say 'Stay!' every time."

Torben has been a Second Life resident for almost three years, performing live for two of those after Jess Oranos overheard him playing his music to test a Shoutcast stream and cajoled him into presenting it at an open mic night.


"The people there kinda liked it," says Torben. "At the time I only had 30 mins of music and today I can play nearly 4 hours of original music so it has meant a lot also for getting new stuff composed. I sometimes say on stream...'If you don't like what you hear, don't blame me -- blame Jess Oranos...she got me into this!'"

The melodies that Torben has been humming since he was a child first found their way out in their present form in 1998, when the software that allowed him to compose his own music arrived. Using a Behringer UMX61 midi keyboard, Reason 4 and Propellerhead Record software through a Creative soundcard to bring the music to life, Torben creates what he calls Recreative Music, drawing his inspiration from sources as disparate as Jean Michel Jarre and Kraftwerk to Vivaldi.

"I do not perform in real life. I am what I like to call a 'Bedroom Composer' and, if it wasn't for SL, no one would know what I do.[My music] is a mixture of all the music I like to listen to and my music interest goes from Gregorian choir hymns to the hardest metal. As long as I can see an idea or a line in the composition, it will get my attention. My own line of music probably would be called ambient/new age/trance/dance/pop and then some... a mixture. I sound a bit like everything, but most of all I sound like me, Torben Asp."

More about Torben Asp:

NWNWillowWhat live music groups should Willow Caldera cover for New World Notes? Suggest groups and performers by contacting her by IM or at

Willow is the creative director of Sound'r, a full-service machinima house - you can read her blog here or see more Sound'r videos here.

Her taste in music is somewhat eclectic, ranging from My Chemical Romance to Sarah McLachlan and Nightwish to Shakira and Pearl Jam.


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Josue Habana

Torben is incredibly talented. What he does is completely unique in SL. I've been to plenty of his sets just to chill out and listen.

Torben Asp

Thank you Josue for the kind comment and to Willow and Soundr Productions for the article and the very nice video.

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