Blog's 10 years anniversary - The Eksjö X-mas Fair

In the nineties I did commercial spot for this The Eksjö Christmas Fair. It was one of the first real assignments I did as animator. To my help I had Björn Skallström, Danilo & Annika Giannini and Sune Persson, who among other things made ​​Santa's voice. The film was broadcasted on local TV4 for about 6-8 Christmases before it was retired. Looking back, I can see that it was one of the most lucrative projects I've ever done, if you count the price-per-animated-second.
Anyway, this weekend it’s time for the fair again. If you are nearby, it’s well worth a visit!

Ipren Song Contest

Click to play!
Pain killer Ipren had an advertising campaign for some ten years ago, and was loved by the entire Swedish population. In the advertisement the Ipren man appeared - a small man with a costume shaped like a tablet. He walked around and sang and played the "Ipren song". The text of the song was to say the least the most non-lyrical ever written and listed all ailments cured. The Ipren man courted people anywhere, anytime, when they least (or most?) needed him. Totally weird and terribly fun!

Now the company wants to create a new song for the Ipren advertising, and since this spring musicians have been able to submit their entries. The contest is now ended, and the jury will listen through all the thousands of entries submitted. On the 26th of November, the winner will be published. No less than 50,000 SKR is at stake, so there's plenty to fight for!
I contributed with a song called "Bosse Bus". I thought it would reflect the song style, since it sounds like a 12 year old version of myself. I stretched the voice so it would sound like a girl, but the result was a mix of Rasmus på Luffen, Anderssonskans Kalle and Håkan Bråkan.
Ipren has also put together a video for each song, so you can enjoy my contribution HERE!
Wish me luck!

Blog's 10 years anniversary - Children book project

Four short stories was done starring the troll Olapack. The books was never officially published.
In the late nineties, I made a few children's stories about a troll named Olapack (do not ask me to explain the odd name, because there is no explanation).
Children's books had interested me for a few years, and fairytale artist
John Bauer was an inspiration at the time. I do not remember if I actually sent any of my stories to a publisher. I saw it more as a long takeoff to get my feet wet, get to know my characters and get a flow in the storytelling.

“Det Spökar på Slottet”. Click to read!
I managed to get together four stories, and "
Det Spökar på Slottet" is probably the most elaborate of them (only available in swedish).
I also learned how to bind books to make the stories
to look like mass produced editions. My interest in making single copies of something to look mass-produced has continued even after - books, vinyl records and Smurf figurines have all been subjected to this treatment. The very few copies of Olapack ended up as birthday presents etc for friends and family.... I guess never will grow up...

Arena Rock

Swedbank Arena in Lidköping has got their very own mascot! The assignment that I got from ID Gruppen was to create a space character that should be associated with the stadium's futuristic design. He should also be possible to "dress" in different outfits depending on the different arrangements implemented there: sports, concerts, exhibitions etc. Here is a selection of photos of the character in his different outfits.

The King is Alive - Apparently

Ok, it has taken a long time to put my latest creation together,
The King Is Alive - Apparentley! It is a music video for my song Now or Never II. The whole track is based on samples from Elvis Presley songs that I have pitched and stretched to fit my song. More on that in a future post.

The story is about Elvis driving around in an old
Citroën DS, and flashbacks emerges from his performances and films. Theses clips suddenly freezes, and the camera starts to move within the three-dimensional space.
Originally, the video was supposed to be an animated collage of Elvis. This proved to be quite difficult to do in an entertaining way, so I completed it all with animations created in
SketchUp. With the Photo Match function, two-dimensional photos can be animated like they where three-dimensional. The technique is quite primitive and is reminiscent of the 3D technology's early days, such as Kraftwerk - Music Non Stop developed 1983-86.
Anyway, to digitally recreate historical figures such as Elvis seems to be in fashion: the Iron Sky director
Timo Vourensola is right now working on the new feature film I Killed Adolf Hitler, where dictator shows up in computer-animated form.

I have sent the film to the
Swedish Television's short film editors in the hope that they would like to view it. Unfortunately, it was refused. Their answer contains some encouraging words, but a no is a no. Hope it's ok for Helena Ingelsten, SVT that I reproduce the letter here:

Hey Bo,
Thanks for your short film The King is alive - apparently.
It is an exciting and ambitious film, but we receive a large number of films every year and unfortunately it's a small portion that goes to purchasing. So we must say no to buy, despite the qualities we find in it. We hope that you find other ways to spread just this film and do not get discouraged by our situation.

Of course it would have been awesome to have it shown at
SVT, but I am still satisfied by the fact that I've fulfilled the project from beginning to end!

Blog's 10 years anniversary - Lost and found from 1996/97

“Mr X” - my student film from 1997.

The celebration of my blogs the 10th anniversary continues and this time I focus on some old clips from 96/97. At that time, I was a student at the by then new
Animation School in Eksjö. With a visionary stardusted language the school's dean managed to collect about ten students and a handful of artists who teached us animation. I had the ambition to make a decadent detective story called Mr X. The film would be a blue
film noir with a dab of yellow here and a dab of red there. However, the newly purchased S-VHS tape recorders ran amok and could not decide if the colors all of a sudden should be inverted or not, so the end result was a flickering screen in a epileptic style. One of the few scenes that survived the flickering war appeared in Smålandsnytt of December 96, as well as a 27-year-old Bo Nordin talking about the education (please do not judge me too hard - it was the nineties after all... )

SVT Smålandsnytt 1996.
Finally, the flickering problem was solved by making the full movie black and white, which per se fits the genre.
In the end, the film was more a kind of trailer rather than a short film. There is no real story in it, my focus was on car chases, femme fatale and some bam-bam. Since then, 15 years ago, I pledged a
$100 Reward to anyone who could come up with a good detective story for me - a reward that I am still willing to pay out for anyone who can help me with the movie idea. Send me a email if you want to give it a go!

Premiere next Thursday

Now it's time for the annual premier of my students' graduation films! At May 24th the ES09's films will be screened at the cinema Metropol in Eksjö. 12 small masterpieces are ready and just as many students are facing a nervous confidence for the big day.
This year's trend seems to spell “lip sync”, as the stories are more dialogue-driven than never before. Another trend is that some of the main characters' lives brutally terminates by being devoured by their antagonist.
There is no fee to the event, but if you have no way to get to the premiere, the trailers are always worth checking out! Click

Dancing Like ΠWindmill (Dominic Ninmark Hyper Dance Remix)

Dominic_Ninmark has done a Hyper Dance Remix of Dancing Like Œ Windmill! It’s a stunning and damn cool version that builds up nicely in the beginning with a heavy beat that suddenly breaks up with a “Drop it!”
After that it’s a pumping, energetic floor filler remix with ducking, cool filtration and extra extra all! There are a lot of variation of the theme, and I recognize both the original elements but still got surpriced as well. It feels a little... strange... to hear my own voice in such a dance floor oriented version, but it is a real ego boost! All in all a great job by Dominic!
The remix is also available for download

An early animation

"Alvar the Cat & the Bank Robbers" - one of my first attempt to make a animated movie.
Only the half of the story was finnished.

My blog celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and I am putting up some previously unpublished work (
see previous post).
Now has the time come to one of my first animations I did in my teens. When I was 12 years old, I bought a
super-8 camera. I wanted to do animation, but the camera I’ve bought had no single-frame button. I wanted my film to look like cell animation, but I was too mean to buy the cells (or transparencies that I thought were used). One hundred sheets in a box and 24 frames per second, it would be a lot of money for just a few seconds movie! Well, I made a cheaper kind of cutoutfilm which was supposed to look like cell animation.
The first attempt I made was with my cartoon Miskot, who was a dog living in the woods. The story was a simple gag I stole from
"Smurf stories". When I was filming my small drawings I had a low light and the result was not so much to be desired. In addition, the film was flickering because of all short exposures. I learned the lesson, I bought a new film camera with single-frame button and I got a 1000-watt spotlight as birthday gift.

"Alvar the Cat & the Bank Robbers" was based on a comic strip I´ve done in my youth called
"The Hard Banana". For the film version, it was renamed. Click to read!

For the next attempt I used
Alvar the Cat, another of my childhood comic strip characters. This new film was based on one of the short stories, called "The Hard Banana". In the film version, the story was renamed to "Alvar the Cat & the Bank Robbers" because the original title was very much like a porno video available at the Esso gas station that my friend Jesper's father owned.
About half of the 12-page story was animated for the movie, then I wanted to get the film processed to see the results. The rest of the film was never finished, which unfortunately has been a recurring theme in many of my indie projects.

How to extract vocals from an audio recording?

The sound sample above is a example of KnockOuted vocals of OMD's "Save Me" featuring
Aretha Franklin
. First you hear the original, then the extracted vocals.

I'm very much into making fan remixes and mashups. Sometimes people ask me how I extract the vocals from the backing instrumentals in a recording. Well, there is one short and one long answer to that. The short answer: visit
Acapellas4U http://www.acapellas4u.co.uk/download_search.php . At this page there are loads of acapellas of various artists from the 1950's to present time! A lot of them are studio acapellas i.e they are taken direct from the master tapes. How the site got their hands on that is more than I can comprehend, but it is a useful tool for all dj's and basement musicans all over the world.
However, some acapellas are so called
DIY acapellas - Do It Yourself acapellas. They are not as perfect as the studio acapellas, but usually good enough to work with. That leads us to the long answer of the question: how is it possible to extract voclas from a mix?
Lets be a bit technical.
I extract vocals with
Audacity http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/ with the plugin KnockOut added http://www.freewebs.com/st3pan0va/ . Both are freewares.
To use KnockOut I need to line up a exact instrumental version of the song to the original. If I do not have that it can work any way if the song is based on a sampled groove. In such case, I use to make a loop of a instrumental part of the song and line it up with the original.
Sometimes the back track of verse 1 is equal to verse 2. In that case I line up verse 1 with verse 2. And it have to be exactly matched!

Step-by-Step how to extract vocals using the KnockOut plugin. Click the picture to enlarge.

Next, I split the stereo tracks on both the original and the instrumental/groove/verse2. In Audacity, I click on each track header and choose "Split stereo track".
Now you have four mono tracks. Organize them as below:

Left Original
Left instrumental/groove/verse 2

Right Original
Right instrumental/groove/verse 2

I make the both left mono tracks to a stereo track by clicking on the Left Original header and choose "Make stereo track". I do the same for the Right Original.
Now it's time to use the KnockOut plugin. I mark all channels and click the effect drop down menu and select KnockOut. Voila - acapellas is made for the left and right channels! You will probably hear a muted version of the instrumental in the background, but buried in a new mix you hardly hear any of it. There are several reasons why the extraction of the acapella are successful or not:
- Sound matching vocals - instrumental. The more exact - the better acapella.
- The sound quality of the original recording. The better bitrate - the better acapella.
- The original recording equipment. Digital recordings are better than old analogue recordings.
- The mastering compression. Especially radio edits of singles are usually harder compressed in the mastering, and that makes it harder to get a successful acapella

Listen to the sample of Green by OMD (first with vocals extracted
with KnockOut, then the whole mix). It is a example of a good
audio recording:
good sound quality, digitally recorded and not to much compression.

To clean it up, I (again) split the stereo tracks, remove the right channels ( they have become silent in the process) and make the two acapella tracks a stereo track.
Still, there are some question marks left. What if the song isn't based on samples and made before the multi track recording system was even invented? I do not have the answer to that question, but someone certainly has! Listen to
Saveyourmix' vocal extraction of a Elvis' "That's alright Mama" on Youtube:
I think this Saveyourmix guy has used a autotuning software called
Melodyne ( http://www.celemony.com/cms/index.php?id=demo_editor ) It is not free, but there is a trial version available. With this software, it is possible to edit individual notes in polyphonic audio recordings. By simply deleting or muting the undesirable notes it is possible to just leave the vocals. But it’s not an easy task. I have tried it myself, but it always end up sounding crap. It takes a talent like Saveyourmix to achieve that!

Bo Nordin Special - now on radio!

“... I don’t have a cluuueee...”. Live performace at Radio P4 Jönköping. Photo: Viktor Mattsson/SR.

Finally, I made my live debut on radio! In the half-hour show "
Replokalen" at P4 Jönköping, me and Tobias Svehagen played my song "Laughing out loud". It was a really stripped down version of the 2006 song, and I thought I would be hyper-nervous about it, but I got a real kick out of the here-and-now feeling it gave.
Alongside the live appearance the listeners also heard "Now or Never II" and "Dancing like ΠWindmill".
The interview was much about auto-tuning, synthesizers and samplers. I also had the pleasure to talk about
Elvis and OMD, both of which are sources of inspiration for my music.
The show can be heard here:

"Replokalen" at P4 Jönköping

Coming soon: Bo Nordin at radio P4 Jönköping
I have the pleasure to announce that radio
P4 Jönköping will do a "Bo Nordin Special" in the show "Replokalen" at February the 14th at approx 11:30. Three of my songs will be played, including one song live! It will be my very debut singing live.
Tobias Svehagen will support me on guitar. We did a rehearsal yesterday, and it went out very well!
"Replokalen" is a plank in the morning show
"Pettsson & Co" and is led by Hasse Pettersson. This is the show where known and unknown musical talents can be heard and talking about their music.
Stay tuned for more updates about the show!

… and the cat came back!

Speaking of cats (see previous post), the pic (above) is a new work in collaboration with Åke Svensson. It is a children's book about a homeless cat and the charming story is written by Åke’s daughter. When I look at the pic now I realize that this new cat looks pretty much the same as the cat comics I did in my childhood...
As my website celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, my friend Per started a brand new one. At his work at Pdb he blogs about his life's challenge - the
Tuareg Rallye! Take a look at his (Slightly more proffesional blog ...) at http://www.okenutmaningen.se/ and read about his preparation for 2500 km in the African desert on a motorcycle in 8 days ...

New Year - 10 Years Anniversary!1

An early incarnation of my homepage in 2002.
Happy New 2012! This year, me and my blog celebrates the 10 first years online! My first homepage was done in Flash, and it was always a struggle to make an update. Later on I started to use RapidWeaver, and all the technical trouble I had, was solved automaticly.
I think it's time to take a look back and publish some unpublished material that I have done over the years. Starting from the beginning, here is the comic magazine
"Alvar the Cat" that I and my friend Jesper Jenemark did when we where children.

“Alvar the Cat” was a comic strip I did in my childhood.
The comic strip was actually a birthday present for Jesper's younger brother Markus, and is probably from the early 80's. The children´s magazine Bamse was the inspiration behind, as our comic strip also had an educational content. Maybe it wasn’t that educational after all, but it seems like I was a self-appointed teacher ever since!
All in all, 11 stories of “Alvar the Cat” was written over the years, and
this is the first of them!