haknam is a band / ensemble / artist collective founded by performers Fei Nie, Lorenzo Colombo and composer Xavier Bonfill. The starting point of the project is to investigate new approaches to composition, improvisation and performance with hardware electronic instruments and to build bridges between contemporary classical music, sound art and electronica. The performers are some of the most active musicians in the Danish and European experimental scenes and who are behind other ensembles such as NEKO3, Dan/Nie and ReConvert.
haknam gave their first performance in Xavier Bonfill's debut concert as a composer at the Royal Danish Music Conservatory in May 2022, where the ensemble premiered the work (the.whole.picture): a 45- minute immersive audiovisual journey built on top of field recordings from China, which becomes the underlying “sound film” of the piece. (the.whole.picture) has been described as a work that "alternates between almost chaotic episodes and quiet lyricism, with strong vocally based poetic moments”.
(the.whole.picture) was released digitally in January 2023 on Don't Look Back Records: a grassroots record label, concert organizer, online+IRL community, and which is founded by haknam's own members.
haknam means "darkness" in Cantonese and was the nickname used by the local residents of Hong Kong to refer to the "Kowloon Walled City"; a Chinese de jure enclave in British Hong Kong which was de facto ungoverned and which, until the 1990s, contained the densest population in the world ever. The story of haknam has inspired a number of writers and film directors in the science fiction and cyberpunk genres, and there are many who consider it a predecessor and an IRL metaphor of the Internet: an unregulated network where all cores are linked together.
For the music project, haknam is a metaphor of a modular system, something that contains endless potential but also clear frameworks that drive creativity. The project would like to be part of a community in the music scene, where composers, performers and audiences interact in an open artistic dialogue.