Knud Viktor ‘Images’

Knud Viktor 'Images' LP front cover
Knud Viktor 'Images' LP back cover
'Images' side B

Born 1924 in Copenhagen, painter, photographer and film maker Viktor Knud relocated to Southern France around 1965 and has since lived in Cheval Blanc, near Gorges du Régalon (the Lubéron area in Vaucluse – see googlemap). He started recording insects and minute sound phenomenons in the early 1970s, equipped with self-build microphones, in a way and with an approach that was close to today’s field recordists. While still connected to Musique Concrète during the 1970s, his sound work slowly moved to (almost) un-processed field recordings and close-miking technique, culminating in a series of emblematic recordings: a spider weaving its web, a woodworm, ants hitting the ground with their abdomen, etc.

In the area where he lived in the 1970s, Knud Viktor (his artist name) met several kindred souls, like French legendary ornithologist and bird-recordist Jean-Claude Roché (artist name: Jean C. Roché). A friend of Knud, for whose first LP he wrote liner notes, Roché lived nearby in Aubenas-Les-Alpes. In 1972 (the year Images was released), Roché was himself in South America’s Amazon region, recording his breathtaking ‘Oiseaux du Vénézuela’ LP for Edwards Records – see here. Between 1964 and 1966, Roché had self-released the 27 volumes of his monumental French Birds Guide on 7” records. Coincidentally, Roché was also a photographer, especially found of macro-photography. The little village of Aubenas-Les-Alpes was also the home of French raconteur Jacques Coutureau, founder of Le Grand Magic Circus in 1968. In 1977, he published the La Forêt des Heures solo LP on L’Oiseau Musicien label and in 1979, he released an LP with Crystal Baschet accompaniment titled L’oiseau qui faisait du lait – see Discogs. There is little doubt Knud found the local L’Oiseau Musicien label and studios (also from Vaucluse area) through Jean C. Roché. During the 1970s, the label  released folk and jazz, but was close to local environmentalists like the above-mentioned Roché and Coutureau. L’Oiseau Musicien released the two Knud Viktor LPs in 1972, the first being Images (KV01), the second Ambiances (KV02).

What makes this album so special, then? First, it goes back to the very roots of Musique Concrète as defined by Pierre Schaeffer: a unique sound source, vari-speed technique, textures in counterpoint, immense care to pitch and rhythm. Knud Viktor adds an autobiographical dimension to the formula, using sounds he recorded himself after personal involvement and hunting in his own environment, recording insects and water sounds at hand. The music becomes an audio diary as well as a personal reenactment of the act of listening, as experienced on location, what Knud Viktor calls ‘Images Sonores’, as opposed to music, or Musique concrète, for that matter. Both music and track titles on Images are inspired by Claude Debussy‘s own obsession with water and outdoor games. Tracks #1 to 4 use water drops as unique sound source, while #5 and 6 are based on cicadas, fly and vocal recordings. Track #3, Images 1c, for instance, examines and magnifies the elasticity of a water drop, playing with the infinite variations, rebounds and possibilities of a unique sound sample. Track #4, Images 3, is a study in rhythm from a simple water drop. The last track, Jeu 1, is a powerful mix of a fly trapped in a container, percussion sounds and treated vocals, reminiscent of the François Bayle and Robert Wyatt collaboration titled It, in 1971.

Knud Viktor – Images (or Images et Jeux):

01 Images 1a (3:01)
02 Images 1b (3:00)
03 Images 1c (3:36)
04 Images 3 (8:21)
05 Images 2 (10:34)
06 Jeu 1 (4:10)

Total time 32:40
LP released by L’Oiseau Musicien, KV01, France, 1972

Download [NEW LINK as of July 2011]

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14 Responses to “Knud Viktor ‘Images’”

  1. 1 Cait May 3, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Hello Continuo! I’ve digitized a number of Prospective 21 Siecle recordings. Would you like that for your blog? I was thinking your followers would want them.

  2. 2 continuo May 3, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Hi, Caitlin. Thank you very much for your offer. There’s only a handful of the Prospective LPs that really interest me, 2 of them have been posted here. I would be interested in the Japanese Composers LP as well as a better rip of the Musique Electronique Norvegienne LP (mine is sizzling). The Henry, Ferrari, Xenakis et al. are not an option for this blog as they are available on CD. If you have other suggestions, feel free to come back here.

  3. 3 funinachineselaundry May 3, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Thanks for this Continuo, i’ve not heard of Viktor, but the exemplary notes you provide make it sound very enticing!
    best wishes to you…

  4. 4 continuo May 3, 2010 at 10:10 am

    You’re welcome. Enjoy!

  5. 5 danen May 3, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Continuo,

    Very like that album, really great pictures and can be e.g. great musical background for anything over that. Also found on your blog Patrice Sciortino – Les Cyclopes – Percussions Du Monde Entier (1967) ….very like :)))

    Thanks for all!

  6. 6 continuo May 3, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Glad you enjoy some of the music here, Danen. Thanks for your comment. I think I forgot to mention Knud Viktor is the author of the cover’s b&w photographs.

  7. 7 Cait January 3, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Hi, I uploaded a fresh rip of the Norvegienne record at

    Feel free to take my rip and post it here.

  8. 8 levide February 10, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Any chance of posting the companion LP “Ambiences”?

  9. 9 continuo February 11, 2011 at 7:16 am

    If a reader contributes sound files, I will post them, of course.

  10. 10 Ian Russell August 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    thanks so much for this. I listened to Ambiences last night and was intrigued by the artist and his approach, and totally captivated by the result. So I am downloading this with great anticipation. Your selections and erudite commentary are greatly appreciated.

  11. 11 continuo August 7, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I’m glad I could introduce some people to the art of Knud Viktor.
    Thanks for your comment, Ian.

  12. 12 Jesper Petersen June 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Knud Victor died today in a car Denmark.

  13. 13 continuo June 12, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Sad news. If you have any other information, please send an email to me at

  14. 14 Marc Jacquin October 17, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Deux de ses installations étaient encore récemment audibles à Melles (Haute-Garonne) : “Eclats d’argent” et “Allo la Terre”. La première est présentée dans une ancienne mine d’argent. La seconde s’écoute dans trois cabines téléphoniques alimentées par l’énergie solaire. En décrochant le combiné, on communique avec des rythmes de vie en pleine activité : un lapin qui rêve, ronfle et soupire ; le chant d’amour des mouches de vinaigrier ; deux escargots qui déchirent une feuille de salade. Par ailleurs, un CD, inséré dans le catalogue de l’exposition “Chambres d’échos” du Musée Réattu Arles à laquelle il a participé, est paru en 2009. L’on y trouve un “entretien” que j’ai eu avec lui et un fragment de Image 10, une oeuvre sombre, austère et belle dédiée à l’érosion, qui cette même année habita, en quadriphonie, la Chambre d’écoute de ce Musée.

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