Exercises in Style – No. 59 & 96: Telegraphic & Bondsk (Paysan)

We give you two new Exercises in Style, just in time for the holidays!



Torgeirs grandfather, Haakon Sørbye, studied electrical engineering and was a radio amateur. In 1940, in the beginning of WWII, he was recruited as a telegraph operator for the secret intelligence service station in Trondheim, Skylark B.

Image: Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt (FFI)

The station sent three times a week, all in code: military information on troop movements and ship calls, military and merchant vessels and other German activities. He was eventually arrested and sent to several German prison camps.

In Dachau, he managed to assemble a working radio receiver with radio parts that other prisoners had found. Among other things, the radio received Norwegian-language broadcasts from London and the Norwegian prisoners were kept informed about the course of the war in the winter and spring.

After the war, Haakon continued his studies before he worked years developing the radio line production in Norway.

No. 96 – BONDSK


featuring Magne Storløkken on harmonica.

Magne has been a dear friend of Panzerpappa from the early days, and it’s very exciting to have him as a participant on one of our tunes.

The early sketches for this exercise came about almost by accident. Anders had bought a new acoustic guitar and wanted to try out the open-G tuning favored by many blues and slide guitarists. Playing around with this unfamiliar tuning it was inevitable that he would try to play the main theme from “Stiløvingar” (Exercises in Style).

In the beginning he stumbled and frowned, but slowly everything started to come together. The sound of the guitar with an open-G tuning and how the theme slowly evolved by the new constraints started to bring up images of rural areas of the American South during the great depression: hillbillies, rednecks and barrels and jugs with moonshine.

After a while, Anders realized that this could be a proper part of Stiløvingar and he started to leaf through the book to find an exercise where those particular images could fit. He ended up with “Bondsk”, meaning “country yokel or hillbilly” according to the dictionary (Queneau’s original French exercise is called “Paysan”, but was replaced with “West Indies” in the English translation. The Norwegian interpretation is closer to the original).

He recorded a couple of versions of the rhythm guitar together with fretless bass only a few days later since he wanted to keep the spontaneity of the original approach. This first draft was allowed to ferment slowly for several months, and then in the late autumn of 2021 it was time to distill the mash.

First, some of the original guitars were siphoned, and Jarle added a couple of tracks of banjo, slide guitar and lap steel. The final ingredient that was added to the blend, before mixing and distillation, was no other than Jarle’s father, the incomparable Magne Storløkken, contributing on harmonica.

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