Emil Karlsen, originally from Norway, is a young drummer/improviser currently based in Leeds, UK. He is active on the UK improvised music scene establishing himself as a new, original voice. In 2019 he released his solo record “Flux” followed by a 7 date UK tour. His playing highlights dynamics, timbre and textures, all done with an organic mindset. His work as improviser consists of doing acoustic solo performances, working in ensembles spanning from duos to octets and beyond, exploring graphic scores with an interest in audio visuals using both digital and analogue medias, all done with a focus on creating boundary-pushing music. His mentality of exploring the sonic possibilities of the drum kit is brought into all of his projects forming his unique expression. He is seen across the UK with various large and small ensembles ranging from being a solo performer to percussionist in the London Improvisers Orchestra. Apart from being a busy performer, he also run the label noumenon – a label for improvised music with a Scandinavian presence

“One of the most impressive aspects of Karlsen's progress to date is the way in which he approaches his own playing. Coming from an established tradition of 'free' playing, Karlsen is not content to incorporate or simply build on what has gone before, but is more intent on finding his own identity within what many will perceive, paradoxically, as a rather predetermined and narrow framework in which to work…. “

-Nick Lea (jazzviews)  

"Emil Karlsen is an independently minded drummer whose playing balances organic looseness with a dynamic, propulsive energy”

- Paul Hession (UK)

“Emil is a wonderful young drummer/percussionist who plays with power, delicacy and originality”

- Mark Sanders (UK)

From solo performance at Yarmonics 2019 held at the great yarmouth minister:

“Emil played with such delicacy and precision, managing to draw the audience in to each nuanced rub, hit and stroke. Completely at home in the enormous acoustic shell of the Minster, Emil became fluent in the language of the church, responding to its creaks and distant footsteps, and toying with its joyful reverberation - a special moment, when distant church bells invited Emil to duet, provided a spell of glorious harmony with his surroundings both near and far.” (Member of the audience at Yarmonics 2019)