As some of you may have noticed I just posted the last 6 months worth of concerts. Well, I did say I was a horrible person to keep a blog in my first post…
I started this blog at the beginning of 2007 after taking on the role as STEIM’s curator. Since then we have organized more than 40 events with consistently growing audience. I have to thank all the STEIM staff members and our dedicated community for making this possible.
However, from 2009 the City of Amsterdam decided to cut our funding for organizing concerts. This is very sad news for Amsterdam’s cultural scene where only STEIM and DNK-Amsterdam are the organizations that host experimental music events on a regular basis. This decision by the City along with our recent drama with the Cultural Ministry and the loss of our former Director forces us to re-structure and re-strategize. We will be doing less concerts but continue to host events that will be a mixture of things.
So, this will be the last post on the STEIM Concert Blog. We plan to start a new blog that will include concert announcements and reports as well as other things related to what’s going on at STEIM. More things will be documented on our vimeo channel http://www.vimeo.com/steim.
STEIM is entering a new era and we have a lot of exciting things planned.
Performance by Institut fuer Feinmotorik
(All videos by Vivian Wenli Lin)
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Wednesday, Dec 10
Micro Jamboree Concert 1: Turntable Music Night 5
Dieb13 (AT) - Turntable improvisations with custom software and self-pressed vinyl
Institut fuer Feinmotorik (DE) - Turntable soundscape with 3 performers 8 turntables
eRikm (FR) and dj sniff (JP/NL) - Turntable Duo
Stigingeoy and PussyKrew (IE) - Turntables, feedback and visuals
Turntable Music Night is an evening that explores new directions and expressions with the turntable. This 5th edition will be the largest installment, featuring 4 experimental turntablist sets with all distinct approaches to the instrument.
Thursday, Dec 11
Micro Jamboree Concert 2: The Body, The Circuit, The Computer and The Voice
Heidi Mortenson (DK) - Voice and Real-Time Sampling
robotcowboy - Dan Wilcox (US/AT) - robotcowboy suit, MIDI guitar, controllers
Jamie Allen (CA/UK) - circuitMusic
Alex Nowitz (DE) - Voice, Wiimote, junXion, LiSa
The second evening of the Jamboree Concerts will feature 4 solo musicians each using custom built instrument setups to create extremely physical and exciting electronic music.
DJ Timsky with his Wii guitar
(All videos by Vivian Wenli Lin)
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STEIM Micro Jamboree 2008
Monday Dec 8 - Thursday Dec 11
Main Entry: jam·bo·ree
Etymology: origin unknown
1: a noisy or unrestrained carouse 2 a: a large festive gathering b: a national or international camping assembly of Boy & Girl Scouts 3: a long mixed program of entertainment
STEIM is hosting its 2nd Micro Jamboree this December 8-11, 2008. Featuring 4 days of creativity and excellence in today’s electronic music through a wealth of presentations, discussions, and performances. An intense 7 sessions of lectures, demos, and discussions held by the most innovative artists, musicians, and instrument designers in the field will be hosted in STEIM’s studios. An intellectual jam on creative musical software, modern sensor interfaces, alternative energy sources for electronic music, rhythm and sequencing for live performances, and more!
At night STEIM moves to the Smart Project Space on December 10th and 11th for the Jamboree concerts for 2 large and festive gatherings of noisy and unrestrained carouse. The 5th edition of Turntable Music Night will feature 4 acts of adventurous turntablism. The 2nd concert night will be a plethora of circuits, voice, samplers, a cowboy suit, and even a Wii controller for individual performances. Concurrently, experience the STEIM Mobile Touch exhibition in the concert venue where you can make your own electronic music with the Finger Web or make some noise with the Crackle Box.
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Special celebration concert for Luc Houtkamp`s 55th birthday with POW Ensemble
Han Buhrs - vocals, live electronics
Guy Harries - vocals, computer
Luc Houtkamp - saxophones, computer, live electronics
Jacqueline Hamelink - cello
Wolter Wierbos - trombone, live electronics
POW Ensemble plays Homage to Hazard - music that might create unease
The POW Ensemble, led by Dutch composer/ saxophonist Luc Houtkamp, is a specialised ensemble, using live electronics and computers as musical instruments. The ensemble has a unique powerful sound and an uncompromising approach.
Computer music is often thought of as consisting of sounds that nobody can understand, except for some isolated nerds. A POW Ensemble show is something completely different. Here, real music is made!
Homage to Hazard is a jazzy programme with bizarre texts and disordering songs, sparkling improvisations and solid compositions played by virtuoso musicians.
In Western society it seems that security is God Almighty. Any hazard, coincidence, instability or even doubt is banned from our horizon. There is a strong collective urge to believe that modern technology will free us from peril - our prehistorical aspect of life.
This is, of course, profoundly questionable. Not only because in the process we are confronted with the limits of this technology (it crashes all over the place!) but because we also realise that technical security cuts us off from our ability to deal with reality as it arises. We lose our talent to improvise, to deal with insecurity, to make decisions based on instinct. We will never again take a train without knowing where it`s going.
At the same time, we also know that it is often fun to deal with the unexpected, to sharpen our brains and our senses by dealing with situations that occur accidentally, to improvise our way out of an uncontrolled momentum. Why? Because it appeals to our basic instinct.
This is precisely the thought that unites the POW-musicians: they pursue hazard, uncertainty and instability as a given fact. They regard doubt and instinct as useful colours to paint with. They never take anything for granted, and create a song out of any question mark.
In this Homage to Hazard, The POW Ensemble plays songs of insecurity - songs that might create unease, but don`t deny reality!
Master minds behind DNK-Amsterdam Seamus Cater and Koen Nutters
Simon Laroche with Robot Drummer
All photos take by Vivian Wenli Lin
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Mark Bain (NL)
Sebastien Roux (FR) & Kim Myhr (NO)
Manuel Chantre (CA) & Simon Laroche (CA)
Lukas Simonis (NL) & Goh Lee Kwang (MY)
DNK DJ Unit
STEIM and DNK-Amsterdam will showcase an exciting evening on the legendary party boat MS Stubnitz. This will feature 3 adventurous duos crossing boarders between electro-acoustic, improv, noise, dubstep and robotics. Mark Bain will present a special version of his Archisonic which will transform the whole ship into a resonating chamber. And the DNK DJ Unit will party on with their eclectic DJ set. Don’t miss this special collaboration on the Amsterdam harbor!
Korean Experimental Music at STEIM
Curated by Byungjun Kwon
STEIM is presenting an exclusive concert dedicated to Korean experimental music. Not only are they the pioneers of Korean electronic music, but also have been taking the role of introducing it abroad by means of their passionate performances. This concert is a part of their european tour in Belgium and The Netherlands.
Choi Joonyong (Kr)
Choi Joonyong started making noise with Hong Chulki as Astronoise from 1996. He plays electronic instruments such as opened cdplayers, reel tape player and speakers. He is participating in harsh noise band called Master Musik as well as playing solo, and made 3 solo albums with error sounds from cdplayers, He is running a record label called Balloon & Needle introducing experimental music from Korea.
Ryu Hankil (Kr)
Born in 1975 in Seoul, South Korea. He was a keyboard player in two famous Korean indie pop groups, but eventually left the groups because he was tired of typical music making and sounds. At that time, he saw a concert by Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M, Axel Dörner, and Taku Unami in Seoul. He changed his musical instrument and concentrated more and more on improvised music and sound related works. Hankil has organised a monthly concert series called RELAY since 2005. He established his own publishing office called Manual, and releases improvised music and magazines.
Sato Yukie (Jp/Kr)
Sato Yukie is one of the main men behind a new group of experimenting artists in Seoul. A couple of years ago he started organizing some concerts with artists from abroad. Although his main musical activity is the psychedelic band KopChangJeonGol, he also plays an important role in the local improv scene, in which he mainly focusses on guitar-based experiment.
Whistle Pig Saloon (John Ferguson & Robert van Heumen)
Alex Nowitz & Jamie Griffiths: Hybrids
Alex Nowitz & Jamie Griffiths: Hybrids
Interactivity has been named numerously within the context of art, but we have rarely the chance to really discover its actual potential. The term interactivity became a substitute for some kind of interdisciplinary approach. So, what does interactivity actually mean? This is something I’m very much interested in exploring and examining in detail. We both, Jamie Grifﬁths and I will cross-fade our skills and abilities. The research will be about the relationships and interdependencies of movement and visuals, movement and music/sound as well as music/sound and visuals. When and how is the voice controlling the color of the lights? How can we control the video imagery by our movements? What compositional tools do I have to apply in order to get an analogy either in music or in video? We all once heard about counterpoint in music. Now, we want to examine the “counterpoint” between music/sound, visuals and movement. It’s very complex once we start thinking about it. However, the ﬁnal and main task of an artistic residency should be creating duo pieces, so-called “HYBRIDS”, cross-breedings of music/sound, visuals and movement.
Alex Nowitz is working as composer, singer and performer. Since October 2008, with the help, support and know-how of STEIM he created a setup for live electronics as an extension of his vocal solo performances using two Wiimote controllers as gestural controllers, STEIM software (junXion, LiSa) and a computer (MacBook Pro). Since February 2008 he presented his vocal work with the set-up many times: Wolfsgeheul (Feb. 2008, fabrik Potsdam), a concert with the stringquartet KUSS+ (Feb. 2008, RBB -Radio Berlin Brandenburg), DIE STADT und DER SCHNITT (March-May 2008, Schaubuehne Berlin) and a concert presenting two solo pieces voicescapes and studies for a self-portrait (April 2008, DNK Amsterdam).
Jamie Griffiths is a Visual Music artist, Interactive Stage & Projection artist and Film Director. Lifelong explorations of visual creativity mesh with a love of interactive technology, combining projected media with performance commissions for orchestra, new music, opera, dance and theatre projects.
A self-taught technology artist, Jamie came into this work after leaving a successful career as a photographer, and walking off onto the streets for a year… a kind of spiritual mid-life crisis. She gave away all her belongings and let the wind carry her. When she arrived back into the mainstream world a year later, a commission from Vancouver New Music brought Jamie into interactive film-making. She fell in love with the ideas of composer Edgard Varèse, and took the ‘interactive’ bull by-the-horns by hacking into some screen-saver software, embedding video clips that would respond to sound, and so made her first interactive film for live performance with a 24 piece orchestra in 2001. Since then, Jamie has had many commissions and discovered a deep love for music visualization, and using technology to harness the power of motion and sound.
She creates her own works under the name Primal Divine, and collaborates internationally with musicians and technology artists. Jamie is a performing member of Nu:BC, a new music interdisciplinary collective based in Vancouver, Canada, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia, researching interactive performance technology tools.
Paul Bell is a studio composer and turntablist. His research constitutes a specific investigation into the diverse improvisational practices that exist within contemporary DJ culture, attempting to negotiate convergent areas of turntable practice such as the club DJ, the hip hop turntablist and avant-garde / experimental approaches. He is currently interested in DJ tools built upon digital vinyl metaphors and has been exploring the Ms Pinky object within max/msp as a means of gaining tactile control over digital audio. His research at STEIM will investigate various DJ tools that offer novel ways of interacting with digital audio.
Whistle Pig Saloon
Whistle Pig Saloon is the live audio collaboration of Robert van Heumen (Computer/controllers) and John Ferguson (Guitar/effects).
Wide and disjointed, blending a fractured pulse with dynamic texture, this is an immersive and disorientating music, sometimes subtle, often invasive, always close. In capturing a moment and inscribing agency, the motionblur of the cover art offers a suitable metaphor for this duo’s musical interactions. Live sampled source sounds are gesturally manipulated and reworked within open ended narratives, sounding like an air whistle blasting out from an old steam locomotive as it emerges at speed from a tunnel. Whilst the whistle pig/groundhog (day) reference explores cycles of repetition beyond episodic improvisation, emphasising the value of revisiting and re-appropriating a previous moment. John configures the electric guitar as a site for multiple simultaneous points of interaction and queries the iconic cultural status of his instrument via feet, fingers and feedback. Robert crunches, growls and smashes both John’s live sampled sound as well as his private stack of industrial bits and organic beats.
John Ferguson is an electronic musician. His work is inspired by notions of instability, and focuses on tactile approaches to the live manipulation of audio/visual materials. Predicated on listening and real-time (re)negotiation, his combinations of hacked electronics, wireless gaming controllers and custom software/mechanical systems are frequently loud and exuberant. But the resistance inherent within these instrumental ecologies significantly affects the compositional process, raising issues of causality, agency and legibility, whilst foregrounding ambiguity as an alternative to functionalism in interface design.
Robert van Heumen works with sound: electronic, experimental, improvised, structured, composed. Recent works include the compositions ‘Stranger’, ‘Fury’, ‘Silent’ and ‘12 Bullets’ which are performed in multichannel and semi-improvised environments as well as produced for release on CD. As a musician he uses STEIM’s live sampling software LiSa and real-time audio-synthesis and algorithmic composition software SuperCollider. His soundworld is a mixture of digital crackles, heavy distortion, melancholic melodies, environmental sounds, voices, sounds from kitchen appliances, most of the time smashed beyond repair.
Sabine Vogel is working at STEIM for the development of footcontrollers to use with her flute.
She is born in Munich, studied jazz-flute at the Anton Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria. She focuses on sound and improvisation, using extended techniques both acoustic as well as electronic, creating a very personal contemporary language for the flute. In 2000 Vogel moved to Berlin, since 2005 she has been living in Potsdam. She has a busy concert schedule with performances in Europe and throughout America, working privately in group ensembles as well as collaborating with New Music composers, a.o. Alex Nowitz, Swedish composers Malin Bång, Mattias Petersson and the Japanese composer Shintaro Imai. She played with the Anthony Braxton 12tet, which had its worldpremier on the Free Music Festival in Antwerp in August 2005. She has played and worked a.o. with Arto Lindsay, Tony Buck, Jim Denley, Chris Abrahams, Jack Wright, Axel Dörner, Andrea Neumann, Chris Dahlgren, Schwimmer, Ensemble Zwischentöne and the Walter Thompson Soundpainting Orchestra.
Bennett Hogg: The resistent violin
The project (still in an early stage) is to develop ideas for and build a violin that physically and electronically resists being played. It acts as a point of encounter between the player’s body and emotions, which have to physically struggle to produce a performance. The bow is connected to the violin at several points with very strong, elastic bands - up to 15 bands connected at different places on the bow and on the violin body. Each band has some kind of tension sensor at either end, which generates MIDI, or HDI data. The bands make it physically difficult to “express” oneself on the violin (and the violin is, of course, the symbol, par excellence of classical music expressivity!), and the data generated by the stretching of the bands is used to develop a software instrument that interferes and disrupts the sounds that are produced - these being relayed to the software and to loud amplification from a series of small contact mikes on the violin and the bow. Each mike will be transmitting a different quality of violin sound, the choice of which contact mike is active at any one time will also be determined by data coming from the stretch sensors. The addition of the technology thus subverts the expressivity of the violin in the physical and the sonic dimensions, and results in a performance style that moves between an aggressive struggle with the instrument, and a shuddering paralysis.
I am currently a lecturer in the music department of the University of Newcastle, in the UK. I am one of the main representatives for music and sound art at the new research institute “Culture Lab, Newcastle” directed by Sally-Jane Norman. My background is in contemporary music composition, including notated music for voices and ensembles, electroacoustic/electronic music with and without live performers, and free improvisation.
I am also active as an academic researcher, focussing mainly on the psychoanalytic understanding of the recorded human voice; in terms of historical research I am particularly interested in the interrlationship between surrealism, technology and the writings of Walter Benjamin; in terms of more contemporary applications of these ideas, I am fascinated by the complex interrelationships between physical gesture, sound morphologies and the notions of “performance”. I am also working on ideas about how we understand misfunctioning machines, and decaying media like old vinyl and electromagnetic tape in terms of surrealist notions of “the marvellous” and “the ruin” where, rather than the man-made signal “fading”, it is the medium itself which “returns”.
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PIRX electro-acoustic improvisation
Marion Wörle LAPTOP Maciej Sledziecki GUITAR
“How can realities be generated, which the intelligent beings inhabiting it can in no way distinguish from normal reality, but which are subject to different laws?”
Stanislaw Lem, “Summa Technologiae“
PIRX is an improvising working band, founded in 2004 by Marion Wörle and Maciej Sledziecki. The two musicians work as composers for film and contemporary music. They’re also active as organizers and instrumentalists. Among other things, they are organizing the concert series NACHTJOURNAL (“night journal”) in Cologne, a platform for musicians from the electronic field as well as those playing music on “conventional” instruments.
They are co-founders and driving force of the ZAM e.V. (Zentrum für aktuelle Musik / Platform for adventurous music). In 2007, they were artistic directors for the festival /computer.musik.instrument/ which was part of the “Music Triennale Cologne”. Besides, they are involved in the projects “StadtKlangNetz” and “nimm!” as lecturers.
PIRX is working on a language of sound, which is based on interaction between digital and analogue sounds. The source material (which is mainly analogue) from the continually growing sound archive of Marion Wörle is being processed and developed by employing a multitude of electronic editing processes into the elements and raw material of their improvisations. This material has grown into a dynamic system which is able to communicate with traditional instruments. Maciej Sledziecki uses the guitar as sound generator and percussion instrument. Apart from generating melodies and harmonic structures with it, he also prepares it and makes subtle use of effects. These sounds form the raw material for the interactive collective improvisation between tonal and atonal poles. Marion uses STEIM’s LiSa software.
In 2006, PIRX has been nominated as one of the projects of „Musik Aktuell“ (Austria). Wörle and Sledziecki have been performing amongst others at STEIM/NL, and have collaborated with diverse artists and collectives, for example aufabwegen, Realtime Research, Paul Hubweber, Jeffrey Morgan, DJ Lenar (PL) and Achim Tang.
Emilio Espinosa, Michal Osowski, Külli Roosna
Research in the performance media communication
The project is a collaborative work of three artists/performers representing three media: sonic, visual and movement. Our aim is to develop a method of interacting and exchanging knowledge and skills for enriching our performance act. The characteristic attribute of the project is close cooperation aimed at working out the system integrating three media into unity. Currently we make use of different electronic instruments to produce sound and visuals with no electronic connection between them. One of the integrating factors would be development of a controller, which is common to all performers. Signal of speech can have this function. Speech controlling sound, image or video breaks the performer’s limitation of staying in fixed location with his performance devices/controllers, gives the performer the possibility of moving in the space, as there is no necessity of having direct touch with his devices, the touch comes through captured and sent wireless speech – “performer’s controller is in that case always with him”.
Looking for ways of interrelating different performance media, composer (Michal Osowski) developed the computer program measuring in real-time the energy of the particular frequency components of the speech signal. Data obtained in that way can be used to create interactive relation of the speech with other performance media, to translate speech into music or visuals.
Spoken text (particular sequences of words or syllables) has its unique patterns - configurations of spectral components and rhythmical progressions. Different sequences of text result in different configurations of those components – different sequences of data. Using that we might derive from speech uncountable number of controlling patterns: speech becomes a controller, which can be used as a controller of the change of the process occurring in other medium. The particular configuration of components resulted from particular fragment of speech can be converted into sequence or pattern of visual or sonic events.
Proceeding that way we want to find the method to integrate speech into performance, to utilize not only semantics of the speech but first of all its idiosyncratic exceptional internal characteristic – spectral and rhythmical structure.
The visual artist (Emilio Espinosa) is using one, two or three video cameras and a digital photo camera as image input to a video mixer. The cameras may take the other performers, or close ups of parts of them and their instruments, or available objects in the performing room, or different objects chosen by them. Some of the cameras have the characteristic to be able to send the image wireless to the video mixer, therefore adding an extra degree of mobility to those cameras. The video mixer sends the desired mix of images to a laptop computer. The image is processed and manipulated changing certain common color, saturation, hue, contrast, etc. filters, and also a process of de-fragmentation and re-accommodation of the image is being produced as desired by the visual artist performer. The resulting image is then projected to a wall or big screen by one or more beamers.
STEIM’s Frank Baldé presented the Wii Jam Session at Discovery08. This instrument was developed as a prototype for a children’s workshop with 2008 Artistic Advisor Tina Blaine at the Swazoom Children’s Art Center in the Bijlmer later in October.
(photo’s by Frank Baldé)
text from our mailing:
STEIM will be featured at Discovery 08, an event full of new ideas, new science and new ways to party, taking place on Friday 26th of September in NEMO, Amsterdam from 21:00 to 04:00
STEIM will present the Wii JamSessions, an interactive sound installation where the visitor participates in a rhythmic jamsession using their own vocal sounds. Also representing STEIM will be Toktek, performing solo and together with the band Hit Me TV.
admission fee: 10 euros
more info: http://www.discovery08.nl