Regular news items, research topics, concert reviews and reports from STEIM visits abroad.

STEIM Radio #7 at Concertzender: Chinese Experimental Music

Saturday, February 18th, 2012 by sniff

STEIM Radio #7 is up and streaming at concertzender. Below is the text for the broadcast.

Xiao He

“Slow-cooked pork, steamed shrimp dumplings and Mongolian hotpot”
While I cover my mouth to avoid breathing in the heavy smog, Yan Jun tells me that the underground scene in Beijing ended 10 years ago. “For me, living in Beijing is like training.”

Dajuin Yao treats me to the most amazing pork dish while his students at the National Art Academy in Hangzhou tell me with bright eyes about their brand-new hacker space.

After hopelessly wandering through restaurants, shops, and people lined-up for mysteriously looking drinks, we finally find the Art & Culture Outreach bookstore. As we enter a small room filled with books, one-off art work and independent CDs, Dennis Wang cautiously approaches and says “Welcome to Hong Kong.”

Chung-Han Yao greats me with a big grin when I arrived for soundcheck at the Taipei Moca, he then returns to his serious look and points to a set of robot arms attached to acid filled test tubes and says, “That’s who you’re playing with.”

In late 2011 and early 2012, I travelled to East Asia and had a chance to meet some dedicated artists and organizers in experimental music and sound art. This mix is made from works that I collected on this trip through swapping CDs with these people.

Most pieces are intimate, harsh, and compressed reflecting a very personal audio space that they inhabit and work in. It’s a stark contrast to all the grand scale projects and cheap knock-offs we are so used to seeing coming from this part of the world.

Mixed by Takuro Mizuta Lippit

1. Gaoshou Gaoshou Gaogaoshou / Minkoku Hyakunen
2. Music for listening on the moon / Yan Jun
3. Auditory Scenes: A Morning in Mt. Davis / Edwin Lo
4. Eronz335 / Zhou Pei
5. Unhearable / Wang Chaugcun
6. Fugitive / Torturing Nurse
7. Signal to Noise / Samson Young
8. / Dennis Wong
9. Cinnabar Red Drizzle / Dajuin Yao
10. Live at Santos Party House in New York / Xaio He
11. Toy Ships / Wuwei & Ulrich Morits
12. C / No One Pulse
13. PNF / Chi
14. Leili Fengxing / Shanghai Sound Unit
15. 2002/07/14 / Feng Hao
16. Evening has arrived / Cheewei
17. Dino the Superstar / Minkoku Hyakunen
18. Untitled / Chung-Han Yao
19. Frong Spraying / Goh Lee Kwang
20. Book of Hell / Zai Kuning, Otomo Yoshihide, Dickson Dee
21. Teryujin Harvest Festival / Minkoku Hyakunen
22. Live in Washington / Xaio He

Help us research Android phone sensors

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 by Jon

STEIM is doing some research into the sensitivity and range of sensor components in Android-based phones and we need your help. If you’d like to be part of the research, all you have to do it install a little testing app and send us the results. Once we’ve collected a good amount of data on the phones’ sensors we’ll post it all online for the benefit of Android hackers everywhere.

How to contribute:
If you have an Android phone, please install this little sensor test program, and send an email to research [at] steim [dot] nl with the following information:

- your phone model

- The chip used for each of your sensors (below the sensor it will name the chip that is used, for example – Accelerometer / BMA150 3-axis accelerometer)

Many thanks!

STEIM team

City Velocities – Body Speeds

Sunday, January 29th, 2012 by Jon

NIMk, Sonic Acts and STEIM are proud to announce the new joint Artist in Residence project City Velocities – Body Speed by Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec. The installation will be presented as part of the Sonic Acts – Travelling Time exhibition at NIMk from Februari 23 – April 15, 2012.

City Velocities – Body Speeds is a project focusing on tactile experience of travel speed in urban environment. In the time of digital mediation and visualization of all real and physical, the project insists on the conviction to offer a first person physical experience of an omnipresent but invisible phenomena of speed. Resisting to offer an interpretation, it rather embodies the phenomena – creating the experience and thus confronting the visitor with its existence.

The project is supported by the Mondriaan Fund


Trams, velocity meters, fans, wind, custom-made software.
When traversing the city by means of public transportation, we are sitting or standing still, but actually our bodies are moving. We inhabit a mobile public space and by that we also inhabit the invisible dimension of speed. At this moment, we are in a contradictory situation – still and passive, yet in motion. We perceive the passing cityscape as if it is moving in front of our eyes, and the only physical experience of the speed we are traveling with, is reduced to slight jerks and tilts of our bodies and to a mild sensation of the changing pressures in our stomachs. For the rest, the dimension of speed we inhabit remains imperceptible, which in turn obscures the perception of close relation and interdependence between movement, time and energy.
City Velocities – Body Speeds is a project focusing on this ambiguous moment. It aims to make the speed tangible in order to create a physical awareness of it.
Abstract and concrete at the same time, the installation mediates between physical travel movement and its lived experience, creating a heightened awareness of the existence of dimension of physical speed we inhabit, and thus enhancing and articulating its presence in contemporary city.

In its first version, the project involves measuring velocities of several trams in Amsterdam, streaming the data to the exhibition space in real time and recreating them by several powerful fans.
By focusing on tram transport, which is seen as being at the intersection between planed schedules and spontaneous unpredictabilities of the street life, the installation uncovers a particular dynamics of lived intensity of a city as an organism.


Sonic Acts XIV – Travelling Time is a four-day festival of concerts, performances, lectures, presentations and exhibitions taking place at and with Paradiso, de Balie, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, NIMk, SMART Project Space, STEIM, Temporary Stedelijk 3 and public space in Amsterdam from 23-26 February 2012.

Titled Travelling Time, this year’s festival offers an intense experience of time and explores radical ideas relating to time. Time is a complex and ambiguous concept. Ongoing technological developments continually change our notions of time. Communication networks operate at light speed and computers process data in real time without human mediation, resulting in a gap between machine time and the human experience of it. Music and the other arts enable us to investigate the nature of time by making the concept tangible, and by changing or intensifying our experience of time. Art is a time machine. Sonic Acts XIV is a journey through time.

The exhibition at NIMk presents installations and films that explore time, by Julien Maire, Juliana Borinski, Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec, Philipp Lachenmann, Joe Gilmore, and others.

Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec (SI/NL) is an artist and musician based in Amsterdam working with invisible ephemeral phenomena and the notion of space. His artistic practice is a poetic exploration of relationships between transitory and temporal flows like sound and weather phenomena and architectural and social spaces they inhabit.
In his installations, he makes architecture sensitive to its immediate ephemeral surroundings and enhances the temporal dimension of architecture by creating situations where the outside and inside, the unpredictable and constructed, the permanent and temporal, time and space converse.
His works encompass interdisciplinary and mixed media installations, sound interventions and electro acoustic music.
He has shown and performed in Kapelica Gallery – Ljubljana, Ars Electronica Festival – Linz, AV Festival – Newcastle, Museum of Modern Art – Ljubljana, MusemsQuartier, Vienna, amongst others.
In 2010 his work Virtual Mirror – Rain got awarded Hybrid Arts Honorary Mention at Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria.

Help support STEIM by becoming a friend

Friday, December 23rd, 2011 by Jon

Dear friends, colleagues, and lovers of experimental music.

We are running a donation campaign to help raise funds for our ongoing work and short-term restructuring. Things must change in the face of the shifting political climate in the Netherlands.

If you like what we do and want to help us do more of it – please consider becoming a Friend of STEIM. You simply pay 50 Euros a year to become a Friend. It’s a small token of support so that we can still be here for you the next time you need us.

STEIM has always seen itself not primarily as an institution but as a cultural network. Our friends have always been what made it all possible and interesting. If you’ve been touched by STEIM at some point we hope you’ll find the generosity to work with us to play this transition through.

Donations can be made by following this link.

Please spread the word, and happy holidays!

This time its Indonesia! The Future Sounds of Folk

Monday, December 5th, 2011 by sniff

STEIM’s never ending quest to explore and connect the deepest corners of underground experimental music continues. Last month’s SOUND TRIANGLE with Korea was a huge success (checkout photos from Seoul and Amsterdam), and in December, after two years of preparation, we start The Future Sounds of Folk project.


“The Future Sounds of Folk is not ethnomusicology for the faint-hearted; rather it is a journey to experience and rediscover the history and tradition of folk, not as the past, but one with a future, and on that would appear well worth waiting for” The Wire, August 2010

What is musical heritage with a contemporary vision? What is it’s ever-changing impact on contemporary forms of creativity. These were the questions we felt that weren’t asked in discussions and projects that dealt with preservation of tradition and cultural heritage. We wanted to see new things come out of the old. This is when we met Marc Chia, a Singaporien digital musician who was living in Rotterdam at the time.

Marc wanted to explore an unique experimental approach to musical traditions that reflected both his personal practice and the state of electronic and electro-acoustic music. He initiated The Future Sounds of Folk project in 2009, and STEIM supported his field work in Indonesia in 2010 to search for innovative musicians and a distint form of local music.

Marc Chia writes in his reportage:
“Since the first of January 2010, I commenced fieldwork on the island of Java in Indonesia. Initially, I tried to organize some workshops with local grassroots organizations to gather mu- sicians, historians, musicologists, composers, environmentalists and social workers to discuss about issues that they feel have impact on their tradition and folk music. This lead to collaborations with local musicians and renowned musicologist Mr Endo Suanda.

Subsequently, I opened an art space in Yogyakarta called The UnifiedField to organize more activities for The Future Sounds Of Folk. Together with my partner Marta Moreno Muñoz we organized a series of events that featured both international and local experimental audio visual work.

I believe that the most interesting developments in contemporary Indonesian music come from the outside of the traditional institutions and from the underprivileged musicians like Jimbot and Wukir. They are connecting with a non-mainstream tradition, bringing in Sundanese influences into their music which has been largely neglected by the Jakarta-centric modernization.”

When Marc started sending us footage from his new collaborations we were really blown away. It wasn’t cheesy world music that we associate so strongly now when we hear of folk meets electronics, it was music that was made from exploratory musicians coming together to make something new. It was music that sounded like no other.

Early this year we worked on a grant proposal to bring some of these musicians with Marc to the Netherlands. The ideas was to showcase them as well as create a musical meeting with Dutch musicians. Thank to the gracious Performing Arts Fund NL (FPK) we have been able to organize a 4 city tour in prestigious venues. The full program with information on the participating artists can be seen here. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to see these amazing musicians from South-East Asia!


Thursday, October 27th, 2011 by sniff

SOUND TRIANGLE is a project initiated by LIG Art Foundation and STEIM to exchange experimental sound artists and performers from each of their networks. From November 1 – 5, six artists and researchers from STEIM visit Seoul to teach workshops and perform concerts. The following week five korean artists come to Amsterdam for an Artist-in-Residency at STEIM and a series of concerts in the area.

Byungjun Kwon performing at STEIM, 2010

The project was spearheaded by former STEIM staff Byungjun Kwon (he designed the Sonic Juggling Balls among many other instruments between 2008 – 2011) and Artistic Director Takuro Mizuta Lippit’s connection with the emerging Korean underground scene. Kwon being somewhat of a legend in Seoul’s alternative music scene from the 90′s developed a completely new practice and association with sound through his studies and work period in the Netherlands. Since his return to Korean in summer of 2011, he is pursuing new directions through collaborating with local artists in Seoul.

Sato Yukie, another central figure in Korea’s underground scene first played in Amsterdam at an event organized by Kwon in 2008

In the last couple of years, Hankil Ryu has been very active in both bringing foreign artists to Korea and traveling abroad to perform himself. Similar to Yan Jun from Beijing, through his organizing, performing and writing he has become a crucial figure in connecting the outside world to the mysterious local underground scene. For SOUND TRIANGLE he coordinated the concert program at LIG Art Hall.

Hankil Ryu at Cafe OTO / London, 2010

STEIM will bring Alex Nowitz, Hans W Koch, Nina Boas, dj sniff, Jon Reus and Frank Baldé for 1 week in Korea. The program consists of 3 workshops, 1 lecture and 2 concert nights. See full program here (in Korean).

Hans W. Koch STEIM residency, 2010

From Nov 7 – 18, Hankil Ryu, Byungjun Kwon, Chulki Hong, Joonyong Choi and Swaan Che will come to STEIM working in the studios on various projects and perform a series of concerts. They conclude their residency with a performance in Amsterdam at SMART PROJECT SPACE. See their full schedule here.

Hankil Ryu, Joonyong Choi, Chulki Hong STEIM residency 2010

Thank you!

Sunday, October 16th, 2011 by sniff

The STEIM Festival was a great success, every program – concerts, workshops and symposium was sold out for all 3 days. Thank you to all the vistors, participants and artists! Photos from the festival can be seen here.

Tom Johnson & Gandini Juggling

Takuma Watanabe

Festival starts – live blogging and stream

Monday, September 26th, 2011 by sniff

the festival will be streamed and live blogged here!

Festival previews

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011 by sniff

Check out the preview videos of some of the projects that will be premiered at the festival.

Tom Johnson and Gandini Juggling

Alex Nowitz Shells


STEIM Fanfare Instruments

HANDMADE MUSIC line-up confirmed

Monday, September 19th, 2011 by sniff

We received an overwhelming number of submissions to our open call for the Handmade music session at Patterns + Pleasure Festival next week. Thank you to everyone who submitted! Unfortunately, we could only feature a handful of projects due to space and equipment restrictions. See the line up here.