Macumbista Live

“Keine Schönheit ohne Gefahr” — Einstürzende Neubauten (1987)

[Live in Helsinki, 07.02.2013, photo by Antti Ahonen]

Several years ago, I largely abandoned the digital sound world to spend time building a modular analog synthesizer–the Macumbista Modular–which reinterprets and hybridizes the forms and functions of the legendary Serge and Buchla systems from the 1960s and 70s. During my improvisational performances, I summon the chaotic, generative powers of this machine to explore the physical affects of volume, frequency and complexity within a given space. For fans of Maryanne Amacher, Bernard Parmegiani, Eliane Radigue and Slayer.

Many of the sounds produced by the synthesizer result from several different types of non-linear feedback processes, and my live performance is often about making interventions into this feedback loop, to destabilize it and allow new chaotic patterns to arise and develop. Performing with such an instrument is always a struggle between finding and losing control. Without the risk of failure, no art can be called “experimental”.

[Live in Tenerife, 2011]

Besides the Macumbista Modular, I also use various SoundBoxes, similar to the ones built by participants in my workshops, to create feedback, amplify small found objects and provide a quieter, localized acoustic counterpoint to the dense and sometimes overwhelming sounds of the synthesizer coming through the PA system.

[Live in Tallinn, 09.02.13, photo by Terje Toomistu]

[Score for Section IV of ExperiMontag Performance, Berlin 10.03.13.]

Derek Holzer-ExperiMontag set-11.03.13(edit)

Solo performance for self-made analog synthesizer, speaker box, found objects and room @ ExperiMontag (Madame Claude), Berlin 11 MAR 2013. Edited and mixed to be played at maximum volume.

To see all my blog posts with announcements and documentation of previous performances, please use this link: