Bis Zum Tod, Volksbuhne Berlin 20-21 Sept 2014

Posted in Announcement on September 13th, 2014 by admin

I am proud to announce my participation as musician in the Markus Öhrn/Nya Rampen/Institutet production “Bis Zum Tod”, premiering at the Volksbuhne in Berlin 20/21 September 2014.

http://www.volksbuehne-berlin.de/praxis/bis_zum_tod/?id_datum=8050

We will tour this production to Poznan (3/4 October), Malmö (7/8 November) and Helsinki (14/15 November).

Pictured: Linus Öhrn and Anders Carlsson

Photo: Christian Kleiner

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VIDEO: Experimental Sound Instruments Workshop, TAIK MediaLab Helsinki

Posted in Documentation on February 20th, 2013 by admin

Experimental Sound Instruments Workshop, TAIK MediaLab Helsinki from macumbista on Vimeo.

Students from my Experimental Sound Instruments workshop demonstrate their hand-made projects on the final day. Their instruments involved a variety of technologies, including Arduinos, solenoids, motors, transducers, pickups and amplifiers which I presented over the week. This workshop, which I give at the school annually, ran from 04-08 February 2013 at the TAIK MediaLab in Helsinki, Finland. The students presenting were Johanna Storm, Ari-Pekka Leinonen, Scott McGregor, Saku Kamarainen, Ana Gutierrez, Thomas Svedstrom and Rajeev Siewnath.

My next MLab workshop should be in Oct/Nov.

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Helsinki and Tallinn gig photos

Posted in Documentation on February 12th, 2013 by admin

Live set for analog synthesizer, speaker box, found objects and room, 09 Feb 2013, Kodu Bar, Tallinn Estonia. Photos by Terje Toomistu.

Live set for analog synthesizer, speaker box, found objects and room, 07 Feb 2013, Vapaan Taiteen Tila, Helsinki Finland. Photos by Antti Ahonen.

In the rush of CTM Fest and my annual Mechanical Sound Orchestra Workshop at TAIK (04-08 Feb 2013), I realized I completely forgot to post announcements of these two rather informal gigs here. Let’s hear it for my Facebook page, at least…

Thanks to Jukka Hautamäki, Ilpo Heikkinen, Lauri Hyvärinen, Taneli Viitahuhta, Ilia Belorukov, Antti Ahonen, John W. Fail, Marika Agu, Timo Toots and Terje Toomistu for their support in the various aspects of playing and documenting these two performances.

Now Playing

lawrence weschler-seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees: over thirty years of conversations with robert irwin[2008]
mika taanila-the future is not what it used to be[2002]
mika vainio-magnetite[2012]
nick cave and the bad seeds-push the sky away[2013]

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Regnskov 2012 in Copenhagen and Aarhus

Posted in Announcement on August 16th, 2012 by admin

Mads Bech Paulszewski-Hau and I will be running the “Rainforest” series of workshops at two events in Denmark next month: the LAK Festival in Copenhagen (6-9 September 2012) and the BY i BY Festival in Aarhus (14-16 September 2012). There are still spaces in both workshops, particularly the Aarhus one (which will be outdoors!), so please get in touch if you are interested at MACUMBISTA at the domain GMAIL dot COM.

Regsnkov 2012 is a contemporary re-interpretation of David Tudor’s series of compositions from the 1970′s entitled Rainforest. It uses various types of sonic transducers to play live sounds through a selection of resonant, found-metal objects in the performance space. A matrix mixer allows the sound from any of the performers to be sent to any of the objects, creating an immersive, tactile and spatial sonic experience.

The project is developed in a workshop format with up to 8 participants over a period of several days. The participants will work from the bio-acoustic model of an actual rainforest, where it is necessary for each species’ survival that they can both hear and be heard within their own niche of the busy forest soundscape.

You can download a PDF of information about the project here: http://macumbista.net/files/rainforest_overview.pdf

Other up and comings:

28 Sep – [w/Vanessa Ramos-Velasquez] Basic Electricity, Berlin DE (more on this soon!)
9-13 Oct – TONEWHEELS, Le festival accès(s), Pau FR
17 Oct – TONEWHEELS, RIAM Festival, Marseilles FR
22-26 Oct – Neanderthal Electronics, Danish Art Academy, Aarhus DK (TBC!)
29 Oct-02 Nov – Neanderthal Electronics, Nordic Sound Art, Copenhagen DK
05-09 Nov – Neanderthal Electronics, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki FI
16 Nov – TONEWHEELS, VisionSonic, Paris FR (TBC!)

Now Playing

crippled black phoenix-(mankind) the crafty ape[2012]
wovenhand-live at roepaen[2012]

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SoundBoxes Helsinki Info + Video

Posted in Documentation on June 18th, 2012 by admin

The MUU Gallery requested info-sheets for each of the instruments I am showing there. A whole weekend of vector-scribbling later, I present these examples of my mad Inkscape skillz as testament to the fact that I probably should get more sunlight this summer…

Download the PDF catalog with photos here:
derek_holzer-soundboxes_catalog_2012.pdf

Wolf Tone Box
Derek Holzer
2012

This box was created from a found children’s karaoke toy specially for the MUU Invisible Time exhibition, Helsinki (FI). It features a voice-changing circuit, condenser microphone and loudspeaker mounted in an antique wooden box, and has been equipped with “bend points” where physical contact with the circuit changes the sound.

1) On/Off Switch
2) Volume Knob
3) Input Jack
4) 9V Power Input: for battery or wall adaptor
5) Speaker
6) Bend Points: touching two of the screws together with your finger can “bend” the sound of the instrument, or flip one of the switches to hold a certain sound
7) Condenser Microphone with Flexible Neck

To Play:

A) Press the On/Off Switch, you will see a small light above the Speaker when the box is activated
B) Speak into the Condenser Microphone
C) Adjust the Volume Knob to lower the level, raise it or create feedback
D) Feedback can be also created by lowering the Microphone nearer to the Speaker
E) Experiment with the Bend Points using either fingers on the screws or the switches
F) If the sound dies out, speak into the microphone again

This instrument is for sale, price EUR 260.

Macumba Benjolin
Derek Holzer
2012

The Benjolin is a circuit designed by Rob Hordijk from the Netherlands. It contains two oscillators (one slow and one fast), a band-pass filter and a circuit Hordijk calls the “Rungler”, which allows chaotic feedback possibilities between the different parts of the circuit. This one has been customized with an old silverware case, a built-in amp and speaker and a patchbay for further chaotic interactions.

1) On/off Switch
2) Inputs: the four left-hand-side jacks are inputs, don’t unplug these. The black connection with the red cable connects to the speaker. The other input jacks connect to different parts of the oscillators.
3) Outputs: the eight right-hand-side jacks are outputs, play with these. The black jack is the output of the filter. The others others are different parts of the oscillators.
4) Volume knob
5) Output jack, for plugging into other SoundBoxes
6) Speaker: this is turned off when something is plugged into the output jack
7) Filter Controls: these will only change the sound when using the black output jack
8) Oscillator Controls: these change the frequency and chaos levels of the oscillators

To Play:

A) Flip the On/Off switch upwards
B) Adjust the Volume Knob
C) Create feedback by plugging the blue cables from the left-hand side into the different output jacks on the right hand side
D) Listen to different parts of the synthesizer connecting the red cable from the black jack on the left-hand side to any of the output jacks on the right-hand side
E) Use the top row of knobs to adjust the two oscillators
F) Use the bottom row of knobs to adjust the filter, and remember you only hear the filter when the red cable is connected to the black output jack
9) The Macumba Benjolin requires two VERY FRESH 9V block batteries to operate properly

This instrument is from the personal collection of the artist. Customizations of many electronic music circuits are available on request.

M79 Super
Derek Holzer
2009

The smallest synthesizer I have ever made, the M79 Super was built during the Piksel Neanderthal Electronics workshop in Bergen (NO). Here, three oscillators, a tiny speaker and two sound-reactive LEDs are placed inside a beautiful, old, palm-sized flashlight from the 1970′s.

1) On/Off Switch
2) Third Oscillator On/Off Switch
3) Oscillator Frequency Control Knobs
4) Output Jack: to connect the M79 Super to larger speakers
5) Very Small Loudspeaker
6) Two Audio-reactive LEDs: one of these displays the waveform of Oscillators 1+2, and the second displays the waveform of Oscillator 3

To Play:

A) Slide down the On/Off Switch located on the side of the object
B) Flip the Third Oscillator On/Off Switch up or down to activate/deactivate Oscillator 3, and notice what effect it has on the sound
C) Adjust the frequencies of the different Oscillators
D) You can make a filter by covering the small Loudspeaker with a cupped hand or your mouth

This instrument is for sale, price EUR 130.

Electric Spring II and III
Derek Holzer
2012

These are simple, resonant drone boxes using the feedback between a simple contact microphone with a coil-spring and the speaker to make rich harmonic sounds or metallic reverb effects. These were created in an edition of three for the Electric Spring Festival in Huddersfield (UK).

1) On/Off Switch
2) Volume Knob
3) Input Jack: other kinds of microphones or instruments could also be connected here
4) Contact Microphone + Spring: this microphone picks up physical vibrations rather than sounds from the air. It has a resonant coil spring attached to it which makes the drone and also can be used as an “antenna” to search for new sounds
5) Speaker

To Play:

A) Turn Volume Knob all the way to the left
B) Place the Contact Microphone across the Speaker
C) Flip the On/Off switch upwards
D) Adjust the Volume Knob until you start to hear a tone
E) Adjust the position of the Contact Microphone + Spring and the Volume Knob to find new sounds
F) You may gently touch the Speaker with the Spring, but please do not press hard or you will damage the Speaker

These instrument are for sale, price EUR 80 each.

SoundBox I
Derek Holzer
2010

This was the first SoundBox instrument I created in 2010. It uses feedback and the physical vibration of the speaker cone to create different kinds of chaotic sounds.

1) On/Off Switch
2) Volume Knob
3) Input Jack: other kinds of microphones or instruments could also be connected here
4) Speaker
5) Contact Microphone: this microphone picks up physical vibrations rather than sounds from the air. It has two “antenna” attached to it to search for new sounds.

To Play:

A) Turn Volume Knob all the way to the left
B) Place the Contact Microphone across the Speaker
C) Flip the On/Off switch upwards
D) Adjust the Volume Knob until you start to hear a tone
E) Adjust the position of the Contact Microphone and the Volume Knob to find new sounds
F) Place some of the found objects provided in the speaker and see how the vibrations move them around and change the sound

This instrument is from the personal collection of the artist, and is used frequently in performance.

SoundBox II
Derek Holzer
2010

The second SoundBox I built, this one remains a bit incomplete–it looks better than it functions. Besides the normal SoundBox microphone/amplifier/speaker feedback loop, this one was intended to have a small synthesizer circuit which would alter the sound as it passed through. This part didn’t work out so well, but I left the controls to remind me that one day I should fix it!

1) On/Off Knob
2) Three Useless Controls
3) Input Jack: for Contact Microphone or other sound sources
4) Speaker
5) Contact Microphone + Spring: this microphone picks up physical vibrations rather than sounds from the air. It has a resonant coil spring attached to it which makes the drone and also can be used as an “antenna” to search for new sounds

To Play:

A) Turn the On/Off Knob clockwise, you will feel a click when the box turns on, but please don’t expect it to control the volume as well!
B) Don’t bother with the Three Useless Controls either, they’re only decorations at this point
C) Adjust the position of the Contact Microphone + Spring to find new sounds
D) You may gently touch the Speaker with the Spring, but please do not press hard or you will damage the Speaker

This instrument is from the personal collection of the artist, and is a work-in-progress.

Derek Holzer: live SoundBox Performance at MUU Gallery, Helsinki 07 June 2012. Video by Rita Leppiniemi.

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Wolf-Tone Box + Helsinki Report

Posted in Documentation on June 9th, 2012 by admin

Wolf-Tone Box

Wolf-Tone Box, Derek Holzer 2012. Microphone, speaker, voice-changing circuit, antique wooden box. Created for the “Invisible Time” show at MUU Gallery, Helsinki, 8-21 June 2012. For sale, inquire here.

Helsinki Report

The MUU opening went very nice, a good crew running the space with a nice selection of artists. My favorite moment was when a little girl, aged four and very shy at first, quickly learned how to play one of the SoundBoxes better than me! I brought 7 sound boxes in total, which remain available for visitors to experiment with for the next two weeks, as well as screened the nonlinearity and cryptography videos. Installation views below.

The travel was a bit rough, however. I’d been a bit sick the days before the flight, and when the plane landed in Helsinki, my left ear felt like it was going to explode. I asked a doctor, who said I might rupture my eardrum if I flew, and weighed the options of a trip by boat, bus and train back to Berlin. Things seemed best to use the airplane ticket the gallery already paid for, rather than spend money and time I don’t have on a 30+ hour overland journey. But the four hours I spent swallowing hard to keep my eardrum from bursting were pretty nerve-wracking…

Moral of the story: don’t fly with a flu. Trust me.

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Film by Maren Sextro (repost) + Helsinki show

Posted in Announcement, Documentation on June 2nd, 2012 by admin

Filmmmaker Maren Sextro created this portrait of me for Groove.de in May 2012. Together, we visited the flea market and my studio, and spoke about my approach to sound, performance, “circuit bending” (a term I rarely use to describe my own constructions), DIY electronics and self-education.

Maren was kind enough to send me an HD version so that I could present this without the disgusting advertising, so once again I am in her debt. Enjoy.

Helsinki Show

Next week I make a quick trip to Helsinki, where the MUU Gallery will be opening the latest “MUU for Ears” show. I will be showing one of the “nonlinearity suite” videos, playing a live set for small analog synth, soundboxes and found objects on 7 June and leaving a few artifacts there for the two-week run of the show. Some of these artifacts may be for sale. I will post more on this before I depart.

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back to civilization…

Posted in Announcement, Personal on January 12th, 2012 by admin


Near village of Mooste EE, 3 Jan 2012

Currently teaching a workshop for the TAIK Media Lab in rainy Helsinki after an amazing New Years trip to MOKS in southeast Estonia, where I walked, cooked, sauna’ed, ate and drank with friends and worked on some sound with Jelena Glazova from Riga. Her processed vocals vs my feedbacking soundboxes… Perhaps some glimpses of this project will make it online later on when I’m back in Berlin and have time to edit them.

I just confirmed two gigs, one Macumbista live set for Electric Spring in Huddersfield UK on 15 February (along with a two day workshop preceding this) and one TONEWHEELS performance and lecture for Sonores in Guimaraes PT on 27 April. I’d be very interested to hear from London people about activities around 16-19 February… pls get in touch!

Now Playing

hive mind-elemental disgrace[2011 spectrum spools]

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Hotels of Northern Europe

Posted in Documentation on March 11th, 2011 by admin

Yes indeed I have been traveling and working almost nonstop since the start of the Year. A quick rundown of my activities:

09-15 Jan 2011 – Mechanical Sound Instruments workshop, TAIK University of Art and Design, Helsinki FI

Workshop = awesome! Design students built Arduino-powered electro-acoustic instruments like this one below. I’ll be editing video docs I made in Helsinki soon.

Electro-Acoustic Musical Instrument from Palash on Vimeo.

Hotel room = passable. Töölö Towers is the University’s home for wandering academics, with a very institutional vibe, spotty wifi coverage and full length mirrors for me to shoot very serious-looking self portraits in…

18-21 Jan 2011 – Tuned City: sound+space workshop, Estonian Academy of Arts Media Dept, Tallinn EE

Workshop = 5.5 out of 10. I’m still figuring out what kind of tools are necessary to crack the shells of the Estonian oysters. After some prodding, most of the students really gave their best in making and discussing the recordings. One girl Facebooked and texted the entire workshop until I pointed out that her computer was “broken” and she’d be better off at home.

Hotel = decent. Maneezi house, guestrooms of the Estonian Arts Academy, has everything you would ever want in a post-Soviet flat…a long flight of stairs, some heavy metal doors, a warm radiator and even running water.

01-05 Feb 2011 — Regenwald2011 workshop+installation, West Germany/Club Transmediale, Berlin DE

Workshop = mostly good. Trying to wrangle seven very different artistic personalities into one piece in only five days is never easy. I have decided that giving them less freedom rather than more is the only solution. The audience response to the piece, on the other hand, was quite positive and enthusiastic.

Hotel = not applicable. One of the longest stretches I’ve been able to sleep in my own bed in ages!!!

07-11 Feb 2011 – Field Recording workshop, Royal Music Conservatory, Aarhus DK

Workshop = one of the best! Very high level of capabilities by these composition students at the Electronic Music department there. I gave them one hour to take three random one-minute field recordings from their neighbor and make a short piece out of them, and they all pulled it off! And that was only one of the exercises. If only every group I taught had their shit so together.

Hotel = comical. The Cabinn is a concept hotel, they told me. As near as I can figure, the concept was to make the hotel room itself as much like the sleeping couchette on an overnight train as possible.

A few weeks later I saw an exhibition of living/working spaces by French-Israeli artist Absalon at the KW Berlin. Made to the measure of his own body, and likely inspired by the fact that most of the artist’s short life was spent in the Israeli military, the constructions impressed me as the ideal prototype of future dehumanizing architecture for the 21st Century.

12-14 Feb 2011 – Tuned City:sound+space, Estonian Academy of Arts Architecture Dept, Tallinn EE

Workshop: another five and a half. The concept here was to teach architects to experience urban space through sound, and this worked pretty well. The students brought in recordings of various spaces around Tallinn for us to listen to and analyze. My mistake was in giving them “homework” for the last day. Despite assurances from everyone that they had time and energy to do it, only two came back the next day.

Also during this week I braved the -25C weather to investigate some locations for next summer’s Tuned City event, such as the lobby of the Linnahall, a disused auditorium/ice rink constructed for the 1980 Olympic games.

Hotel: deceptively posh. Somehow I was taken in by the spacious rooms, tall windows, tacky wallpaper and inoffensive framed prints of the Old Town Maestro. Until I realized that the strip-club-disco downstairs wouldn’t stop the party until 7am.

23-27 Feb 2011 – Neanderthal Electronics, NK Project, Berlin DE

Workshop = can I call this an 8? What should have been a warm homecoming was dampened by some kind of breakdown in publicity. The three guys that did show up for the workshop kicked some serious ass though, and made really nice boxes which they played the following Monday for the Experimontag at Madame Claude. Photos and such soon.

Hotel = forget it! I locked the door to my flat and stayed in bed for three whole days when all this was over.

Now Playing

ben frost-live at berghain, berlin 24.02.11
earth-angels of darkness, demons of light I[2011 southern lord]
eleh-radiant intervals[2011 important]
flower travellin’ band-anywhere[1970 philips]
tim hecker-ravedeath 1972[2011 kranky]

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Neanderthal Electronics at Ptarmigan, Helsinki

Posted in Documentation on March 20th, 2010 by admin

Images from the Neanderthal Electronics workshop at Ptarmigan, Helsinki, 13-15 March 2010. Thanks to John W. Fail of Ptarmigan and Antti Ahonen of Pixelache for putting the whole thing together, and for KOELSE for making some noise at the presentation as well.

Photos by Antti Ahonen.

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