Hungarian tour/post-ISEA

Posted in Text on August 28th, 2010 by admin

Hungarian Tour

From 31 August until 5 September, I will be joining András Nun (UH Fest, Budapest), Luka Ivanovic (Luka Toyboy, Beograd), Balázs Pándi (Merzbow drummer/A38, Budapest) and Péter Szabó (Jackie Triste, Budapest) for a tour of various locations in Hungary related to András’ work with human interest NGOs.

András has described the theme of our excursions as Poverty and Exclusion in Hungary–or–What Can an International Festival Representing Peripheral Music Do About the Problem of People Forced to the Periphery, How Can It Act Against Their Exclusion? and the project has tie-ins to the upcoming UH Festival in Budapest in October.

Our trip will take us through the cities/regions of Monor, Budapest, Esztergom, Vanyarc, Szomolya, Berettyóújfalu and Bicske and will end with a sound workshop for young Afghan refugees. A challenging situation to be sure, but one I look forward to!

ISEA Disasters

On the topic of challenging situations…I just returned from my participation in the KHM Heavy Matter show at ISEA 2010 in Dortmund. I had much harsher words lined up about the way this event unfolded, which I will refrain from putting into print.

Suffice to say that, in spite of massive infrastructural shortcomings and an almost complete lack of support from the venue (an investment-wreck shopping mall) or the organizations involved, I at least succeeded in playing one half hour set of extremely loud and chaotic analog synthesizer sound in the confines of a very small elevator. Photos and sounds soon…

ISEA Highlights

Besides this glorious waste of my own time and money, the weekend there was brightened by seeing exhibited projects by Natalie Bewernitz & Marek Goldowski, Aernoudt Jacobs, Yunchul Kim, Herwig Weiser, HC Gilje, Carsten Nicolai, Sophie Bélair Clément and Joyce Hinterding at the two major locations in Dortmund.

The Arctic Perspectives show organized by Hartware Medienkunst Verein at the Phoenix Halle was also mind-blowing in its scale, and could easily consume several days of attention with its collection of videos, field recordings, literature and architectural models.

Climbing around in the beautiful rust-scape of the abandoned factory next to the Phoenix Halle was certainly worth the trip, and seeing the collection of analog synths at Institute for Computer Music and Electronic Media (ICEM) in Essen-Werden was a memorable experience, even if it meant sitting through almost an entire day of dry, cliched electroacoustic compositions (sometimes with goddamned opera singers!) to get to that point. And finally props to the Estonians for You Must Relax – A Day Without the Mobile Phone, by Eve Arpo and Riin Rõõs. If only every day could be so nice!

Thanks go out to Servando Barreiro for being Da Roadie, and to Timo Toots for being Da Man!

Now Playing

bruno madernamusica elettronica[1994 stradivarius]
common eider, king eiderworn[2010 root strata]
david tudorneural synthesis nos. 6-9[1995 lovely]
earle brownselected works 1952-1965[2006]
grouperhold-sick 7″[2010 room40]
heart museumleaf[2010 mars pyramid]
heckerneu[2010 editions mego]
jan jelinek & masayoshi fujitabird lake objects[2010 faitiche]
keiji haino & pan sonicin the studio 2LP[2010 blast first petite]
mood organcalcinatio 52 x C13, vols. 9 & 10[2010 self-released][thx timm!]
nadjasky burial[2010 latitudes]
the dan people (ivory coast)dan masks[1993 ocora]
various artistsforge your own chains-heavy psychedelic ballads and dirges 1968-1974[2010 now-again]
various artistsmata la pena-a compilation of international music[2010 mississippi]
various artistsstring of pearls_jewels of the 78rpm era 1918-1951[2010 mississippi]
von goatseptic illumination[2010 nuclear war now!]

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Heavy Matter/ISEA Dortmund

Posted in Announcement on August 17th, 2010 by admin

From tomorrow, 18 August until Tuesday 24 August I will be in Dortmund Germany taking part in the Heavy Matter exhibition by the KHM Cologne for ISEA. I will perform on 19 August and 23 August, and you can find details of that performance below.

Heavy Matter
Westfalenforum Dortmund / Orchesterzentrum|NRW, Dortmund
20th to 29th of August 2010
Exhibition opening hours: daily 10:00-20:00

Opening @ Westfalenforum: Thursday 19 August 2010, 18:00
Performance evening @ Westfalenforum: Monday 23 August 2010, 20:00

At the turn of the 21st Century, new media has become a matter of course and the technology of electronic data processing is constantly being perfected. Just how immaterial is data really? Does it not carry a certain amount of weight, after all? In the exhibition – developed by students and members of the teaching staff of the KHM – the immaterial is exposed as “Heavy Matter”. Heavy does matter: objectively, physically and financially. Matter appears as an autonomous (disruptive) factor between transmitter and receiver.

Exhibition with the participation of:

Céline Berger, Jongwon Choi, Tobias Daemgen, Anna Gonzalez Suero, Akiro Hellgardt, Echo Ho/Lasse Scherffig, Derek Holzer, Hörner/Antlfinger, Sion Jeong, Sunjha Kim, Theresa Krause, Karin Lingnau, Ji Hyun Park, Jun Park, So Young Park, Laura Popplow, Martin Rumori, Miri Shin, Wonbaek Shin, Tine Tillman

Brückstraße 47
44135 Dortmund

Kampstraße 37-39
44137 Dortmund

Cthonian Cell Observation I (Continuous Pressure Wave for Elevator Car)

Sound Performance, 2010

An evening-long concert drawing on the underworld mythology of heavy metal and noise music for an audience of one, taking place in the narrow confines of an elevator car filled with an overpowering, physical mass of sound pressure.

More info on this performance here.

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Cthonian Cell Observation I @ KHM/ISEA 2010 Dortmund

Posted in Announcement on June 20th, 2010 by admin

Cthonian Cell Observation I (Continuous Pressure Wave for Elevator Car), 2010
A Sound Performance by Derek Holzer in the context of the KHM Heavy Matter exhibition at ISEA 2010, Dortmund

Self-made analog modular synthesizer, guitar amplifier, strobe lights

Opening: Thursday 19 August 2010, 19.00-22.00
Performance evening: Monday 23 August 2010, 19.00-22.00
Westfalenforum, Kampstr. 35 – 37, Dortmund, Germany

Drawing on the underworld mythology of heavy metal and noise music, Cthonian Cell Observation I is a three hour long concert for an audience of one. The performance takes place in the narrow confines of an elevator car filled with an overpowering, physical mass of sound pressure and blinding lights. A single person may be admitted to the space at a time, which is barely large enough to accommodate them, the performer and all the equipment necessary to make the performance. Those outside, hearing almost nothing, may guess at what kind of experience the listener inside is undergoing. But each one is unknowably alone once they step through the door.

Now Playing

kevin drummnecro acoustic 5cd box[2010 picadisk]

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Neanderthal Electronics Concert, Offenbach

Posted in Announcement on May 31st, 2010 by admin

Neanderthal Electronics workshop presentation
by students of the hfg Offenbach, Elektronische Medien
…plus Macumbista live analog electronics set

Monday 14 June 2010, 19:00-21:00
Waggon am Kulturgleis, Main riverbank near Isenburger Schloß, Offenbach

Neanderthal Electronics

The Neanderthal Electronics workshop involves 8-10 people with no previous background in electronics. They are shown how to use simple objects from our modern environment (resistors, capacitors, transistors, LEDs, integrated circuit chips…) to design and build their own personal, customized primitive noise synthesizers. Each is a tiny world of its own, using primitive analog computers in combination with feedback, sensors and audio inputs to create a unique sound. Even from the same plan, no two are alike!

Participants are encouraged to use found materials for the construction of their personal instrument, with an emphasis on discovering creative and physical methods of controlling the them. The workshop concludes with a group performance and an invitation to the audience to experiment with each of the instruments which have been created.

Info + photos/video:


Macumbista (aka Derek Holzer (1972)) is an American sound artist living in Berlin, whose current interests include DIY analog electronics, sound art, field recording and the meeting points of electroacoustic, noise, improv and extreme music. He has played live experimental sound, as well as taught instrument building and audio recording workshops across Europe, North America, Brazil and New Zealand.

Holzer is currently a fellow at the KHM (Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln) in Cologne.


Now Playing: Estonian Doom!!!

karl kellothe pharaoh of the north book[2004]
talboteos cdr[2010 self-released]
voogdemo cdr[2010 self-released](aitäh terje!)

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KHM, Cologne 14-18 Dec 2009

Posted in Announcement on December 12th, 2009 by admin

I’ll be back in Cologne next week for my fellowship at KHM. Two lecture/workshops have been planned…

Tuned City:Sound+Architecture lecture

(Will Schrimshaw’s “Little Helpers”, photo by poportis)

11.00-13.00, Monday 14 December 2009
Klanglabor, KHM, Cologne

“Tuned City – Between sound and space speculation” was an exhibition and conference project taking place from July 01.-05. 2008 in Berlin which proposed a new evaluation of architectural spaces from the perspective of the acoustic. In this lecture, we will see and hear some of the projects from the Tuned City event, as well as related projects covering the themes of Temporary Architecture for Sound, Buildings as Instruments and Composing the Cityscape. Following the lecture, from 14.00-18.00 the participants of the Materialize ISEA/Tuned City project will meet in a working group to discuss the projects and concepts shown.

The lecture is open to the public, however the working group is by arrangement with Materialize participants only.

Analog Synthesizer Workshop: Vocal Processing

Frequency plot of Doepfer Vocoder

(Frequency plot of Doepfer Vocoder module)

14.00-17.00 Thursday 17 December 2009
Klanglabor, KHM, Cologne

Building on the basic introductory workshop given in November, this special topic workshop will investigate using the Doepfer A-100 analog modular synthesizer for processing an external input–in this case the human voice. Modules such as the vocoder, ring modulator, envelope follower and various filters (voltage controlled & fixed frequency/equalizer) will be used to analyze and transform the sounds from a microphone. Previous knowledge of analog synthesizers, either from my earlier workshop or personal experience, is helpful since we will not spend much time explaining what was covered last time (voltage controlled oscillators, voltage controlled amplifiers, envelope generators, keyboards/sequencers, triggers/gates, etc etc).

Workshop instruction will be in English, and will be limited to 12 people. Preregistration required! Contact: derek AT THE DOMAIN

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Tiny Noise Cologne/Moers videos

Posted in Documentation on November 8th, 2009 by admin

Slowly recovering from two and a half weeks on the road! Played four gigs in three different countries, did several workshops and started my fellowship at KHM in Cologne… Video docs from the Cologne and Moers gigs are ready, and I have some great clips of the Bulgarian TONEWHEELS workshop+presentation waiting to get edited, I will post them soon. Enjoy…

15/17 NOVEMBER 2009

Tina Tonagel [de]
Saal5 [de]
Derek Holzer [usa/de]
RaumZeitPiraten [de]
RYBn [fr]
FrlLinientreu [de]
Robert Kondorosi [de]
Justice Yeldham [au]
EOSIN [pt]

Derek Holzer from Elektronen Toto on Vimeo.

TINY NOISE COLOGNE from Elektronen Toto on Vimeo.

Now Playing

Victor PelevinThe Clay Machine Gun [book]
Thomas PynchonInherent Vice [book][danke C, G & T!]
Даниил Хармс (Daniil Kharms) – various short stories
Matthew BarneyCremaster 2 [again…gotta love the death metal bees…]
C. Spencer Yeh – live last Friday at White Rabbit, Berlin
barn owlthe conjurer lp[2009 root strata]
barn owltransfiguration lp[2009 electric totem]
elmnemcatacoa[2009 digitalis]
black to commalphabet 1968[2009 dekorder]
eno moebius roedeliusafter the heat[1978 sky records]
heike vestermarine mammals and fish of lofoten and vesteralen[2009 gruenrekorder]
kevin drummimperial horizon[2009 hospital productions]
morbid angelthy kingdom come 7”[1988 splattermaniac]
oren ambarchia final kiss on poisoned cheeks vinyl[2009 table of elements]
peter wrightan angel fell where the kestrel hover[2009 spekk]
pyramids with nadjaself titled[2009 hydra head]
skullflowerbirthdeath ep[1988 broken flag]

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Tuned City Cologne at KHM

Posted in Announcement on September 29th, 2009 by admin


Klanglabor, Filzengraben 8-10, Hinterhof links
Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln, Cologne, Germany
Monday 19 October 19.00-20.00

Tuned City – Between sound and space speculation was an exhibition and conference project taking place from July 01.-05.2008 in Berlin which proposed a new evaluation of architectural spaces from the perspective of the acoustic. Event co-organizer Derek Holzer will present selected topics and documents from Tuned City, and introduce his TUNED CITY COLOGNE workshop to take place over the next several months at KHM.

More info on Tuned City can be found at:


Klanglabor, Filzengraben 8-10, Hinterhof links
Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln, Cologne, Germany
Tuesday 20 October & Wednesday 21 October 10.00-17.00

There are limited places in this workshop! Please register ahead of time with Martin Rumori: ..

This workshop–envisioned as a starting point towards the creation of a long term project aimed at ISEA 2010–aims at investigating the interrelation of sound, architecture and urban space in the city of Cologne.

The conceptual starting point of this workshop is two different but similar lexicons of the kinds of acoustic effects created in real environments. The first is Barry Truax’s Handbook of Acoustic Ecology (1978, second edition 1999, available online: and the second is Sonic Experience: A Guide to Everyday Sounds by CRESSON researchers Jean Francois Augoyard and Henry Torgue. Each work combines terminology from a number of disciplines, but most notably acoustics and sound/music composition, as a way of defining the acoustic effects and experiences found in the everyday soundscape.

Using these books as “field guides”, participants will seek out different examples of the various acoustic effects within the urban experience. From there, we could consider site-specific projects which call attention to these effects (the “urban intervention” component) and installation/performance projects which explore the sonic effects/features in a more controlled environment i.e. the gallery or concert hall (the “laboratory research” component”). My own expertise in environmental sound, soundscape composition, field recording and the Pure Data programming language will be a great asset to the students in any of these situations.

During the first two day session in October 2009, a “laboratory” day will introduce some of the tools and concepts of field recording, including binaural, stereo, quadraphonic, 5.1 and ambisonic/soundfield recording techniques. Following this, participants will explore the city of Cologne, putting the concepts and techniques discussed into action. Finally, after a critical listening session, post-production techniques will be explored to present, spatialize or manipulate the collected recordings. Later workshop sessions in Fall 2009 will concentrate on participant-initiated installations and site specific works.

Workshop Schedule

Tuesday 20 Oct

10.00-12.30: Lab session–discussing conceptual approaches to urban soundscape from Truax, Augoyard & Torgue + introduction to field recording techniques
12.30-13.30: Lunch
13.30-17.00: Field work–exploring/gathering urban sounds

Wednesday 21 Oct

10.00-12.30: Lab session–playback and discussion of recorded sounds
12.30-13.30: Lunch
13.30-17.00: Lab session–post-production editing, spatialization, manipulation of recorded sounds + discussions for future sessions


Derek Holzer [USA 1972] is a sound artist with a background in radio, webstreaming and environmental recording. His work focuses on the often unpredictable details to be found in field recordings and self-built analog electronic sound synthesizers, as well as strategies for collaborations and free and open source software such as Pure Data. He has released tracks under the Nexsound, Mandorla, Sirr, and/OAR and Gruenrekorder labels, and has co-initiated several internet projects for field recording and collaborative soundscapes including

Holzer has performed live, improvised electronic music in many venues and festivals in Europe, the US and Brasil. He is a fellow at Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln, Cologne during 2009-10.


Tuned City event, July 2008, from top:

* Anechoic Chamber at Technical University Berlin (St. Ander)
* Recording Studio, Funkhaus Nalepastrasse Berlin (Pablo Sanz)
* Curved Hallway, Funkhaus Nalepastrasse Berlin (Pablo Sanz)
* Acoustic Model, Staalplaat shop Berlin (Pablo Sanz)
* Recording gear, Chris Watson field recording workshop, Pfefferberg Berlin (Pablo Sanz)
* Participants, Chris Watson field recording workshop, Pfefferberg Berlin (Pablo Sanz)
* Recording gear, Chris Watson field recording workshop, Pfefferberg Berlin (Pablo Sanz)

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