30% PhD Seminar

Posted in Announcement on March 7th, 2022 by admin

Derek Holzer 30% PhD seminar: 11th March, 11am (GMT +1)

Discussant: Professor Thor Magnusson, University of Sussex

Contact me at idholzer AT kth DOT se for a Zoom link

Title: Historically Informed Audiovisual Synthesis

Abstract: This project explores vintage audiovisual synthesis technology from the 1960s and 1970s used in Sweden at the Royal College of Music (KMH), Elektronmusikstudion (EMS), Swedish national radio (SR) and television (SVT), and in the private studios of composers such as Ralph Lundsten and Leo Nilsson. Specific examples of these technological artifacts have been archived by the Swedish Performing Arts Agency (Statens Musikverket) and the Performing Arts Museum (Scenkonstmuseet). A number of these instruments are unique specimens which represent visionary, idiosyncratic, and often commercially unsuccessful attempts to reinvent production methods of creative media according to specific visions of the future. Their uniqueness as heritage objects under conservation has also restricted public access to many of them. We propose that, if the original instruments no longer exist or cannot be maintained in usable conditions for artists and designers to work with, then contemporary re-enactments of these instruments can be produced. Through an iterative design process involving artists and designers, we hope to create instruments which renew historical creative visions and transcend the technical obsolescence into which many of them fell.

We aim to address the following research questions:

How can the ethics and affordances of a historical creative media instrument be re-enacted within a contemporary context, using contemporary technical means?

What does a user of these historically-informed instruments gain from such a re-enactment?

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Sounds of Futures Passed workshop

Posted in Announcement on November 11th, 2020 by admin

Henrik Frisk and myself are proud to announce a unique opportunity for students of KMH, KTH, and Konstfack to get involved with ongoing research into the history of electronic music in Sweden. The Sounds of Futures Passed workshop invites composers, engineers, and designers of sonic possibilities to investigate rare and unusual sound synthesis instruments formerly used at the Kungl. Musikhögskolan and Elektronmusikstudion EMS Stockholm.

We will speculate on what kind of aspirations for the musical future might have gone into the design and construction of these devices in the past, and on what sort of ideas about the use of sound instruments we can take from them into our own musical futures.

The workshop takes place over three ZOOM sessions (01 DEC, 08 DEC, 15 DEC), with team work taking place at KMH during the days between the meetings to compose with and analyze the functions of one specific instrument, the DATATON SYSTEM 3000 designed by Björn Sandlund in the 1970’s.

Students can send questions or register their interest in participating by email to idholzer AT THE DOMAIN kth.se and henrik.frisk AT THE DOMAIN kmh.se with the subject line: SYNTH WORKSHOP

This is the first in a series of investigations, each focused on a different historical device from the collected archives of EMS, Statens Musikverket, and the Scenkonstmuseet, with the goal of producing new, historically-informed sound synthesis instruments and interfaces. The project is supported by the Swedish Research Council/Vetenskapsrådet.

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On the road in OCT-NOV-DEC 2017

Posted in Announcement on October 16th, 2017 by admin

05.10 – Vector Synthesis, SIMULTAN Festival, Timisoara RO (pictured)

09-10.10 – Field recording workshop, 7 DAYS of SOUND, Klaipeda LT

13.10 – Vector Synthesis, Meq Festival, Centre Dramatique National de Montpellier, Montpellier FR

14.10 – SoundBoxes workshop, Meq Festival, Centre Dramatique National de Montpellier, Montpellier FR

11.11 – Vector Synthesis workshop + performance, sound art festival, Copenhagen DK

18.11 – Vector Synthesis, Piksel Festival, Bergen NO

22.11 – Vector Synthesis, MuTe Festival, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki FI

24.11 – Vector Synthesis, Noisy November, Viljandi EE

27-29.11 – Vector Synthesis workshop, Piksel Festival, Bergen NO

04-10.12 – SoundBoxes workshop [w/ Björn Eriksson], Hola folkhögskola, Prästmon SE

11-15.12 – Neanderthal Electronics workshop [w/ Jeroen Vandesande], RITCS Academy, Brussels BE

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Tour Dates SEPT-OCT 2015

Posted in Announcement on August 14th, 2015 by admin


My autumn tour plans from the Low Lands to the Wild Wild West to the Great White North are 100% finalized! Hope to see some of y’alls in some of these here places….

02-04 SEPT:::SoundBoxes workshop + Macumbista live, (kuS) Kunstencentrum Signe, Heerlen, NL

22-26 SEPT:::SoundBoxes workshop + A.LIVE performance (w/ Vanessa Ramos-Velasquez), The Paseo, Taos NM, USA

01 OCT:::SoundBoxes Workshop, University of Colorado, Boulder CO, USA

02-03 OCT:::SoundBoxes workshop, Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, El Paso TX, USA

05-15 OCT:::ToolMaker Residency, Signal Culture, Owego NY, USA

19-23 OCT:::Experimental Sound Instruments workshop, MediaLab/Aalto University, Helsinki, FI

26-30 OCT:::SoundBoxes workshops, Hola folkhögskola, Prästmon Västernorrland, SE

I would also like to announce that Ruth Timmermans has taken up my booking activities as of AUG 2015. Please contact her at THECULTURALOPERATOR at_the_domain GMAIL dot COM for workshop, lecture and concert engagements.

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Macumbista May Events

Posted in Announcement on May 7th, 2015 by admin

nyak 4
PETRA DUBACH & MARIO VAN HORRIK [NL / Instrumente, Objekte]
DEREK HOLZER [USA / DIY Analog-Electronics]

mex im Künstlerhaus
Sunderweg 1, 44147 Dortmund
Workshop EUR 25/Concert 6 Euro


FRIDAY 22 MAY 2015
Unconscious Archives 17: Derek Holzer, Hangjun Lee & Chulki Hong, Ewa Justka, Rose Kallal
DEREK HOLZER (Texas/Berlin)
EWA JUSTKA (Poland/London)

Apiary Studios, 458 Hackney Road, London, E2 9EG
£8 advance, £10 door


SoundBoxes Workshop With Derek Holzer: A Two Day Instrument Building Workshop
Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th May
Apiary Studios, 458 Hackney Road, London, E2 9EG
12pm-5pm each day
£55 per person for 2 day workshop


SUNDAY 31 MAY 2015
BIS ZUM TOD (2014)

Bergsgatan 29
214 22 Malmö
Entrance: 195:- U26/stud 130:-

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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.


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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Posted in Announcement on May 16th, 2013 by admin


DATE: 25 May 2013
TIME: 12pm – 7pm
LOCATION: Stpln, Stapelbäddsgatan 3, Malmö (map at : http://stpln.se/ )
PUBLIC PRESENTATION: 8pm (please invite your friends!)
COST: 100 SEK (plus one box to bring, see below)

Strictly limited to 12 places! Please register by sending an email to ljudlek (at) gmail (dot) com with ‘Soundboxes Workshop’ as the subject.


Discover the hidden sonic qualities of objects from our everyday world in this hands-on workshop, combining the arts of electronics, noise, sculpture and collage. The basic elements we will employ are a wooden box, a speaker, a small audio amplifier and a contact microphone. To this, brave box-builders will add their own found objects, graphics, images, memories and ideas to create a unique electroacoustic cabinet of curiosities.


I will provide most of the tools and materials necessary for constructing the box, however there are a few things you should bring yourself:

1) A BOX (REQUIRED): This should be made of thin wood or very strong cardboard. No metal! This box should be a minimum of 10x10x4cm. Cigar boxes, small suitcases, instrument cases or jewelry/silverware boxes are all good things to look for.

IMPORTANT: The lid of the box should be no more than 5mm thick, to allow the hardware to be mounted.

2) A SPEAKER (OPTIONAL): If you want a speaker larger than the 92mm ones I will provide, you can salvage one from old hi-fi systems, clock radios or portable stereos. Please make sure it fits in the box you have chosen!

3) FOUND/SOUND OBJECTS (OPTIONAL): Please bring as many found objects as you can to decorate your soundbox or use as a sound source via the contact microphone. See VIDEOS and PHOTOS links below for inspiration.






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

This workshop has been organized by James Brewster with support from Kulturbryggan.

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Stockholm 13 April

Posted in Announcement on March 29th, 2013 by admin


Konspirationen #4.13

Jelena Glazova, Derek Holzer, Barakah Troum, Bengt Henrik Leonard and Halldor Arnar Ulfarsson.

Fylkingen, Stockholm 13 April 2013

This gig comes at the end of a short residency at EMS Stockholm with Icelandic artist and instrument-builder Halldor Ulfarsson, whose eponymous “Halldorophone” augments the traditional cello form with a controlled electronic feedback system, allowing new tones and timbres to emerge from the instrument. During this collaborative performance, Berlin-based American sound artist Derek Holzer will insert the EMS studio’s legendary Buchla synthesizer into that feedback loop to further control and manipulate the sonic spectrum produced by this unique instrument.

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Video–Studio Improv 30 Apr 2012 + Norberg Report

Posted in Documentation on August 1st, 2012 by admin

Derek Holzer-Studio Improv 30 Apr 2012 from macumbista on Vimeo.

Getting the computer out of my live sound was the best thing that ever happened to me. When I work with the modular synthesizer, I feel like I have a piece of clay in my hands which I can squeeze in any direction I choose. This short improvisation was made during filming of the documentary “Learning to Listen”, on sound artists in several European cities by London College of Communication students Dann Linn, Marianna Sangita and Andi Spowart.

Soundbox at Norberg Fest, photo by possan

Norberg Report

I’m just back from my Swedish gig, where I spent the weekend gazing longingly at leggy blonds and red farmhouses, slapping mosquitoes, sipping expensive beers and teaching 25 people to build small noise-boxes in the summer sun. Concert went great, with a huge Function One sound system in the gigantic, resonant Mimer mine-shaft hall for that all-over body bass-massage kind of feeling. One of the best parts was that, some weeks ago, I dreamt that two friends from Estonia came to the festival with me. When I wrote them about it, they replied, “Roadtrip sounds like a great idea! See you soon!” So they did.

Big thanks to Sol Andersson and Johannes Ahlberg for the invitation and John Anker Corneliussen for the sound! Also managed to catch a few great sets, most notably by Carl Michael von Hauswolff and the lovely drone duo Kyrkan. Just as awesome, and tasty to boot, was James Brewster‘s Electro-acoustic cafe–a mic’ed up espresso stand with the option for extra delay or wah on your foamed milk.

Interior of the Mimer photos by possan, Derek Holzer live set at Norberg Fest by Rotwang @ 99musik.se

Another great thing was the wide range of folks who dropped by to build these little Neanderthal instuments–people who by and large would never show up at an “experimental noise” gig suddenly discovered the insane, child-like pleasure of making their own noise. A selection of these good people can be seen above. Thony Ekström has posted a 28 minute video of the workshop presentation here. I like the part where the orchestra warms up in the beginning…

Norberg Neanderthal photos by Björn Eriksson and Rotwang @ 99musik.se (last). Tack!!!

Electronics Work

I spent quite a bit of July working on this chopper with a student named Alvaro Ayuso. He didn’t quite finish it… a problem if you’re a young Spanish dude with too many friends around I suppose. Synth building is a solitary pursuit. So consider this a work in progress. Good going so far, amigo, now let’s bring it on home!

Tech details: line input, mic input, 2 x line outputs, dual VCA, 2 x VCO, dual VC Slope, Utility LFO, DC Mixer, Steiner VC Filter, Wave Multiplier. All PCBs by Ken Stone/CGS.

And finally… here’s a Serge Power Supply Unit I built for my friend Richard Scott:

Yeah, I guess it’s been a busy month…

Now Playing

old man gloomno[2012 hydra head]
omadvaitic songs[2012 drag city]
swanslive at berghain[04 aug 2012 berlin](looking forward!)

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Norberg Festival 2012

Posted in Announcement on July 8th, 2012 by admin

The lovely folks at the Norberg Festival in Sweden have arranged for me to do an outdoor SoundBoxes workshop as well as play a concert in the super-echo-chamber mine-shaft-house there.

For the workshop, I will have a tent with some tools and parts set up all day on Thursday 26 & Friday 27 July. The parts kit for the workshop costs SEK 100, and includes all the electronics components, speaker, amplifier, microphone and a cigar box of your choice. Workshop participants will have a chance to perform with their boxes on the afternoon of Saturday 28 July at 13.30.

During the concert on the evening of Saturday 28 July, I will play an improvisation for found objects, speaker box and self-made electronics. Norberg is about the only place I could imagine The Bug sharing a stage with Trevor Wishhart, and I’m looking forward!

Now Playing

deathspell omegadrought[2012 season of mist]
keith fullerton whitmanocclusions: real time music for hybrid digital-analogue modular synthesizer[2012 editions mego]
ktlv[2012 editions mego]
pauline oliverosreverberations: tape & electronic music 1961-1970 (12xcd)[2012 important]
thomas konernovaya zemlya[2012 touch]

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