Grazie tanto, Padova!

Posted in Documentation on February 21st, 2010 by admin

Photos by Andrea Fincato, from a lecture on TONEWHEELS at the University in Padova. Later that evening I performed TONEWHEELS for the Nu-Fest. Hopefully I’ll get some photos of the audience going bananas at that one in the next few days… Thanks to Mauro Martinuz for putting the whole trip together, and for the unbelievable enthusiasm of the students at the lecture in particular!

I stayed up until 4am the night before my flight to Venice (not the wisest idea, to be sure) re-making the Macumbista Mini to include my new Voltage Controlled Slope/Analog Logic module alongside a Polivoks filter and output mixer (not unlike one of the Serge M-Class panels). The new configuration had it’s live debut in Padova, displaying incredible feedback/chaos possibilties which I’ll try to document soon with photos and sounds as well.

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Bent Fest NYC

Posted in Announcement on February 12th, 2010 by admin

The 2010 Bent Festival will take place at The Tank April 22-24, 2010…

…and I’m invited. I’ll be performing my TONEWHEELS set as well as giving a workshop to teach people how to build their own opto-electronic synthesizers.

The Bent Festival is an annual art and music festival celebrating DIY electronics, hardware hacking, and circuit bending. Each year we invite artists from across the country and around the globe to perform music with their home-made or circuit bent instruments, teach workshops to adults and children alike, create beautiful art installations and to generally come together, face to face, and showcase the state of the art in DIY electronics and circuit bending culture.

FEATURING ::vtol::, Action Potential:Interact, Adachi Tomomi, Alpha-Bit, Brendan O’Connell, Derek Holzer/TONEWHEELS, Dr. Bleep and Handmade Music Austin, Dr. Rek, Eric Archer, Gannon, homeless of the sea and sky, Iain Sharp, Joe Mariglio + Steven Litt, KBD, LCDD, Paulo R. C. Barros, Philip White, Phillip Stearns, Stefan Jankus, Threep, Travis Thatcher…and others…

I’m in the process of hooking up other workshops, lectures and performances in Buffalo, Syracuse, New York City, Providence and Boston over the dates 14 April – 1 May. Please get in touch if interested or if you can help out (particularly with a room in NYC over 19-28 April!!!) Further dates will be posted here when confirmed.

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Nu Fest 2010, Padova IT

Posted in Announcement on December 12th, 2009 by admin

Practice your Italiano!


Nu Fest 2010 Padova, IT

Venerdì 19 febbraio

Palazzo Liviano
ore 14.00 (durata 6 ore circa)

Teatro MPX
ore 21.00
MIRA CALIX live set (Warp Records – Joahnnesburg.Londra SOUTH AFRICA/UK)
+ opening act by DEREK HOLZER live set (Umatic NL/USA)

Tonewheels è un esperimento che consiste nella conversione di un immaginario grafico in suono. Il workshop si ispira ad alcune invenzioni basilari come l’ANS Synth (Murzin USSR 1937-57), il Variophone (Sholpo USSR 1930) e il sistema Oramics(Oram UK 1957) sviluppate da importanti musicisti e ricercatori sin dall’inizio del secolo scorso.
Fogli di plastica trasparente e colorata verranno illuminati per poter interagire con dei circuiti elettronici sensibili alla luce che così produrranno suoni e strutture ritmiche. I partecipanti impareranno come costruire due tipi di circuiti che sono due mattoni fondamentali per la costruzione di un sintetizzatore ottico: un semplice convertitore luce-suono controllato da un motore e inoltre come disegnare e stampare dei pattern personali usando il materiale disponibile in internet gratuitamente.

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[video] TONEWHEELS workshop, DA Festival, Sofia Bulgaria

Posted in Documentation on November 13th, 2009 by admin

TONEWHEELS workshop, DA Festival, Sofia Bulgaria from macumbista on Vimeo.
TONEWHEELS is an experiment in converting graphical imagery to sound,
inspired by some of the pioneering 20th Century electronic music

In this three day workshop from 24-27 October 2009, participants built
a simple light-to-sound converter and DC motor controller, and then
began to experiment with drawing sounds onto transparent “tonewheels”.
The workshop ended in a group performance and an invitation to the
audience to try out the instruments for themselves.

As you can see, both the participants and the audience had a great time
with this. I did too! My thanks go to Galina Dimitrova, Rene Beekman,
Prof. Svetoslav Kokalov, Venelin Shurelov, DA Festival, National
Academy of the Arts Sofia, Elena Kaludova and all the participants for a fantastic workshop in Bulgaria!

Now Playing
eliane radiguetriptych[2009 important]
eliane radiguevice versa, etc….[2009 important]
emeraldsemeralds[2009 hanson]
phill niblocktouch strings[2009 touch]
yellow swans with john wieseportable dunes[2009 helicopter]
valerio tricoli & dominique vaccarolive at raum 18, berlin[10.11.09]
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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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playing with electricity

Posted in Announcement on September 20th, 2009 by admin

Brief updates are in order… last Thursday I was lucky enough to get a two years extension to my German residence permit with relatively little hassle. I’m sure the Marfa Texas Country Club will be disappointed that they won’t be having me as their golf caddy next season, but them’s the breaks.

As you can see above, my old buddy Tore “Origami” Boe is visiting Berlin again from the Canary Islands, and we’ll be playing with electricity together as BOE DEREK at the next Salon Bruit. Not sure if I’ll bring the TONEWHEELS setup, or construct something suitably primitive to match his fantastic “acoustic laptops”, but it should be a fun night all the same.

The TONEWHEELS workshop and performance in Belfast went very well. I didn’t shoot any workshops videos myself, but hopefully the Oscillations Festival will edit together some nice cuts of the gig some day.

For the workshop, I tried a new light-to-sound converter circuit from, and it worked so well I designed a board for it. Cute little thing, ain’t it?

Eric Archer ( also just sent me one of his
fantastic light-to-sound converters, although I haven’t been able to
pick it up from the office where it was shipped to yet!!!

There were several updates to the TONEWHEELS website (, including some further historical info as well as the Vimeo videos finally added to the front page. Next step is to update the Technical section with better workshop info.

In the update, I included some photos of Daphne Oram’s Oramics machine, an amazing optophonic synthesizer from 1959, which Rob Mullender in London was kind enough to let me have a peek at. Some of the photos are posted below.

And Rob sent me a great scan of a 1970’s Optigan disc that I couldn’t resist putting up as well!

I’ll be taking the TONEWHEELS project to the following places very soon:

?? Nov – MS Stubnitz, Amsterdam, NL (date to be confirmed!)
31 Oct – Whatnight #3, Tilburg, NL
25-27 Oct – DA Festival, Sofia, BG
15-18 Oct – Tiny Noise/Kunstwerk, Cologne, DE

Final news item is that Polish noise-god Zbigniew Karkowski will give a two day composition workshop at NK here in Berlin 9-10 November, and yes my ass will be sitting in that workshop.
Now Playing
colin wilsonthe outsider book (1956)
ryokuchishinsho[2006 smd]
various artistspsychedelic phinland_finnish hippie & underground music 1967-1974[2006 love records]
ben frostby the throat[2009 bedroom community]
orthodoxsentencia[2009 alone]
omgod is good[2009 southern lord]
sleeplive at ATP 9 may 09[bootleg]
yogamegafauna[2009 holy mountain]
pietro grossimusicautomatica[2003 die schactel]
antoine chessex & arnaud rivieresplit 7″ [2009 le petit mignon](amazing printed cover by mounir jatoum!!!!)
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Posted in Announcement on May 25th, 2009 by admin

Midnight Sun?

At 6am this morning, with about two hours sleep the night before, I left Malmö and the Art of the Overhead event and flew to Bergen, Norway. After a quick nap and yet again the price shock (EUR 8 for a beer!), I realized that it was 11 at night and the sun hadn’t really gone down yet. Crazy…

I will post some videos and reviews of the Overheads event later on, but first I must repeat the mantra I learned–quite painfully–during my time in Sweden:

I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again. I will not tour without my own mixer ever again.

Three days lost and a one performance ended after 5 minutes due to stupid technical problems with borrowed mixers. Luckily I borrowed yet another mixer and managed to make it up to the very patient audience on the second night of the festival.

Up and Coming!

Next Life
Derek Holzer and John Hegre
21.00, 30 May 2009
Bergen Norway

Can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this one. John Hegre (of Jazkammer) has been one of my favorite people and favorite experimental musicians for years now, so playing a duo with him could end up being the highlight of this tour! Thanks again to Piksel & Ny Musikk for organizing both this and the Neanderthal Electronics workshop I’m doing here this week.

w/ macumbista (us/de)
column one (de)
‘Systems Crash’
21.00, 5 June 2009
Rotterdam, the Netherlands

‘fOO_bar’ is the public interface of WORM’s medialab moddr_ >> a combination of presentation, installation and performance of digital art and music, showing current interests from the lab without excessive 2.0_fluff – enjoy true interactivity and have a drink while you’re at it…

This night we host the closing event of our ‘Neanderthal Electronics’ workshop by Derek Holzer, with a presentation of the projects created during the week and a Stone-Age style group noise performance.
Live on stage we have COLUMN_ONE and Macumbista, and we start the evening with “Systems Crash” – a new series of public lectures jointly organized by Piet Zwart Institute Media Design and WORM.

Plus earlier in the week I get to see Mudboy open for Lightning Bolt, and on the weekend I go play with the analog synths at the WORM studio. Who says life on the road is all that rough?

Now Playing

Joseph Campbell and Bill MoyersThe Power of Myth (TV)
EmeraldsWhat Happened [2009 No Fun]
Jana WinderenHeated [2009 Touch]
Jana WinderenSurface Runoff 7″ [2009 Touch]
Jason CrumerOttoman Black [2008 Hospital Productions]
Mika Vainio & Lucio CapeceTrahnie [2009 Editions Mego]
MinskWith Echoes in the Movement of Stone [2009 Relapse]
Nate YoungRegression [2009 Ideal Recordings]
Natural Snow BuildingsDaughter of Darkness 5XCS [2009 Blackest Rainbow]
Nicholas SzczepanikThe Chiasmus [2009 Basses Frequences]
Our Love Will Destroy the World Stillborn Plague Angels vinyl [2009 Dekorder]
Pärson SoundPärson Sound [1968]
Peter WrightSnow Blind [2009 Install]
PrurientAnd Still, Wanting [2008 Hospital Productions]
PrurientThe Black Post Society [2008 Cold Spring]
Stephan MathieuThe Key to the Kingdom 7″ [2009 Dekorder]
Stephen O’MalleyKeep an Eye Out [2009 Table of Elements]
Sunn O)))Monoliths & Dimensions [2009 Southern Lord] (bit of a dud, really…they are overcome by their own artiness…)
SwansOmniscience [1992 Young God]
Unknown 1970s Thai psychedelic orchestra
Wolf EyesAlways Wrong [2009 Hospital Productions]

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Neanderthals & Overhead Projectors

Posted in Announcement on May 12th, 2009 by admin

Neanderthal Electronics workshop Derek Holzer

Slideshow from the Neanderthal Electronics workshop last week in Berlin, photos by Farahnaz Hatam/NK. There are still places for the Norway and Netherlands workshops open!


***DATES: Monday 25 May – Friday 29 May 2009 10.00-16.00 daily
***LOCATION: Lydgalleriet, Østre Skostredet 3, Bergen, Norway
***COST: 500 NOK (approx 56 EUR)
***FINAL PRESENTATION: Friday 29 May, 19.00, Lydgallerie
***REGISTRATION: +47 48 23 78 88
This workshop is a collaboration with


***DATES: Monday 1 June – Friday 5 June 2009 11.00-18.00 daily
***LOCATION: WORM, Achterhaven 148, Rotterdam
***COST: 50 EUR
***FINAL PRESENTATION: Friday 5 June, 21.00, WORM, 5 EUR entry

TONEWHEELS at The Art of the Overhead, Malmö

I will be in Malmö, Sweden next week to perform the TONEWHEELS set at the Art of the Overhead festival…an event dedicated entirely to sonic and visual arts with the overhead projector!



10.00 – 12.00 Home Made Media Archaeology at Stapelbäddsparken with prof dr. Verena Kuni (de)
The seminar is presented in collaboration with MEDEA, Collaborative Media Initiative, Malmö University.


18.30 Exhibition Opening
Junichi Okuyama (jp)
& Musik mit dem
Tageslichtprojektor (de)

Derek Holzer (us/de)
cm (fr)
Reassemble (uk)

14 – 17.00
Rune Søchting & Zeenath Hasan (dk)
Maria Karagianni (gr)
Alistair Gentry (uk)
Eva Elander (nl)
Jan Holmberg (se)

Goodiepal (dk)
Loud Objects (us)
Katrin Bethge & für diesen abend (de)
Milk Milk Lemonade (de)
Raumzeitpiraten (de)
Martin Haussmann (de) & Desinformation (se)


20.00 Finissage
Ohpia with Mickey Guitar (jp)
Kristian Nihlén (se)
John Wentworth
VJ Mako Ishizuka & DJ (jp/se)
“OH-istory! A Genealogy of The
Art of the Overhead” by Kristoffer Gansing & Linda Hilfling

O H P e n S u r f a c e W o r k s h o p
17-21 May
The Ohpen Surface workshop is an artist driven workshop. It works as an artist-knowledge-exchange where participating artists are developing their own projects for the festival, but also with the possibility of artists showing a specific technique to oth
ers. The workshop is co-organized and supervised by “Kunst und Musik mit den Tageslichts-projektor”.

Stapelbäddsparken – the large concrete building along Stora Varvsgatan, West Harbour, Malmö.

Now Playing

HeckerAcid in the Style of David Tudor [2009 Editions Mego]
Peter RehbergWork for GV 2004-2008 [2008 Editions Mego]
PitaGet Out [2008 Editions Mego version]
WhitehouseErector [1981 Susan Lawley]
jgrzinichTime’s Arrow Landing [1998/2009 Maaheli Editions]
Saint VitusSaint Vitus [1984 S.S.T.]
EarthSunn Amps and Smashed Guitars Live [2006 No Quarter]

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Video: Noise=Noise, Goldsmiths London, 18 March 2009

Posted in Documentation on March 30th, 2009 by admin

Noise=Noise, Goldsmiths London, 18 March 2009 from macumbista on Vimeo.

Live AV noise performance “Noise=Noise” at Goldsmiths University, London. Hacked hardware, screaming circuits, hypnotic digital flickers. Video features Mick Grierson (video performance), John Bowers (GEM video + noise), Julien Ottavi (kung-fu wii), John Richards (cracklewig + light&sound) and Derek Holzer (optoelectronic tonewheels). Organized by Ryan Jordan. No thanks to the wanker tools at the Student Union who forced us to change venues midway through…

Side note: I’ve been having a bitch of a time getting videos to play right with Vimeo. They stutter like mad. If anyone has any advice for me on how to encode stuff so that you don’t need the latest dual-core to watch a simple video, let me know…

Now Playing
Victor PelevinThe Sacred Book of the Werewolf (novel)
Barn OwlFrom Our Mouths a Perpetual Light [2009 Digitalis]
HabsyllMMVIII [2009 PsycheDOOMelic]
IsisWavering Radiant [2009 Ipecac]
Kevin DrummMalaise [2009 Hospital Productions]
MerzbowSuzume (13 Japanese Birds Part 1) [2009 Important]
MerzbowFukurou (13 Japanese Birds Part 2) [2009 Important]
MerzbowYurikamome (13 Japanese Birds Part 3) [2009 Important]
Roman PolanskiRosemary’s Baby (film)

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London UK, 18-24 March 2009

Posted in Announcement on March 7th, 2009 by admin

18 MAR: NOISE=NOISE, Goldsmiths, London UK

6pm-9pm Wednesday 18 March 2009 FREE
Small Cinema, Goldsmiths University

John Bowers
Mick Grierson
Derek Holzer
Ryan Jordan
Martin L
Julien Ottavi
John Richards

19 MAR: TONEWHEELS lecture+performance, Thursday Club @ Goldmsiths, London UK

6pm Thursday 19 March 2009
Seminar Roooms, Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths University

20 MAR: Blinking Ears presents Electroacoustic Performances, E:Vent Gallery, London UK

8:30pm-1am Friday 20 March 2009
E:vent, 96 Teesdale Street

Derek Holzer
Joel Cahen
Leafcutter John
Lina Lapelyte
Peter Cusak
+ DJ Alex Czinczel

24 MAR: Future of Sound/Future of Light, Goldsmiths, London UK

Symposium: Media Resources Building, Screen 1, 2pm-6pm, Free

Andrey Smirnov (keynote speaker)
Jo Hutton
Derek Holzer
Rob Mullender
Dr. Mick Grierson

Show: The Great Hall, 7pm-10pm, Free

The Sancho Plan
United Visual Artists
Sophie Clements
Andy Cameron

Now Playing
Tomas AlfredsonLåt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) film [2008]
Michelangelo AntonioniIl Deserto Rosso (The Red Desert) film [1964]
Pussygutt + Story of RatsSea of Sand [2007 Olde English Spelling Bee]
Wolves in the Throne RoomBlack Cascade [2009 Southern Lord]
LightA Million Dead Beneath the Ice [2008 self released]
MudboyThis is Folk Music [2005 Last Visible Dog]
SkepticismAes [1999 Red Stream]
Various ArtistsDestroyers from the Western Skies [2005 Killzone Records]
Jason Kahn & AsherVista [2008 AND/oar]
Jeph JermanMetal Drift [Fissur 05]
Loren Chasse & Michael NorthamThe Otolith [2008 Helen Scarsdale Agency]
.murmerWe Share a Shadow [2008 Helen Scarsdale Agency]

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