HOMEMADE LOFI PSYCH --- WHERE TO START?





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IMPRESSUM: see here!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thomas Ankersmit - 2 tracks: Radio 56 (Hangar Performance, Tallin. May 29th 2010 + Forma II excerpt (alt. version) (GER 2010/11)

"Thomas Ankersmit is a 30+ year old saxophonist, electronic musician and installation artist born and raised in the Netherlands and now primarily based in Berlin who combines abstract, intensely focused saxophone playing with hyper-kinetic analogue synth and computer improvisation. He also creates installation pieces that use sound, infrasound and "modifications to the acoustic characters of spaces" that disrupt the viewer/listener's perception of the exhibition space and their presence within it. He frequently works together with New York minimalist Phill Niblock and Sicilian electroacoustic improviser Valerio Tricoli, and other collaborators, mostly for live performances, have included Tony Conrad, Maryanne Amacher, Jim O'Rourke, Kevin Drumm and Borbetomagus."

(info source: Ash international)

http://www.ashinternational.com/editions/ash_88_thomas_ankersmit_live_in_utrecht.html


Q: Where exactly are you from?
A: I was born and raised in Leiden, The Netherlands. I've mostly been based in Berlin since 2000.
Q: Since when are you into playing music?
A: I got started fairly late. I wasn't particularly interested in music or playing an instrument as a kid. My first experiments started when I was 16: messing around with a guitar and an amp my dad had built when he was a teenager, as well as primitive "circuit bending" on electric appliances I found at this place where people would bring their old belongings and they'd sell them to raise money for charities. The Humana of The Netherlands, I guess.
Q: How'd you "label" your music?
A: I don't, basically. I leave that to others. It's been called noise, or glitch, or minimalism or even free jazz and many other things. I doesn't really make any difference to me. I like the term "noise music" in the sense that it's music made out of noises and not whatever music is normally made out of. But "noise music" as a genre name usually means stuff that's more consistently full-on loud and abrasive and structure-less.
Q: Any previous bands or projects that you've been involved in worth mentioning?
A: I've never been in a band. My first music was basically just a more primitive version of what I do now: messing around with electronics, and the saxophone after a year or two as well. When I started playing saxophone I pretty much had in mind what I do now actually. I've never played jazz or rock or anything like that. There weren't really any projects or groups that I was part of and then quit or something like that.
Q: How many records did you already release? Please list them in chronological order. Where can people buy them?
A: I've largely stayed away from making records. This is basically it (quoting from my website):
- Alto Saxophone
3” CD-R, 2001, no label, edition of 250, out of print.
Three acoustic saxophone improvisations recorded at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy pavilion in Amsterdam, plus a four-saxophone multitracked piece, all recorded in 2001.
- Untitled CD-R
CD-R, 2003, no label, edition of 50, out of print.
Sold on the first Phill Niblock/Thomas Ankersmit Japan tour in 2003. Multiple versions exist with different content, some include material by Kevin Drumm from KD/TA live recordings.
- Split LP with Jim O’Rourke
LP, 2005, Tochnit Aleph 054, edition of 1000, out of print.
TA contributed a piece with modular synthesizers, computer and saxophone recorded in 2004.
- Live in Utrecht
CD, 2010, Ash International, Ash 8.8, edition of 1000.
A solo set with modular synthesizer, computer, saxophone and pre-recorded saxophone and reel-to-reel parts composed by Valerio Tricoli, from 2007.
- Thomas Ankersmit/Valerio Tricoli - Forma II
CD, 2011, PAN 16, edition of 1000.
Five electroacoustic pieces recorded in 2008-2010.
"Live in Utrecht" is still available from www.touchshop.org (the label's online shop) and many other places, including this record store in Berlin: www.rumpsti-pumsti.com
"Forma II" was released this month. Should be available from various places online as well, and record stores in Berlin like Rumpsti Pumsti or Gelbe Musik.
The earlier releases are sold out.
Q: Any feedback for your last cd "Live in Utrecht"?
A: From me you mean or from others?
Q: From others.
A: There's a bunch of reviews on the label website. Most of 'm flattering, I think:
Q: How do work, when playing live? How much is indeed improvised on the spot and how much is sampled?
A: It depends. With solo shows I usually know how I want to begin and roughly how I'll end, but maybe not how to get there. When playing with others I basically don't determine anything in advance. My electronic stuff is about half real-time analogue synthesis, and about half pre-recorded sound fragments of the same analogue synthesizer, spit out by the computer. I've also been doing some all-analogue shows with just the synthesizer and a Walkman recently. People often ask if I built the synthesizer myself, but it was made by a company called Serge/Sound Transform Systems in the US. I've only made some additional boxes and modifications myself. Mostly things for mixing and switching between different signals more easily, and to hack into the guts of the instrument sometimes without breaking it open.
Q: What was your favourite place to perform?
A: Just in terms of how the music sounded in the venue: Dampfzentrale Bern, the Bimhuis in Amsterdam and Berghain in Berlin come to mind. More generally I like Budapest, Riga and Belgrade a lot. Also the dome-shaped abandoned hydroplane hangar in Tallinn was exciting, where there's this long sequence of very clear echos coming from all around, but basically no diffuse reverb. So the sound is at the same time very clear but also layers on top of itself in this cascade of echos that moves through the space in different patterns, depending on where you stand. Touch Radio released a recording of that: http://www.touchradio.org.uk/touchradio_56_thomas_ankersmit.html
Q: You have been into making music for quite some time. Why did it take so long until you decided to record a "proper" studio album?
A: I was just never that excited about the idea of making a CD. And I wasn't sure enough of the music to "fix" it onto a CD. I'm also kind of a minimalist when it comes to buying stuff, so I'm probably a little hesitant to put more products into the world. Now that I have two CD's out though (as of April 2011) I'm over my initial hesitation a bit. I have to say that both labels, Touch/Ash as well as PAN have been really great to work with. I had expected the whole process to be much more complicated than it ended up being.
Q: How and where do you record your album?
A: There's "Live in Utrecht", which is a live gig from Utrecht in the Netherlands, obviously. The sound technician recorded it at a concert series called Rumor Festival. He just happened to give me a copy of it, and Mike Harding who runs Touch and Ash International asked for an example of what I do so I gave him this. I never intended to release it, that was his idea. I'm happy it happened though.
My first studio CD, "Forma II", the collaboration with Valerio Tricoli I mentioned earlier, was just released by PAN records who are based in Berlin. It's run by a musician called Bill Kouligas, or Family Battle Snake. That's a collection of electroacoustic pieces made in our studios in Berlin. Most of the source material is analogue electronics (and saxophone on the last piece) but it involved a lot of digital and analogue re-construction.
Q: Could you tell us a few words about the 2 tracks, that are available here and on your webside for free download?
A: The electronic track is an earlier version of the first track on Forma II, so that's together with Valerio. My favorite track on the record. It's a big pile-up of analogue synth and metallic scraping that Valerio took apart and put back together. A lot of the material was sped-up on tape machines and on the computer, so it has a very abrasive, urgent character.
The other track is the Touch Radio release I mentioned before, which is kind of a souvenir of a solo saxophone performance in that hangar in Tallinn. All the echo on the recording is acoustic: there's no delay pedals or amplification involved, just acoustic saxophone in that space.
Q: What are your main musical influences?
A: Evan Parker, Tamio Shiraishi, Borbetomagus, John Wall, Bernard Parmegiani, Alvin Lucier. For example.
Q: Favourite band/musician at the moment?
A: Le Quan Ninh, Tshetsha Boys.
Q: What was the first record that really impressed you?
A: A Hörspiel LP of Disney's The Aristocats is probably my first vivid memory of listening to a record. In experimental music, Machine Gun by Peter Brötzmann probably.
Q: Website?
A: I've never had a website until recently, but now there's www.thomasankersmit.net that Touch offered to make for me. So thanks to them.
Q: The last five records you bought/downloaded?
A: I haven't been buying or downloading new music much, but these two I bought:
Robin Fox - A Handful of Automation LP
Tom Smith & Kevin Drumm - Reconquer Sleep Or Disappear CD
And these were given to me last week:
CM von Hausswolff - 800 000 Seconds In Harar CD
BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa – Big Shadow Montana LP
The New Monuments LP
I also just downloaded the new Snoop Dogg album but I'm not much into that so far.
Q: Where will be your next live gigs?
A: My next two shows are in Geneva (April 24th) and Bogotá (April 27th - already past: Bratislava, Slovakia May 7th and Prague, Czech Republic May 9th - m-f), of all places. Both together with Phill Niblock. But please check the website for the actual schedule:


THOMAS ANKERSMIT: 2 tracks (GER 2010/11)
(Radio 56 (Hangar Performance, Tallin. May 29th 2010
+ Forma II excerpt (alt. version) (w. Valerio Tricoli))
(mp3-zip, 2 tracks, 28 min, 38,4 MB)
Get it here or here or here!

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