Torsten Anders

Selected Compositions and Sound Installations

Tempziner Modulationen (2011)

For 31-tone Fokker-organ and 96-tone Carrillo-piano. Commissioned by Huygens-Fokker Foundation (Netherlands). Premier in Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Amsterdam, Netherlands): Ere Lievonen (Fokker-organ) and Maarten van Veen (Carrillo-piano).

I composed Tempziner Modulationen for a concert titled Carrillo versus Fokker, and indeed both the 31-tone Fokker organ and the 96-tone Carrillo piano are employed. The concert title sounds like a contest – Fokker clearly won in my piece :) I freely admit that I find the 31-tone equal temperament more attractive than 96-tone equal temperament (it convincingly approximates just intervals beyond 5-limit without introducing too many tones), and so the piano is only playing tones that approximate tones of the Fokker organ.

Concerning the title, I finalised the piece in a tiny village in Northern Germany called Tempzin. Each of the three movements somehow includes modulations in the sense that an underlying root (e.g., the root of an underlying scale) changes, but these changes are somewhat "smeared out". While the notion of modulation is of course highly conventional, none of the modulations in this piece are standard practice (e.g., I never use a diatonic scale).

.mp3 of premier (11:00) | full score (.pdf)

Three Microtonal Demos of MOTU’s Instrument Ethno 2 (2010)

Commissioned by Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU) in collaboration with L’Atelier d’Exploration Harmonique (Le Thoronet, France).

Harmony Studies (2009; work in progress)

Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival 2009 (Plymouth, UK).

Harmony Studies is written in meantone temperament, the tuning system which was the backbone of Renaissance music, and which was most influencial for several centuries thereafter. However, I am using an extended version with 31 tones, which allows for new consonances (!) and also new dissonances. These new resources allow for chords and harmonic progressions that cannot be played with our standard tuning system.

Software: Strasheela, Kontakt, Cubase

With Shifting Joints (2003)

8 channel tape piece. Commissioned by Thüringer Komponistenverband. Performances in the Conservatorio de Morelia (Morelia, Mexico), Soundings Festival 2004 Edinburgh (UK), Sonorities Festival 2004 Belfast (UK), Linux Audio Conference 2004 (ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany), Kryptonale 10 (Berlin, Germany), Seoul International Computer Music Festival 2004 (Seoul, South Korea).

In the multichannel tape piece With Shifting Joints, I composed instrumental articulations and placed them around the listener. I applied virtual instruments, physical models comprised of cells and their connections. Such instruments allowed me to realize unconventional articulations with high precision and extreme parameter changes. For example, I bowed an instrument with such a sharp attack that it almost sounds like hitting the instrument with a hammer. I further disturbed the decay of that attack by tremolo bow movements. Some of the articulations are impossible to perform in the real world. For instance, I coupled two freely vibrating strings by a spring, which results in a combined instrument with a complex spectrum. Now, while bowing one of the strings, I shifted the joining spring along the strings to shape spectral evolutions. This articulation technique became such an important feature that I named the piece accordingly.

The resulting sound events are rich and complex, therefore I have chosen a simple formal arrangement. The spatialization underlines this form. Re-occurring sound events have their typical position or movement in a two-dimensional plane around the listener. Highly structured sound sequences are unified by a common moving direction.

Sound material: bowed and hammered strings and plates, interconnected by springs (physical modeling)
Software: Tao sound synthesis package (Mark Pearson), SuperCollider (James McCartney), the SuperCollider extension CrucialLibrary (Chris Sattinger aka crucial felix), Common Music (Heinrich Taube), Nuendo (Steinberg), and some of my own programs.

.ogg (10:48 min) | .mp3 (10:48 min) | Commentary

Echospiele (2001)

8 channel sound installation. Commissioned by FÖDERBAND Kulturbüro Berlin. Performed in the Großer Wasserspeicher, Berlin Prenzlauer Berg, as part of the exhibition Reservoir V, Aerotektura.

The building Großer Wasserspeicher has a remarkable architecture: the brick-walls form five huge concentric room circles with very complex impulse responses. The building is a ready-made sound installation. In Echospiele I only excite the circular rooms with repetitive percussive sounds. This emphasizes the distinct "echo-frequencies" of each circle, but the perceived rhythmic pattern is dependent to the listeners position.

Sound material: percussive guitar tones (pitches related to "echo-frequencies")
Equipment: Emu E64, Common Music, Logic, sonic response of the architecture of the building Wasserspeicher

bohren. knappern. raspeln. lecken. (2000)

2 channel sound installation. Commissioned by and performed in the Stiftung Deutsches Gartenbaumuseum Erfurt, as part of an exhibit in the permanent exhibition of the museum.

How does the eating of bugs, snails, worms or even viruses sound? "Munching-sounds" were animated by algorithmically controlled sound processing and spatialization (e.g. a Lorenz attractor controlling granular synthesis and the movements in a virtual room) .

Sound material: cutting, breaking, scraping, tearing, etc. food as carrots, salad, cucumber
Software: SuperCollider, ProTools

.ogg (13:02 min)

Klavierkreisel (1999)

8 channel tape piece . Performed at the Danish Institute of Electroacoustic Music as part of the Cinema for the Ear concert series, at the ICMC 2000, in the Centrum Sztuki i Techniki Japonskiej mangghmodelinga Krakòw (PL), etc.

The entire piece consists solely of repetitions. In five clearly distinct parts, a single tone or a short group of tones is repeated. Sometimes repetitions, which differ only slightly in tempo, are layered. Here, I was interested in the sonic evolution which results from this mixing process and the slow changing of single parameters.

Sound material: physical modeling piano (by Scott van Duyne)
Software: Common Lisp Music, Common Music, ProTools and own software

.ogg (9:50 min) | .mp3 (9:50 min)

Farbklang (1999)

8 channel sound installation. Commissioned by Design Zentrum Thüringen. Performed in the Internationales Design Zentrum Berlin, in the Wilhelm Wagenfeld Haus Bremen, and in the Kornspeicher, Design Zentrum Thüringen Weimar, always as part of the exhibition Goethe. Farbe. Raum.

Two opposite walls of a small room are screens shining in intensive light of slowly changing color. The room is filled with a single, incredible low voice-like tone changing slowly in its "color" too. The light part of the installation is designed by Andre Reutter and Wolfgang Sattler.

Sound material: instrument consisting of a VCO (by Hans Mikelson) which is filtered by a bank of resonating filters enforcing formants and further processed. The instrument is controlled by a turning cycloid
Software: Csound

.ogg (23:08 min)

Piepser (1999)

4 channel sound installation. Commissioned by and performed in the Atelierhaus of Weimar City for the open day.

The singing of birds (processed by granular synthesis) is projected by multiple tweeters, which are distributed in the installation.

Sound material: singing birds
Equipment: SuperCollider, 32 tweeters

Kunststoff. five variations (1998)

8 channel tape piece . Performed in the Studio der Technischen Universität Berlin, in the Radio MDR-Kultur Leipzig, in the mon ami youth center Weimar etc.

Value sequences (obtained by a single Koch-curve fractal, but transformed by envelopes) are applied to various note parameters of multiple voices which results in five rhythm-canons.

Sound material: synthesized percussive sounds (physical modeling)
Equipment: Modalys, SampleCell, PatchWork, ProTools

.ogg (7:18 min) | .mp3 (7:18 min)

livelets (1998)

2 channel radio sound installation, (1999) 8 channel concert version. Performed in the Radio Dario, Bauhaus Universität Weimar.

A cellular automaton (transition rules by Heiko Lochas) controls granular synthesis: small sounds awake to live and behave their own way.

Sound material: "silent" sounds as rubbing hands, pouring tea leaves or grains on paper etc., frog sounds
Software: SuperCollider

Longing (1997)

2 channel sound installation, (1999) 8 channel concert version. Performed in the Elektronisches Studio der Technischen Universitä Berlin, in the Imaginata of Jena City, in the Atelierhaus of Weimar City for the open day, etc.

The piece evolves very gradually: 'tone-clouds' form ekmelik harmony chords (using 72 pitches per octave). They are intermitted by little percussive events.

Sound material: saxophone notes (vocalized by formant filtering), woodblock samples
Equipment: Audiosculpt, AKAI S2000, PatchWork, ProTools

.ogg (22:19 min) | .mp3 (22:19 min)

Das große C (1996)

2 channel tape piece. Performed in the Hochschule für Musik, Franz Liszt, Weimar.

The piece sculptures a changing chordal structure by enhancing varying sets of harmonics of a single low bassoon tone -- which is unrecognizable as such.

Sound material: bassoon tone (stretched)
Software: Audiosculpt, PatchWork

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