Frank Bretschneider: Sinn + Form

Human Resources
410 Cottage Home St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

VOLUME presents the LA premiere of Frank Bretschneider’s new work MEANING AND FORM.

Sinn + Form (Meaning + Form)

The project is based on the idea of ​​a fundamentally chaotic world, as we know from mathematical or physical theories and models (dynamical systems, probability theory, stochastic systems), and the constant attempt of man to recognize this world, and to describe, predict, control, and change it. Typical examples include mathematical finance, statistics, biostatistics, pattern recognition, or meteorology.

Musically, this system is simulated electronically using a modular synthesizer system. Various modules produce a constant flow of randomly generated data that modulate the decisive musical parameters (pitch, note length, volume, tone). The musician / composer is attempting, through an improvised but deliberate process of constant control and influence, to transform this stream of events into a musically relevant system of chaos and order, dynamics and statics, content and form.

The visual performance is carried out through a software -generated correlation meter (goniometer), analogous to the Lissajous figure on an oscilloscope .

Aesthetically, the project should recall the electronic music of the mid-20th century: studios such as the IRCAM in Paris, the EMS Elektronmusikstudion, Stockholm, the WDR Studio for Electronic Music in Cologne, or the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in New York, as well as be reminiscent of the aesthetics of early attempts to visualize music using oscilloscopes.

The music was recorded with analog synthesizer systems (Buchla and Serge) at the EMS Elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm. 

About the Artists

Frank Bretschneider is a musician, composer and video artist in Berlin. His work is known for precise sound placement, complex, interwoven rhythm structures and its minimal, flowing approach. Bretschneider’s subtle and detailed music is echoed by his visuals: perfect translated realizations of the qualities found in music within visual phenomena.

Bretschneider (1956) was raised in Karl-Marx-Stadt (Chemnitz since 1990), where his aesthetic developed as he listened to pirate radio and smuggled Beastie Boys tapes in the former East Germany. After studying fine arts and inspired by science fiction radio plays and films he began experimenting with tape machines, synthesizers, and modified guitars in 1984, as well as exploring the possibilities of exchange between visual art and music by various means such as film, video and computer graphics.

In 1986, after establishing his cassette label klangFarBe, Bretschneider founded AG Geige, a successful and influential East German underground band. Though limited to the East before the wall came down, they were invited to perform across Germany and internationally after 1989 and released three albums before splitting in 1993.

In 1995, Bretschneider and fellow AG Geige member Olaf Bender founded the Rastermusic record label which eventually merged with Carsten Nicolai’s noton to form raster-noton in 1999.

After his debut album, Through the Cardial Window (Kranky, 2006), Kowalsky began composing and performing electro-acoustic music using cassette tapes loops, sine oscillators, mixer feedback, analog synths, contact mics and various acoustic instrumentation with a focus on multi channel, site-specific works with elements of psychoacoustic phenomena. He is most known for his Tape Chants series, which explores the acoustics where the performances occur by setting up cassette players around the space with tape loops tuned to sine waves using only the cassette players’ speakers for amplification.

Kranky released the first recorded version of Tape Chants in 2009. In 2011 he was commissioned to perform Tape Chants in the WWII Battery Townsley military bunker in the Marin Headlands in Northern California.  The performance was recorded and later released on vinyl by Giuseppe Ielasi, who also collaborated on the release entitled Battery Townsley. Kowalsky also collaborated with Dutch Lutist Jozef Van Wissem on Movements Through Marble and Stone (Amish, 2012), which was the final release of the Tape Chants series. The album was a recorded, live performance at Issues Project Room in Brooklyn. 

Kowalsky has had the opportunity to perform throughout Europe and the United States; participating in festivals such as WDR’s SoundArt-Köln Festival, Mexico City’s Aural Festival, and most recently the Substrata Festival in Seattle, where he performed a commissioned six-channel piece for grand piano and electronics. His recordings have released on Kranky, Thrill Jockey, Rootstrata and Important Records. He has composed for sound installations, film and acoustic ensembles. Date Palms is the collaboration between Kowalsky and Marielle Jakobsons. Their third LP the Dusted Sessions was released by Thrill Jockey in 2013. 

He currently resides in Los Angeles after a decade in Oakland, California where he completed a Master of Fine Arts in Electronic Music and Recording Media at Mills College under the tutelage of Fred Frith, Maggie Payne and Pauline Oliveros.

Virons is the project of experimental sound and visual artist Nicholas Rossi. Working in Los Angeles, performances often display the act of sonic exploration through static movement. The surrounding environment is unique to the progression of long form, and prepared improvisational techniques. Performance elements include the granular process of field recordings, magnetic tape manipulation, and evolving architecture of concrète sounds by means of modern synthesis.

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