Thomas Ankersmit invites you to a very special sound experience at the ZKM_Cube with an analog synthesizer and special acoustic phenomena.
The Dutch sound artist Thomas Ankersmit works as a performer especially with analog synthesizers. Since 2006, the Serge modular synthesizer has been his main instrument. This, along with the Buchla synthesizer, is generally considered one of the most experimental electronic instruments of the pre-digital era. In addition to his solo performances, Ankersmit has also frequently appeared in various duo constellations with other artists such as Phill Niblock or Valerio Tricoli.
In the performance at the ZKM, his work »Perceptual Geography« will refer to the American composer Maryanne Amacher, who very early on referred to special perceptual properties of quasi-inaudible sounds. These phenomena, called "otoacoustic emissions", can be provoked especially with synthesizers and require a special perceptual situation on the part of the listeners. Acoustic phenomena such as infrasound and otoacoustic emissions (sounds emanating from inside the head, generated by the ears themselves) play an important role in his work, as does a deliberate, creative misuse of the equipment.
Before the performance by Thomas Ankersmit, the Hertz-Lab presents a version of Éliane Radigue's »Occam Delta XIX« spatialized especially for the Sound Dome. The instrumental version of this piece was recorded in March 2021 in the studios of ZKM | Karlsruhe.
Trigger warning: Increased volume
Biography and Tracks
- Biography Thomas Ankersmit
Thomas Ankersmit is a musician and sound artist based in Berlin and Amsterdam. He plays the Serge Modular synthesizer, both live and in the studio, and collaborates with artists like Phill Niblock and Valerio Tricoli.
His music is released on the Shelter Press, PAN, and Touch labels, and combines intricate sonic detail and raw electric power, with a very physical and spatial experience of sound. Acoustic phenomena such as infrasound and otoacoustic emissions (sounds emanating from inside the head, generated by the ears themselves) play an important role in his work, as does a deliberate, creative misuse of the equipment.
Author: Thomas Ankersmit
- Thomas Ankersmit »Perceptual Geography«
»Perceptual Geography« is a solo live project by Thomas Ankersmit, commissioned by CTM in Berlin and Sonic Acts in Amsterdam, and premiered there on the GRM Acousmonium. The music is inspired by the pioneering research of – and dedicated to – American composer and installation artist Maryanne Amacher (1938 – 2009), and performed entirely on the Serge Modular analogue synthesizer. A version of the work adapted for home listening was released on Shelter Press in summer 2021.
Ankersmit and Amacher first met in New York in 2000, and kept in touch over the following years. Her concerts and installations left a lasting impression on him, and Amacher introduced Ankersmit to the Serge synthesizer.
In »Perceptual Geography«, Ankersmit explores different “modes” of listening: not just which sounds are heard and when, but also ‘how’ and ‘where’ sounds are experienced (in the room, in the body, inside the head, far away, nearby). So-called “otoacoustic emissions” play a prominent role. These are sounds generated by the listener’s ears themselves, triggered by sounds Ankersmit produces, and emanating from inside the head - an overwhelmingly immersive experience that few listeners have experienced before.
Author: Thomas Ankersmit
- Éliane Radigue "Occam Delta XIX", (2019), for baryton, treble viola da gamba, birbynė and alto saxophone, 24'15''
Carol Robinson: Birbynė
Yannick Guédon: Baryton, treble viola da gamba
Bertrand Gauguet: Alto saxophone
Spatial reproduction of the instrumental voices via the Sound Dome: Benjamin Miller, Ludger Brümmer
With the presentation of the piece »Occam Delta XIX«, I would like to establish a new connection between the work of Éliane Radigue and the performance of Thomas Ankersmit, but also with Maryanne Amacher's work to which Ankersmit refers in his performance.
Although Thomas Ankersmit's aesthetic clearly belongs to a younger generation of composers, commonalities can be found in the structure and aesthetic of the three musicians: Extended structures that work with the most subtle changes in sound structures over longer periods of time.
In the version of »Occam Delta XIX« for Sound Dome presented here, the sound material is to be placed ethereally, abstractly and acousmatically in space, but without making its process of creation visible. Éliane Radigue, coming from the GRM in Paris, followed this principle for more than 30 years. The particularity of this interpretation lies in the separation of the three sound sources/instruments and their subtle movement in space. The latter is difficult for the musicians to perform in reality while concentrating on the difficult production of the sound. I am curious to see, if the acousmatic version of the 24 minutes lasting work, will also be able to create a similar fascination as the version with the performers on stage.
Another intention for the programming of »Occam Delta XIX« was the desire to draw attention to the new CD »OCCAM OCEAN 4«, which the three musicians recorded together with ZKM | Hertz-Lab sound engineer Sebastian Schottke here in the Kubus in March 2021 and with the help of which the listeners can also establish their own contact with the sounds of Éliane Radique.
Author: Ludger Brümmer
“»Perceptual Geography« is acutely visceral, brilliantly dynamic electroacoustic music […] Play this loud and it starts to feel like a crack opening in reality.” – The Quietus
“The effect is seismic. This is a high point of the year, and of Ankersmit’s career to date.” – Tone Glow
“Ankersmit sounds like the best damn noise artist on the planet. […] »Perceptual Geography« contains some of the most challenging, absorbing, and masterfully executed sound art that I have ever heard.” – Brainwashed
“A deeply perception-altering experience that doesn’t just mess with your mind, but extends from the inside of your skull to the air around it.” – Magnet
“Gorgeous and visceral […] Supernovas of sound.” – Peter Margasak, The Wire
“Ankersmit’s tribute to Maryanne Amacher swims right through you […] Activating the body of the listener, creating phantom tones seemingly from within my head and making my chest cavity feel like a speaker itself […] One of the festival's highlights.” – Robert Barry, The Wire
ZKM | Hertz-Lab
Ludger Brümmer (Artistic director)
Dominik Kautz (Project manager & program)
Benjamin Miller (Sound director)
Hans Gass (Light & stage technician)
Vincenzo Nanni (Erasmus student)
ZKM | Video Studio
Andy Koch, Lisa Michel (Camera)
ZKM | Communication & Marketing
Tanja Binder (Head of ZKM | Communication & Marketing)
Samira Kaiser, Ida Kammerer, Svenja Liebig, Anouk Widmann (Homepage & Communication)
- Organization / Institution
- ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe