Andreas Trobollowitsch

Andreas Trobollowitsch is a Vienna-based musician, composer and sound artist. He works extensively in the fields of electroacoustic composition and improvisation, and has composed for dance, theatre, film and radio.

Based on rotation, vibration and feedback systems he uses mainly modified everyday objects, prepared fans and string instruments. Recently he has been focusing primarily on conceptual compositions, sound installations and self-developed musical instruments. Interested in dichotomy of the intellectual and the physical he includes visual aspects, spatiality, movement, and the way that they relate to sound.

He has performed and exhibited at European, Asian, North, Central and South American venues and festivals. CD and DVD-releases on “schraum” (Berlin), “Monotype records” (Warsaw) and “Filmarchiv Austria” (Vienna). His critically acclaimed debut solo album “ROHA” was released by the Portuguese record label “cronica records” in 2016.

Download press photo here. (Credit: Clemens Mairhofer)

 

Photos: Spazio Aereo x Sonica • Lee Gamble / Neunundneunzig / Spatial & others

SONICA Festival teamed up with the like-minded Italian space Spazio Aereo in Venice to bring a night of Kinetics, Pneumatics, Audiovisuals & Beats on 16 December 2016.

Lee Gamble was joined by 2017 SHAPE artist Christian Kroupa alongside three other SHAPE alumni: the audiovisual screening of the new album & DJ sets by Random Logic and British DJ, producer and label owner Spatial & the kinetic sound sculpture by NEUNUNDNEUNZIG (99) created by Martin Bricelj Baraga in collaboration with Raster Noton’s Olaf Bender: “I wanted to build this grid of 99 balloons as an environment in which we would trigger intensities and anxieties that don’t allude to this Cold War state we are facing again now, but more the general state of things that are happening today,” the former told us in an interview

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Photo credits: Alice Busato / Andrea Sanson

Listen to ICAS Radio Show @ Novas Frequências on ORF OE1!

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Curious about our sonic expedition to Rio? Tune in to ORF Oe1 Zeit-Ton extended ICAS Radio Show tonight to listen to interviews with SHAPE artists Toxe & Andreas Trobollowitsch, learn about Brazilian music via Bernardo Oliveira’s “Music of Invention In Brazil​”​ (a compressed version of a SHAPE lecture) and much more. Hosted by: Susanna Niedermayr, Oliver Baurhenn & Festival Novas Frequências mastermind Chico Dub.

Friday, 16 Dec 2016, 23.08 – 02.00 CET: http://oe1.orf.at/programm/455629​. The show will be accessible as an online stream for 7 days after the broadcast.

Photos: SHAPE @ Novas Frequências

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Beginning of this month (December 3 – 8), SHAPE had its second large showcase beyond Europe – 13 SHAPE artists played at the Novas Frequências festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The showcase featured: Vienna-based composer, performer and sound artist Andreas Trobollowitsch (AT), who presented his piece “Hecker”; Black Zone Myth Chant (FR), a project of Afro-centric psychedelia and hypnotic footwork by psych-drone artist High Wolf; two projects by Budapest-based musician Gábor Kovács (HU) – the noisy, experimental punk duo of Céh and the more rhythm-oriented, but no less confronting solo project Új Bála; J.G. Biberkopf (LT), whose “audio theater” works are impressive collages that draw on a wide range of influences, including grime and musique concrète; experimental guitarist and composer Julien Desprez (FR), who presented his improvisational performance/light installation Acapulco Redux; Mr. Mitch (UK), one of the key names in the burgeoning instrumental grime movement; artist Mike Rijnierse (NL), who specializes in site-specific installations, and who presented his new work Relief; Sis_Mic (FR), the latest project by electro-acoustic music composer and installation artist Pôm Bouvier B.; Lancaster-based virtuoso pianist and free improviser Stephen Grew (UK); Toxe (SE), a central figure within Staycore – a new ground-breaking label from Stockholm.

The line-up also featured two alumni of SHAPE 2016: multidisciplinary artist Gil Delindro (PT), who participated with multimedia performance Voidness of Touch, and experimental vocalist Stine Janvin Motland (NO) who presented her project Fake Synthetic Music.

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All photos by Francisco Costa/I Hate Flash.

Céh/Új Bála

Gábor Kovács is a Budapest-based musician and visual artist. Active in a number of projects, he works with a wide range of genres and sounds, although his two main outputs are Új Bála and Céh. Új Bála merges noise, psychedelia and fringes of techno and summons the rhythmic skeletons of dance music to bring order to his backdrop of mangled synth noises. Following a couple of self-released digital releases, he published two tapes in 2016, the techno-oriented Boka on Baba Vanga and the more punk and noise-influenced “Butcher’s Tears Dry Slower Than Average One’s” via the Melbourne based Altered State Tapes. While Új Bála continually steps in and out of the club environment, Céh is more of a minimalist punk experiment, a collision of two worlds: Raymond Kiss’ visceral guitar and Gábor Kovács’ rough and rugged electronic sounds and intense vocal presence. The outcome is an amalgam of noise rock, industrial punk and delightfully crude drum programming. The band’s debut “Youth is Impossible” was released in 2015 by the Hungarian art collective Brain Fatigue.

Download press photo here (Céh/Új Bála)

Hyperaktivist DJ set at the Riga Anglican church

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Listen to a DJ set by the Venezuelan-born SHAPE artist Hyperaktivist, recorded at the St. Saviour’s Anglican Church in Riga on September 10, 2016 as part of an event, organized by Skaņu Mežs festival. The set has been broadcast as part of SHAPE platform’s collaboration with the radio station network Radio Campus France.

It was in 2009 when Hyperaktivist started to work on setting the groundwork for her DJ career. Ana Laura Rincón blended hyperactivity with activism, developing electronic music culture in her native Venezuela – a country with few record stores and few electronic music industry affiliations.

Upon discovering the small underground electronic music scene in her hometown of Maracaibo, Rincón began organizing events, DJing along with friends and invited musicians. Later, she co-founded the SOLO club, which became a prominent and central space for electronic musicians and DJs from throughout country. She also formed the Next Phaze collective, comprising DJs, street artists, VJs, visual artists and graphic designers. The endeavour gave rise to a new concept of electronic music events for Rincón, in which visual environments were created using techniques like video mapping and 3D imaging.

Following completion of a degree in Mass Media, Rincón relocated to Berlin in early 2012, where she is currently producing her own music and just finished a degree in sound engineering. Her sets are powerful, deep, and stylistically fluid, without subscribing to just one particular sound or genre.

Photo by Didzis Grozds.

‘Innocence is impossible, piercings are possible': An interview with Céh/Új Bála

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Gábor Kovács is a Budapest-based musician and visual artist. Active in a number of projects, he works with a wide range of genres and sounds, although his two main outputs are Új Bála and Céh. Új Bála merges noise, psychedelia and fringes of techno and summons the rhythmic skeletons of dance music to bring order to his backdrop of mangled synth noises. After a couple of self-released digital releases he published two tapes in 2016, the techno-oriented Boka on Baba Vanga and the more punk and noise-influenced “Butcher’s Tears Dry Slower Than Average One’s” via the Melbourne based Altered State Tapes. While Új Bála continually steps in and out of the club environment, Céh is more of a minimalist punk experiment, a collision of two worlds: Raymond Kiss’ visceral guitar and Gábor Kovács’ rough and rugged electronic sounds and intense vocal presence. The outcome is an amalgam of noise rock, industrial punk and delightfully crude drum programming. The band’s debut “Youth is Impossible” was released in 2015 by the Hungarian art collective Brain Fatigue.

Céh is your mutual project, both of you are also active as solo musicians. Can you talk about what you do together and separately/solo, and how you combine?

Gábor: In my solo project, I produce techno-influenced electronic music under the moniker Új Bála. My obsession with techno is kind of obvious when you listen to the drums of Céh, but the techno aesthetic often seems too secluded and elitist to me. I’m more into the straight-forward spirit and energy of punk, so that is the point where Céh comes into equation.

Raymond: I think that everything I do comes from the same place. It doesn’t matter if it’s solo or a band.

Do you see any parallels between Raymond’s guitar playing and Gabor’s drum programming and vocal style?

G: The vocal style and drum programming are based on a mutual consensus. I can sing a bit if it’s necessary, my singing voice is a false baritone, ‘the worst Nick Cave imitator in the universe’, as the press once described it very well. Anyway, we prefer this raw aggressive barking. It’s kind of the same with drums. I know that Raymond loves to play fast and loud and distorted, so obviously blasted beats and frenetic snares are welcome.

R: Playing the slow parts just bores the hell out of me.

You released a record called “Youth Is Impossible”. Can you talk about the title and what it alludes to (teenage angst?)

G: If I remember it correctly it comes from the lyrics of our song ‘I’ve tried to fight against the routine but protein fell into habit’. So, when I was a kid a wanted to be a kid, but that wasn’t possible. It’s personal. It’s a deeper topic than a classic ‘fuck you mommy, I’m gonna get that piercing’ type of teenage angst. Innocence is impossible, piercings are possible.

R: One’s youth should be full of energy, but everything around you tries to break that in one way or another.

You are both based in Budapest. How is the music scene there? I guess musically you are both in the experimental/electronic as well as the noise/rock/garage scenes.

G: Yes and no. Usually, true punks find our music too arty while the nerds of the experimental scene find it too punky. So, we are in this grey zone. But fortunately, there are some more open-minded promoters around (such as UH Fest, Küss Mich) and they give us some credit here and there. Overall the music scene is quite happening, the house and techno scene is already well-documented in western media. Besides that there are lots of interesting things happening in Budapest and in the countryside as well, but of course everything is totally DIY, far from mainstream, suffering from the lack of resources on every level.

R: If there’s a scene I want to be associated with, it’s something like the weirdo scene.

What can we expect from Céh in 2017?

G: Definitely a new record.

R: Love songs.

Listen to our Novas Frequências show on Resonance FM

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On this month’s edition of our Resonance 104.4 FM radio show, we focus Brazil. In the beginning of December, SHAPE will present a selection of its current and upcoming roster at Rio de Janeiro’s Novas Frequências festival, the city’s leading event for adventurous sounds. We talk to the festival organiser Chico Dub about the Brazilian music scene as well as to some of the SHAPE artists playing there. Andreas Trobollowitsch is an Austrian electroacoustic musician, composer and sound artist. He studied musicology and jazz theory in Vienna and Paris, and wrote his thesis about the spatial approach in the compositions of Stockhausen and Cage. He works extensively in the fields of electroacoustic composition and improvisation, and has composed for dance, theatre, film and radio.  He will present his work Hecker at Novas Frequências, a composition for lumberjacks, axes and logs. Új Bála is the moniker of Budapest-based musician Gábor Kovács. Active in a number of underground projects, Új Bála is his solo endeavour for noise-inflected techno, played on hardware instruments and notable for energetic live shows. His releases have appeared on Baba Vanga and Altered State Tapes.

From Stockhausen to lumberjacks: An interview with Andreas Trobollowitsch

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Andreas Trobollowitsch is a Vienna-based electroacoustic musician, composer and sound artist. He studied musicology and jazz theory in Vienna and Paris, and wrote his thesis about the spatial approach in the compositions of Stockhausen and Cage. Trobollowitsch works extensively in the fields of electroacoustic composition and improvisation, and has composed for dance, theatre, film and radio.  In his works, he mainly uses modified fans, guitars, tapes and field recordings. Recently he has been focusing primarily on conceptual compositions, sound installations and self-developed musical instruments. He has released CDs and DVDs on schraum, Monotype, Filmarchiv Austria, cronica records, and has been awarded the State Scholarship for Composition, the Start Stipendium for music and performing arts, as well as numerous commissions and grants. He is one of the SHAPE artists performing at Novas Frequencias in Rio de Janeiro.

Could you talk about Hecker, the performance you’re going to present at Novas Frequências festival in Rio de Janeiro?

Hecker is a sound performance for three lumberjacks, six axes, and about 200 logs. During this twenty-minute performance, wood with different degrees of length and hardness will be chopped according to a musical score. The score contains specific instructions, such as when to use different kinds of axes on which kinds of wood. Also, the axes and the axe handles themselves are used as percussion instruments. Some parts of the score are well defined, while others have open structures, for example through the use of time brackets.

In Hecker, the physical act of chopping is connected to the intellectual act of reading. The performance examines everyday rural life in terms of its sound quality.

Why did you choose wood in particular?

I grew up in the countryside, so wood has always been very present in my life.

You studied musicology and jazz theory. What kind of background do you have?

I studied at a conservatory in Vienna for a year.  I left because I didn’t find what I was looking for. In the end, I graduated with a degree in musicology. But I would not consider that to be my background. I think that I was more influenced by the diverse musical projects that I have been part of, including metal bands, experimental pop, and so on.

Your thesis focused on Stockhausen and Cage. Which aspects of their work do you find interesting in connection with your own practice?

Towards the end of my musicology studies, I attended lectures on contemporary music, one of which was about John Cage. Ever since that moment, I’ve been interested in sound performance, and in the use of space in music. But at that time, I was primarily interested in the theoretical part.

However, when I started playing my first musical instrument (guitar), I altered it by putting objects between strings. Maybe I did that because learning to play the instrument in a conventional way would have taken too long, and I immediately wanted a sound that would satisfy me. Also, I’ve always been interested in the unpredictable, in asking “What happens if…?”

At that point, my studies were still a theoretical echo of what I’d already done, without really knowing that there were people around who did this sort of thing professionally. So at that time, their theories and concepts served more as a confirmation than an inspiration for my own practices.

What specifically drew you to write about space and its importance in music?

I wanted to explore the possibilities of two diametrically opposed composition concepts in terms of space: on the one hand, Stockhausen and serial music; on the other, Cage and aleatoric music. Whereas Stockhausen had an entire concert hall constructed according to his specific wishes, Cage mostly worked – or rather was forced to work – with pre-existing local conditions. He even used these conditions as creative elements. So these are two extreme examples.

The relationship between music and space is extremely varied and never ending. Whenever I work on new performances, installations or compositions nowadays, I find it very important to consider spatiality in many different ways. This includes the positioning and the movement of the elements I use; the position of the audience; the light; the reverb; and so on.

Your use of instruments includes trying to find ways to modify and adjust them; in other words, to break through them. Do you have a favourite technique that you invented?

Yes, the modification of musical instruments and the use of so-called extended playing techniques has always been an important part of my work. But I’m also increasingly interested in modifying everyday objects. My “favourite technique” is based on a modified electric fan that uses the hair from a cello bow instead of propellers.

I’ve used this element in various works and in different situations. For example, the sound installation minigit featured four acoustic guitars hanging on a wall, and circling cello bow hair from electric fans made the strings oscillate. Due to the differing speeds of each fan, the soundscapes that arose changed permanently. These permanently modifying overtone layers wound up recalling an electronically-generated sound aesthetic.

Based on this installation, I then made a sound performance called extract #1 for an electric fan, acoustic guitar, and single performer. In this work, it’s not the different speed of the fan that modulates the sound, but rather the performer’s position in relation to the fan: different strings are played according to the slow changes of an angle. The performer then uses their left hand to change pitch and tone by slightly turning the tuning pegs. This also allows the performer to modulate microtonal and micro-rhythmic elements.

The combination of these two works resulted in my developing and constructing the “ventorgano,” an electro-acoustic synthesizer consisting of guitar strings, resonating bodies, and these prepared fans.

But I would say that my favourite techniques are mainly based on rotation: for example, I also work with modified Walkmans.

You have worked in various artistic fields such as radio, theatre, and film. How do you approach each of them?

The first experimental audio work I made was actually a radio piece. There is a musical hall in Vienna that had burnt down, with a burnt piano in the middle of it. We went there and recorded the piano and the acoustics of the room and turned this into a radio feature.

The music I’ve made for theatre, film, etc has been more random than intentional. I’ve received several requests to compose music for different projects. The most significant work in that sense was scoring video recordings from a 1920s video (together with David Schweighart) as part of a project that was released by Filmarchiv Austria.

And what will you do after Rio?

I will work as a co-curator and producer for a Brazilian artist-in-residence programme focused on performance and sound art. I’m also playing some concerts in São Paulo. Once I get back to Vienna, I will work on a vinyl release that includes minigit (the sound-installation I’ve already mentioned) and santa melodica, a spatial sound performance for prepared melodicas, balloons, cable tubes, and about seven interpreters. I will be a composer-in-residence in Lithuania, but I might do a small tour in Portugal first. I also want to work on a piece for piano and tractor later this year.

So I guess we have once again arrived at this dichotomy of the refined and intellectual vs. the crude and rural.

It’s not only a dichotomy of the intellectual and the crude; or, better yet, of the conceptual and the physical. There’s also the visual aspect, sonority, movement, and the way that they relate to sound.

Last year, I did a residency in Buenos Aires where I worked on a piece for prepared electric fans, plants, chairs, human beings, and musical instruments. Recently, I’ve been working with different elements – such as performance, composition, or installation – all at the same time. What’s always important is the texture of things and their sound, as well as their juxtaposition. For example, if there’s a motor, a human being, and a plant, I try to treat these three elements in an equal way, so that they can all play an active role.

So you work is like a “Gesamtkunstwerk”, encompassing various equally important artistic forms.

Well, I actually don’t think in terms of these categories or methodologies. Over the course of time, certain elements that I’ve already used have grown together in a very natural way, becoming so much more complex and also interdisciplinary.

My background is in music. Sound was always the most important thing to me, and I didn’t care about visuality much, but recently, I’ve been increasingly working in the context of visual arts. I would like to stay somewhere in the middle, because that’s where the most interesting things happen.