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Hans Tammen

Brooklyn, NY         

Hans Tammen likes to set sounds in motion, and then sit back to watch the movements unfold. Using textures, timbre and dynamics as primary elements, his music is continuously shifting, with different layers floating into the foreground while others disappear. Whether richly processed guitar sounds from his hybrid interactive guitar/software instrument Endangered Guitar, traditionally notated material for his Third Eye Chamber Orchestra, or graphically notated elements for the all-electronic Dark Circuits Orchestra, his music flows like clockwork, “transforming a sequence of instrumental gestures into a wide territory of semi-hostile discontinuity; percussive, droning, intricately colorful, or simply blowing your socks off” (Touching Extremes).

Ever since he started playing a Moog synthesizer in the 1980s, Hans Tammen has been interested in the possibilities of electronic music production. His longest-running projects are the “Endangered Guitar”, a hybrid guitar/software instrument made to interactively control live sound processing; the “Third Eye Orchestra” compositions for large chamber ensembles and live sound processing; and the “Dark Circuits Orchestra”, a large ensemble devoted to contemporary electronic instrument practices such as circuit bending, no-input mixers, laptops, turntablism, analogue circuitry and network sniffers, that has recently focused on light artists using A/V synths, lightbulbs, LED structures, fluorescent lights and other bizarre visuals.

His works have been presented on festivals in the US, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, India, South Africa, the Middle East and all over Europe. He has recorded on labels such as Clang, Innova, ESP-DISK, Nur/Nicht/Nur, Gold Bolus, Nachtstück, Creative Sources, Leo Records, Potlatch and Outnow.

Hans Tammen received grants and composer commissions from Chamber Music America, NewMusicUSA, MAPFund, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, American Music Center, Lucas Artists Residencies Montalvo, New York State Council On The Arts (NYSCA), New York Foundation For The Arts (NYFA), American Composers Forum w/ Jerome Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Funds, New York State Music Fund, Goethe Institute w/ Foreign Affairs Office, among others.

Hans Tammen is currently working on a commission by Chamber Music America to write a piece for FLUX String Quartet and multichannel live sound processing.

Third Eye Orchestra Playlist

Hans Tammen likes to set sounds in motion, and then sitting back to watch the movements unfold. Borrowing from Charles Ives’ polytonality, Steve Coleman’s rhythmic complexity, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s organization of sounds and Earle Brown’s approach to form, the music of the Third Eye Orchestra is continuously shifting, with different layers floating into the foreground while others disappear.

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Dark Circuits Orchestra Playlist

The Dark Circuits Orchestra creates large multi-movement pieces, performed by an ensemble of contemporary electronic instrument practices such as circuit bending, no-input mixers, laptops, turntablism, analogue circuitry, network sniffers, live coding and soldering, and more. It is also using lightbulbs, A/V synths, LED structures and fluorescent lights that fight and clash with bizarre visuals projected onto objects, fabrics, ceilings and walls.

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Endangered Guitar Playlist

The Endangered Guitar has been described as an alien world of bizarre textures and a journey through the land of unending sonic operations. This instrument is an interactive hybrid between a guitar and a computer. The software “listens” to the playing, to then determine the parameters of the live sound processing. Programming for this project started in the year 2000, but it grew out of my already decade-long experimental guitar practice, inspired first by Sonny Sharrock and Pete Cosey, and then Fred Frith.

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