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IMM Chronicle December 2014


Christmas greetings
The Institute For Music And Media wishes all students, associates, partners und friends a merry Christmas and a happy new year!


Type as image in motion
As in no other genre has type in films been set in motion: whether as art, feature and promotional film or music video the type motion film has become firmly established and extended to other areas since the pioneering days of film in the late 19th century. Schriftfilme – Schrift als Bild in Bewegung [Type Films – Type as image in motion] recently published by the publishing house Hatje Cantz Verlag particularly deals with the artistic type motion film and presents examples of analogue- or digital-based films, in which animated, graphically designed and voiced type becomes the protagonist and which exceeds by far what is expected from conventional type and type motion.
This volume also includes an extensive interview with Prof. Dr. Heike Sperling on her work with type in motion and research about Visual Music.


Sibylle at the Berlinale
Production sound mixer Andrew Mottl and sound designer Jörg Elsner, both graduates from the Audio and Video Engineering program, were responsible for the sound post-production of the psychological thriller Sibylle. Director Michael Krummenacher’s diploma film from the Munich University for Television and Film will be screened as part of the Perspektive Deutsches Kino [Perspectives on German Cinema] at the Berlinale 2015.
The film shows the supposedly ideal world of the protagonists become out of balance, little by little, in a mix of psychological thriller, horror, mystery and drama. The sound design contributes significantly to the increasingly enthralling perception of the characters.


Musique Axiomatique
At the International Congress on Music and Mathematics in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on 29 November, Juan Sebastián Lach Lau presented a new sound synthesis method with Prof. Julian Rohrhuber, inspired by historical and philosophical observations. So-called generic additive synthesis takes the focus away from the search for correct parameters and instead experiments with combinations of higher order functions. As a musical version of axiomatic methods, it simultaneously questions foundation and structure, part and whole.


COPULA E - Laboratory of Language
Voice as an aesthetic sound object or as a carrier of meaning in a language – apart from those readings there is a third: the voice is neither language nor body, at their touching point, it constitutes a space apart. The voice is a rest, an object that provokes thought. COPULA E confronts considerations about (keno-)grammar, phonology, politics of the voice, and the metaphysics of indistinguishability and retranslates them into sound. Its points of departure are artistic and artificial voices on the one hand, and programming languages on the other. Radio piece by Prof. Julian Rohrhuber and Cologne-based composer Marcus Schmickler.


Creating sound from feedback
In 1894 Alfred Graham was granted the patent A new or improved method and means of producing sound, which details the use of feedback to create sound. For the 120th anniversary of this groundbreaking patent and as launch party for a double CD set and DVD featuring recordings of the 2004 lmc/cmn tour feedback: order from noise on mikroton, two events are taking place in London, which Hans W. Koch, assistant professor for Hybrid Sound Composition, has been invited to take part in: A live radio show on 7 December on Resonance104.4fm, one of the oldest art radio stations in the world, and a concert in Cafe OTO on 8 December.


Golden Bobby from the Verband Deutscher Tonmeister
At the Verbandes Deutscher Tonmeister awards for professional production, Audio and Video Engineering graduate Dipl.-Ing. Jonathan Hoffmann won the first prize in two categories. The old fashioned by Monophonist won in the Rock category, and in the Jazz category it was the title ASDF by C.A.R.. In total Jonathan Hoffman has already received four awards, after prizes at the Audio Engineering Society's student competitions in 2009 and the VDT in 2010.


IMM BASECAMP: Max Hattler on Filming between Abstraction and Figuration
In his work, the German artist Max Hattler concerns himself with the space between abstraction and figuration in animated imagery, where narrative is uncoupled from the limits of traditional storytelling. In his lecture on 11 December at 17.00 (IMM Studio A 2.24), Max Hattler presents some of his work and offers an insight into his way of working.
Max Hattler studied in London at Goldsmiths College (BA), the Royal College of Art (MA) and the University of East London (Doctorate in Fine Art). Max Hattler has collaborated with musicians and bands such as Basement Jaxx, Julien Mier, Jovanotti, Pixelord, The Egg, Jemapur and his father Hellmut Hattler. He is Visiting Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.




From the IMM majors


Major Classical Music Recording:
Recording with the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media’s symphony orchestra
On 30 November, the symphony concert of the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media’s school orchestra was recorded by students of the specialisation module Classical Music Recording. The concert took place in the Tonhalle Düsseldorf, led by Prof. Rüdiger Bohn. The pieces performed were Arnold Schönbergs Chamber Symphony No. 1, the Symphony No. 7 by Ludwig van Beethoven and the song cycle Les nuits d’eté by Hector Berlioz with vocal soloists from the school.
In the six-person sound team, supervised by Prof. Dagmar Birwe, Kathrin Lachenmaier took on the tasks of the recording producer and Fabian Bitter those of the audio engineer. The IMM’s sound broadcasting van was used in the recordings.


Major Music Informatics:
A Mind-Reading (?) Machine
In 1953 a memorandum with this title, written by Claude E. Shannon, circulated in the Bell Laboratories. The electrical device it describes, inspired by early work on game theory and Edgar Allen Poe’s The Purloined Letter, easily wins against human players in the so-called game of even and odd. In the specialist module Music Informatics we performed a detailed assessment of the underlying algorithm, using its formalisation of the intuition of intuition as the basis for a generalised use as an improvisation algorithm. The principles of object orientation proved to be especially useful as a means of analysis. Various experiments with rhythmic structures made it possible to observe the relationships between musical improvisation and strategic expectations.


Major Music and Audivisual Media:
The finishing touch
In addition to creativity and team spirit, audiovisual productions particularly also require perseverance. Especially in the post-production phase the persons responsible need plenty of staying power. Currently a number of productions that were created during the two-term specialisation module are found in this phase of production. Before the end of this year the trailer Willkommen in Deutschland [Welcome to Germany] by Alex Kühn and the image film for the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media Music is..., which was created within the framework of the Bachelor thesis of Sebastian Heuckmann (music) and Stefan Haupt (script, direction and production) will receive finishing touches.
Both pieces of work will premiere on the occasion of the New Year's reception of the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media on 8 January.


Major Music and Media Management:
Business start-ups
In the current winter semester, five small student groups are working on their business plans. This seminar brings the specialisation module Music and Media Management to a close and gives the students an opportunity to make use of the economic and legal knowledge acquired in the core module, by working on their own business start-up ideas. The ideas in this course are once again very varied and promising. They include a new concept for acoustic consulting, a special form of music journalism, a technology-supported method for teaching drummers, a special form of mastering, and commissioned compositions for a specific target market.


Major Music and Text:
Digital was better
Waltraud Blischke, assistant professor for Speaking and Writing about Music, makes her debut as a new co-editor of Testcard, the critical anthology of pop history and pop theory, in the issue Bug Report. Digital war besser [Bug Report. Digital was better]. In her own contributions and editorial work, she was responsible for, among other things, the topic of cultural, sociological and aesthetic aspects of digitalisation.


Major Visual Music:
Olympia by Orson Hentschel at tanzhaus nrw
On 10 January at 10:15 pm, the tanzhaus nrw is showing the live performance Olympia by Orson Hentschel (Music and Media program). Afterwards there will be a party in the tanzhaus nrw foyer, with live visuals from Tim Fehske, assistant professor for Visual Music Technology/Production, to music by Christian S (Cómeme), assistant professor for Visual Composition / Graphic Design.
Olympia combines video footage from the Olympic Games with electronic music. By cutting, looping and changing the speed of the video material, the movement of the athletes appears to be controlled and choreographed. The period between complete concentration and peak physical performance is extended by the looping process, and brought to a climax with music loosely modelled on the minimal music style. Loud, low-frequency musical structures make the physicality of the athletes tangible. The performance will be supported by the drummer Lukas Baumgart.
Olympia was created as a final project in the specialisation module Visual Music, supervised by Andreas Kolinski and Prof. Dr. Heike Sperling.


IMM Chronicle November 2014


Prize for young talent from the Association of German Sound Engineers
Dipl.-Ing. Michael Zöllner has been awarded a prize for young talent by the Verband Deutscher Tonmeister for his 5.1. surround mix of the 40 minute long Visual Music documentation toktek. The production was created with, a new music video production company, which he founded along with Florian Breuer and Maurice Graf, both of whom are IMM graduates.
The VDT prize for young talent in the Ton zum Bild [sound to image] category is already toktek’s second award. In 2011 it was awarded a prize at the 130th Student Recording Competition of the Audio Engineering Society in London.

Christians S on Boilerroom
Christian Schäfer is not just an art director and assistant professor for Visual Composition / Graphic Design at the IMM, he has also been an active house and techno DJ for 20 years, both in Germany and abroad. In October he was a live guest with the label collective Cómeme in London for the well-known Web TV format Boilerroom. His performance can be heard and seen again on all online channels.


Performances on the topic of the first world war
On 19 November 2014 the Thanatos. WK 1. performances on the topic of the First World War took place in the Institut Francais in Düsseldorf. Marc Matter, assistant professor for Music and Text, was also there, presenting the experimental audio piece Die toten Dichter / Les poètes mortes [The dead poets] together with Enno Stahl. An audio piece with live elements, that – with integrated sound art effects – once again gives voice to texts from 15 German and 15 French authors who fell in the First World War.
Thanatos. WK 1. Performances zum Ersten Weltkrieg [Thanatos. WW1. Performances based on the First World War] is an event from the Heinrich-Heine-Institut.


Thomas Ankersmit and Phill Niblock visit the IMM
On 18 November from 2:30pm to 6pm, two artists from this year’s Approximation Festival, Thomas Ankersmit and Phill Niblock, are visiting the experimental laboratory to present their work.
Thomas Ankersmit is a virtuoso of analog technology and will demonstrate his working methods with the experimental laboratory’s Hordijk modular system. Phill Niblock is known equally as a composer and a filmmaker. His magnum opus The movement of people working combines his extremely dense microtonal drone compositions with film recordings from all parts of the world, which use long camera shots to accompany people during their day-to-day routines. He will talk about and present examples of his work at the IMM.


IMM BASECAMP: Hauschka about the Use of Chance Operation
On 13 November at 17.00 (IMM Studio A 2.24) Volker Bertelman aka Hauschka discusses and challenges changes of direction in life, the coincidences and the unexpected in music and the wide range of possibilities in his biographical lecture. Based on his own life history he will pursue the question of why success is connected to perhaps the most unpopular move in his biography and how decisive turning points and changes in the perception of your surroundings help.
Volker Bertelmann began working with a prepared piano under the name of Hauschka without having heard of John Cage. Since 2005, the Düsseldorf pianist has researched sound spaces. The performance on the prepared piano is being turned into an Adventure in sound that is continued over several albums. Of all Volker Berlemann's numerous works, the Hauschka albums have had the greatest resonance with the public and critics.


Lectures from Julian David at the German Tonmeistertagung convention
For the coming 28th German Tonmeistertagung convention in Cologne, Audio and Video Engineering graduate Dipl.-Ing. Julian David will present no less than three workshops and lectures.
It starts on 21 November with a talkback lecture on album production with the Cologne singer Frau Karo, asking the question of how an album can be produced and recorded on a very limited budget while working with a producer on the other side of an ocean.
Titled It's not about the gear! Artist-centric recording strategies that put the performance first, on 22 November it’s all about artist-based recording strategies and techniques far removed from the famous 19 inch discussions – an approach that may be controversial, but despite this often produces the best possible presentation of the musicians.
In a product-related workshop for the American microphone manufacturer AEA Ribbon Mics on 23 November, Julian David will additionally demonstrate the advantages of the Nuvo series for project studios and sound reinforcement applications.
Julian David is a freelance music producer and sound engineer, and returned to Germany in May 2014 after several years in the USA, in order to run his own song writing, producing, recording and mixing studio in Cologne.


Aesthesis and Perceptronium: Experience as a State of Matter
On November 11th the Music Informatics major wil host a seminar with Alexander Wilson. He will look at aesthetics, media, technology, and the analog-digital divide from a materialist and information theoretic perspective, with the goal of illuminating the role of experience in the anthropocene, the age of ecological crisis and of the looming post-human. How might aesthesis be understood if subtracted from human judgment? What does experience consist of out there in the wild, beyond the human? What are its minimal criteria? The recent and under-examined materialist revival of panpsychism in the context of neuroscience and quantum physics (integrated information theory of consciousness) makes several claims about these minimal criteria of experience. We will compare these to the standard streams of discourse on aesthetics and subjectivity, articulating our investigation around examples drawn from the arts and media.


Marc Matter at the WDR Studio for Acoustic Art
On 14 November the WDR Studio Akustische Kunst is broadcasting the piece Entstehung dunkel [Developing Darkness], which Marc Matter, assistant professor for Music and Text, developed together with the poet Dagmara Kraus. The pair have used polyphonic pieces, lyrical structures and rhythmic sound textures to compose an acoustic picture puzzle made up of vocal sounds and text material.

Guest engagement at the Deutsche Oper Berlin

As part of the piece In Transit, Music and Media student Richard Eisenach is currently working at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Richard Eisennach (contrabass, electric bass), IMM alumnus Lukas Truniger (electronics) and Robert Schumann School of Music and Media alumnus Mischa Tangian (composition, arrangement, violin) are playing together with the musicians and singers of the opera ensemble, led by director Eva-Maria Abelein.
The stylistic spectrum of the pieces is as diverse as the backgrounds of the singers, ranging from Viennese songs to Broadway numbers, from Kosovo folk songs and romantic art songs to rock and hip hop. Based on this variety, the poetic potential of transit lounges unfolds into a kaleidoscope of short snapshots.




From the IMM majors


Major Classical Music Recording:
Tutor for concert recordings and chamber music productions
Starting from November 2014, Sarah Zabel is the tutor responsible for coordinating concert recordings and chamber music productions at the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media. Her tasks include taking recording requests from the students and finding a suitable IMM recording producer student. She also does the reverse, helping Classical Music Recording students to find suitable musicians and ensembles for their productions. In addition, Sarah Zabel organises recordings of as many concerts as possible at the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media. Now performers have a permanent contact person for when they are planning a recording of their concerts.
The goal of the newly created tutor position is to bring as many Robert Schumann School of Music and Media students and IMM students together as possible, and in the long term to achieve more regular and intensive exchange between musicians and audio engineers, as well as recording producers.


Major Media Composition:
Nomination for the European Talent Award
Moritz Laux, student on the Audio and Video program and graduate of the specialisation module Media Composition, is one of the 12 nominees for this year’s European Talent Awards. His music, written for the experimental animated film Contrast by Carmen Büchner (2013), will be presented in the Cologne Rautenstrauch-Jost-Museum on 22 November at SoundTrack_Cologne, where it will be judged by a prominent jury.
The film is like an abstract painting and also a detailed vision of the beauty of a wild, overgrown, flowery meadow. Under the surface of the thicket, however, a nightmarish microcosm and an action-packed battle of life and death are revealed. With Contrast, the organisers have for the first time chosen a more abstract film for the competition. The large amount of artistic freedom created a particular challenge for the participants to overcome.


Major Music Informatics:
The methods of Music Informatics
The subject matter of Music Informatics is algorithms in their broadest sense – systems of rules, which develop over time and become audible while doing so. In the first few sessions, the basic module gave an insight into their methods: Hybrid Sound Composition assistant professor Hans W. Koch, together with the students, laid the foundations for building a relay-based automaton and Prof. Julian Rohrhuber created a simple programming language with free word choice. Guests were also involved: Willi Sauter developed a chaotic system on an analogue computer and Oliver Wittchow spoke about artistic software development and the boundary between free experimentation and performance, between computer games and computer music.


Major Music Production:
This year, a production of the music program Music@Studio1 once again took place in collaboration with students and teaching staff of the specialisation module Music and Audiovisual Media. Over the course of three days various bands were recorded at the IMM. Music and Media student Kai Detlefsen took on the role of the recording producer. The audio production took place in Sound control room 1, which is adjacent to TV studio 1. The work was part of the project module of the Music and Media program.


Major Music and Audiovisual Media:
Multi-camera production of Berlioz and Beethoven
Location scouting in the Tonhalle, deciding on camera positions, meeting conductors, watching and analysing recordings, arranging music scores, writing cutting lists, setting up recording devices... the students of the specialisation module Music and Audiovisual Media are preparing for the multi-camera recording of a symphony concert: Big Bang 02 on 30 November starting at 6pm in the Tonhalle Düsseldorf. The Robert Schumann School of Music and Media’s symphony orchestra will be playing, led by Rüdiger Bohn. The program: Les nuits d'été op.7 by Hector Berlioz, Symphony No.7 in A major op.92 by Ludwig van Beethoven and Chamber Symphony op.9. by Arnold Schönberg.
Under the guidance of Prof. Manfred Waffender (production and direction), Prof. Ulla Barthold (camera) and Florian Boddin (video engineering), all roles have been filled by students. Production management: Armin Badde, technical management: Christoph Niemeier, direction: Daniel Langemann, Nadine Minderjahn, Sören Klitzing. Students from the major Classical Music Recording are responsible for the audio recording. Kathrin Lachenmaier has taken on the sound engineer role.


Major Musik and Media Management:
Basics of important income sources
Music Management assistant professor Frank Kühl will be analysing contract types specific to the music and media industries with students in the second semester of the Music and Media Law seminar, on the basis of German Civil Law and using knowledge of copyright laws. In this seminar Frank Kühl will discuss cases of contract or copyright law violation and explain the basics of important income sources for creators and performing artists, for example copyright collecting societies and their legal foundations and distribution plans. Other topics include current developments such as the increasing use of Creative Commons licences and the establishment of new copyright collecting societies.


Major Music and Text:
Johanna Dombois visits the IMM
At 3:30 pm on 7 November the opera director and author Johanna Dombois will be a guest in the Artistic Text seminar. She will be speaking about the interdependence between classical music theatre and new media technologies and different forms of text which result from the experimental within the repertoire of opera. She will also consider the question of what imbalances between text, voice, gesture, music and sounds exist in this genre, and how it might be possible to isolate these elements. A quote from Heiner Müller serves as the motto for her reflections: Zusammenhang - das ist die Lüge [Context – that is the lie].


Major Visual Music:
Visual music portrait of the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media
A glance at the rear of the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media in Düsseldorf, which is out of hearing range. Where the windows are closed and the curtains drawn to allow for anonymous practicing, striving to achieve concert level. This is the perspective that last year’s Kammermusik [Chamber Music] study by Music and Media student Katharina Blanken was created from in the major Visual Music. The idea of creating a visual sound portrait of the Robert Schumann School of Music and Media, in which the independent rehearsals of musicians are brought together, examines and illuminates the inner workings of a music school.
Now a new level of sound and image is being created to develop this portrait. Working from the project original idea, IMM students Katharina Blanken (audio and images) and Gabriel Denhoff (audio) are composing a perspective on the renowned music school that is profound in the truest sense of the word. For the observer this creates a new insight and a questionable ensemble.
This project is being created as part of the project module in the major Music and Media and supervised by Prof. Dr. Heike Sperling.