Tuesday, February 5

Monolake/Robert Henke 2008

(Editor's note: from guest contributor Melody Watson)
Almost exactly four years after his last memorable performance in Auckland, Robert Henke (otherwise known as Monolake) graces our New Zealand shores once again.

Those of you who went to that 2003 gig will know that it was one to remember, one that people still talk about even now. This year’s performance promises to be no different.

Monolake has been an integral part of the minimal techno scene in Berlin since the early 1990’s and had releases on the groundbreaking label “Chain Reaction” before starting to release music on his on label “ Imbalance Computer Music”

Monolake describes his music thus: “I create music people can dance to, music people want to experience also with their bodies, massive rhythmical structures, temporary sonic architecture with carefully choosen textures, shimmering details, constantly breathing and pulsating objects in time. …Music in which is nothing is static and which wants to exist as a state rather then a story, music which is the result of an intense occupation with detail and which still leaves enough room for interpretation. Music which improves if played loud over giant speaker stacks. Those works are released under the project name Monolake and usually labelled techno, minimal, electro or dub.” He has performed as Monolake a number of times at various prestigious festivals such as Mutek in Montreal (www.mutek.ca) and Transmediale (www.transmediale.de).

Robert has also been involved with a very interesting collaboration with various producers over the world. This is called “Atlantic Waves” and it comprises Robert jamming in real-time with such people as Deadbeat (aka Scott Monteith) and Torsten Proefrock who is associated with the Basic Channel label. He has performed this in such places as the Tate modern and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. I was lucky enough to catch this when I was in Berlin, with Robert jamming with Deadbeat in New York. It sounded really great, and you could also see what was happening due to the interface being projected.

Yet another project (this Robert Henke is a busy boy!) revolves around the use of buddha machines. Here’s what online music magazine Gridface said about Layering Buddha: “Here the lovable FM3 Buddha Machine is his source. The result is a gorgeous ambient album of echoes and crescendos. At times the pieces are soothing (“Layer 001”), other times they are tense and immense (“Layer 002”). The incredible heft of these sounds is a result of Henke’s recording process. Henke used a state-of-the-art A/D converter to record information up to 48 kHz, allowing him to pitch the recordings down to reveal previously inaudible data.”

Robert describes his Layering Buddha performance as “music that needs attention and focus, that slowly builds up intricate and fragile structures, morphing timbres constructed of millions of microscopic sonic particles, cathedrals of filtered noises, dynamic and dramatic processes that grab the listener and throws them into a new state, or music that is almost invisible, floating around like air, music that grows when performed live using multiple channels of audio“. Layering Buddha was awarded an Honorary Mention in the Digital Music category at the 2007 Prix Ars Electronica competition.

Catch Robert Henke perform his Layering Buddha piece in a six channel surround sound environment on the 26th of February at 10/12 Customs St. He will be joined by Rosy Parlane (who releases on Touch), Nigel Wright (who releases on CMR ) and Rose. The performance starts at 8pm and costs $20 ($15 for AF members)

You can also catch Robert performing as Monolake at Coherent the Saturday before (the 23rd). He will be joined by local DJ’s Miles Kuen, Melody and Darin King as well as Wilberforce who will be playing a live dubstep set. This event will start at 10pm and will cost $20 on the door.

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