VIDEOSRobert Henke & Christopher Bauder at MUTEK 2009
Robert Henke - Layering Buddha - 10 Layer 010
Robert Henke - Piercing Music - Piercing Music
On a recent snowy evening in Berlin, Henke made an appearance at the MusicMakers Hacklab, a weeklong workshop at CTM 2014 that’s co-hosted by Peter Kirn of Create Digital Music. In this live interview, Henke shares his wisdom with Will Lynch and the dozens of young producers gathered before him.
After premiering his new Lumière project, Robert Henke sat down with Red Bull Music Academy to talk through pivotal moments in his career thus far. Listen to the 60-minute podcast here.
Robert Henke aka Monolake will feature “Dust” at a special concert called Feed . To give you an idea of what to expect Henke explained his piece as follows, “The piece I am going to perform is a version of ‘Dust’, which is based on a process called granular synthesis that allows me to take my source material – an ever growing collection of sounds I found interesting – and fragment them into millions of little pieces that I can re-arrange during the concert into highly complex and slowly evolving textures.”
The concert is taking place at Kunstwerke, Auguststraße 69, 10117 Berlin on 31.10.13. He will share the stage with other artists Lesley Flanigan and Tristian Perich. For more information go to the official event site here or over on Facebook.
Robert Henke has created a new live showed called Lumière that will be premiered this fall at the Unsound Festival in Krakow. About the performance Henke writes, “This is probably my most ambitious work so far: The creation of a complete new audiovisual performance, which includes programming, recording of sounds, composing music, figuring out what I can do – and what I want to do – with the lasers, how I want to control all this in realtime during the performance, and so on. The more I work on this project, the more I realize one thing: It is a lot of work and a huge challenge.”
Henke will continue to perform the live set through the fall at various other locations. To read full details of the performance please visit Henke’s website here.
Note to promotors: Monolake is not currently available for any bookings. New bookings will be taken on after the next album is completed. We will make an announcement when this occurs!
It should be a busy few months for Henke, the acclaimed artist (perhaps best known as Monolake), university professor and one of the original creators of the Ableton Live software. He’s currently an Artist in Residence at Stanford University in California, and this week he began teaching a specialized course on computer music. He also has a few speaking appearances lined up, to go along with his schedule of live music performances.
This Saturday and Sunday in San Francisco, Henke will link up with visual artist Tarik Barri for a pair of Monolake shows, headlining the annual Modulations event hosted by Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). Those sets will be focused on material from Ghosts, the 2012 full-length produced as the middle piece of an as-yet unfinished album trilogy. The two-night Modulations program will also feature a set from Rvng Intl. artist Holly Herndon.
Then in May, Henke will showcase the avant-garde improvisations of one of his other projects, Dust, at four gigs. The first will take place at Northwestern University in Evanston, just north of Chicago, on Saturday the 4th. Two more are scheduled at Stanford, before Henke hits Denver on Friday, May 31st (details for that one are still TBA).
RA recently caught up with Henke via email to talk about Monolake, Dust, Stanford, Ableton, and his next major undertaking.
You’ve been playing plenty of Monolake shows in support of last year’s Ghosts LP. How do you feel about the response to the album? Can you recall your favorite Ghosts performance, or a particularly memorable one?
In general I am quite happy with the overall response to the album. Some people who are not very much into electronic music in general love it, and I get a lot of great feedback from very unexpected perspectives. Some folks are not satisfied because it is not the sound they used to like, it is “too clean.” However, I am tired of repeating a sonic aesthetic that I hear everywhere else. I’ve reached a position where I feel free to do what ever I like artistically, and that’s very important to me. If I don’t try new things, I will never understand what works and what doesn’t.
I had the best and the most disastrous performance in Bergen, Norway. The first time we had a great soundcheck and right before the concert someone dropped the soundcard from my table and we were not able to get it to run again. The result was the first ever Monolake performance that had to be cancelled right before the show. We agreed with the promoter to repeat it a few months later, and that second show went extremely well. I made a lot of quite experimental decisions on the fly and the result was quite stunning. The other really remarkable highlight was the performance at Decibel Festival, in Seattle last year. We had a prototype of a new PA system from EAW available and it sounded incredibly good. I never had better sound on stage and on the dancefloor. There were a lot of folks from the manufacturer present and they were completely blown away by what I did with their system.
What can US fans expect from your Monolake and Dust performances this spring?
The Ghosts performance presents clearly recognizable material from the album, but presented in a different way, with different structure, and in surround sound, with amazing visualizations by Tarik Barri. [For these shows] I dedicated a lot of time to the changes and really revisited a few of the tracks. The differences might be subtle in parts, and in others I almost rebuild the tracks completely. Dust is a spectral piece, focusing on slow changes of complex sonic material. No beats, just massive layers—somewhere in between ambient, drone, musique concrète and noise. It is not really a single piece, rather a large set of potential elements that I merge and deconstruct in an improvised way during the performance.