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Monophonie

He entices new sounds from a wild collection of home-mde instruments: Berlin-based DJ Phillip Sollmann.

In the international club scene the DJ and techno producer Phillip Sollmann is better known as Efdemin. Under this pseudonym he stands at the turntable in hip Berlin clubs, and releases records on the Hamburg label Dial Records. But first and foremost, Sollmann is a passionate inventor, and his musical experiments regularly prompt him to venture into uncharted territory.

Interview with Phillip Sollmann

Phillip Sollmann

THE INSTRUMENTS OF HARRY PARTCH

At a concert given by the Ensemble Musikfabrik, Phillip Sollmann heard the strange instruments built by American composer Harry Partch: marimbas made from light bulbs, bells from cut-off demijohns, Japanese temple bowls…Sollmann was delighted by what he heard.

»It was one of my most intense musical experiences,« he says, looking back. »Afterwards, I was even keener to work not only with the instruments, but with the ensemble as well: Musikfabrik couldn’t be more different; they are simply unique.« Sollmann started to explore the work of Harry Partch, and this marked the beginning of »Monophonie«.

THE BIRTH OF MONOPHONIE

Phillip Sollmann Monophonie

FROM ANALOGUE TO DIGITAL AND BACK TO ANALOGUE

For »Monophonie«, in addition to the Harry Partch instruments, Sollmann also uses a double siren made by acoustic researcher Hermann von Helmholtz, as well as instruments built specially for this piece by Val Bertoia. In order to be able to work with the different instruments, Sollmann recorded them singly and stored them on his computer as samples. He then started to compose at the computer using these files. In the next step, his compositions were translated back into a score so that it could be played by the Ensemble Musikfabrik.

Thus »Monophonie«, although it was composed electronically, is purely acoustic, »microtonal, polyrhythmic music«, as Sollmann himself says. Nonetheless, when the deep bass of Partch’s giant marimba is heard on stage, the listener feels a bit as if he were in a club.

EXTRACT FROM MONOPHONIE

Phillip Sollmann

»Monophonie« can be heard live in Hamburg at Greatest Hits, the festival for contemporary music put on by the Elbphilharmonie, Kampnagel and NDR »das neue werk«. The Ensemble Musikfabrik and its collection of instruments present the piece on 2 and 3 November at Kampnagel.

Hear »Monophonie« at the »Greatest Hits« festival on 2 and 3 November

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Monophonie beim Festival »Greatest Hits«

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