Portraying artwork
Chapter 1
Art Creativity Music

New worlds emerge from old sounds

Wolfgang Voigt

Artist, Music producer, Label owner and Co-Founder of Electronica & Techno label Kompakt, Cologne

New worlds emerge from old sounds: What we can learn from music about making new worlds when Man and Machine meet in new ways?

My work RÜCKVERZAUBERUNG 4 is an ambient trip of one hour through more than three centuries of musical history—and more. It resembles the Renaissance principle of constructing new worlds—in this case in music—with new scientific methods building on historical inspirations. Aligning Man and Machine in radically fresh, innovative ways is a method to create and make the new. My interpretation of this Renaissance method, applied in the 21st century, is “Looping”—in music and painting.

We hear the medieval sounds of lutes and flutes weaving into fragments of baroque falsetto singing, bells and bugles, creating abstract, amorphous sound constructs. Little spinet and harp loops gyrate intoxicatedly across beautifully feverish violin planes. Atonality and euphony flow into each other effortlessly and part again. New worlds emerge from old sounds.

In my musical and pictorial work I have mostly followed strictly conceptual principles, which I repeatedly refine and variegate. Besides a predominantly sample-based, sometimes abstract, sometimes gestural, sometimes figurative musical language, it is mainly the loop principle that has fascinated me all along. The static or varied replay of minimalistic, repetitive structures births certain patterns and shapes. This way of creating is influenced and structured by computer-based programs. And although, or maybe because of, the computer being my primary artistic medium in both disciplines—and I mainly considers myself a digital artist—I occasionally transpose my conceptual, mostly serial ideas to the „live“ instrument (Freiland Klaviermusik) and „real“ colour (machine painting).

My work since 1990 can be understood in light of one of today’s most pressing questions: How are Man and Machine related? My work has been driven by the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence which is constantly changing our understanding of this relationship. The traditional balance of Man and Machine, of Artificial and Artistic Intelligence, formerly carved out in the Renaissance, is being changed in the 21st century by new emerging technologies. RÜCKVERZAUBERUNG 4 is an exploration of this change expressed in the musical and visual arts: The Loop as a Method.

About the work of Wofgang Voigt:

The creative body of Wolfgang Voigt has always been characterised by complexity, boundlessness, unpredictability. The negation of the bounds of genre, style, and taste has been and still is today a crucial element of his body of work, just like the uptake, quotation and processing of external contents through universal sampling. Having been socialised in the pop culture of the 1970s and 80s, Voigt has since been creating his very own art-music cosmos influenced by glam rock and jazz, new wave and folk music, pop art, and digital expressionism. In the 1990s, Voigt, a founding member and influential part of the Cologne-based electronic label Kompakt, advanced in the wake of the globally booming techno movement, restlessly driven by his iconic straight bass drum, producing countless projects ranging from formally rigorous minimalism and expressive hardcore acid, to gabber and polka, to driving the conceptual techno made in Cologne (Sound of Cologne). His audiovisual project GAS, based on psychedelically-compressed classical sound sources in combination with ecstatically-focused forest photographs and films, has captured audiences far beyond electronic music and techno.

Listen to & Buy WOLFGANG VOIGT – RÜCKVERZAUBERUNG 4 10/2011 Profan CD11: https://kompakt.fm/releases/rueckverzauberung_4_digital_album


Wolfgang Voigt

Grown up and socialized in the pop sub-culture of the 1970s and 1980s, Voigt has developed his own art and sound that cross genres, mixing music styles such as glam rock, pop, jazz, classic, punk, and new wave, and art movements such as pop art and the Neue Wilde (the ‘New Wild Ones’). Inspired by the minimalist structures of this creative expressions, Voigt works around the most diverse facets of his own ideas of subversive concept art and music. Two fundamental approaches, through innumerable variations, characterize Voigt’s music and artwork. The first: the loop principle – the static or varying repetition of minimalist, repetitive structures which generate specific patterns. The structure of computer-based music production and associated software clearly and strongly influences this artistic concept, reflected in Voigt’s body of art and music. The second: the abstract deforming and condensing of external resources, i.e. the sampling of different sounds or images reduced to their original basic structure, their raw aesthetics, in a certain sense their (hypothetical) liberation, and transferred into a new context – a process that Voigt calls „Entdeutung“, i.e. de-signification.

Picture: © Unland