Derek Holzer (born 1972, USA) is a sound artist with a background in radio, webstreaming and environmental recording. His work focuses on the often unpredictable details to be found in field recordings and self-built analog electronic sound synthesizers, as well as strategies for collaborations and free and open source software such as Pure Data. He has released tracks under the Nexsound, Mandorla, Sirr, and/OAR and Gruenrekorder labels, and has co-initiated several internet projects for field recording and collaborative soundscapes including Soundtransit.nl. Holzer has performed live, improvised electronic music, created sound installations and given workshops in basic electronics, field recording and Pure Data programming in many venues and festivals in Europe, North America, New Zealand and Brasil. Derek Holzer is a fellow at the KHM-Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln, Cologne, DE from Sept 2009 to March 2010.
Tonewheels is an experiment in converting graphical imagery to sound, inspired by some of the pioneering 20th Century electronic music inventions. Transparent tonewheels with repeating patterns are spun over light-sensitive electronic circuitry to produce sound and light pulsations and textures. This all-analog set is performed entirely live without the use of computers, using only overhead projectors as light source, performance interface and audience display. In this way, Tonewheels aims to open up the “black box” of electronic music and video by exposing the working processes of the performance for the audience to see.
The project was developed further for the Passengers International Festival of Public Art, which took place in Warsaw during October 2007. There, the piece was premiered in it’s fullest form-a duo using one projector for sound generation and another for visual manipulation. Holzer continued to develop the sonic aspects of Tonewheels for a 3 month residency at Tesla, Berlin DE during the months of Oct-Dec 2007, as well as in residence at STEIM, Amsterdam NL during February 2008. A workshop on analog sound and light techniques is also under development, and was first held at the WAVES exhibition in Dortmund, DE during June 2008. A lecure on the history of graphical synthesis and “drawn sound” is also available. Finally, experiments for a Tonewheels installation, which visitors and audience members can play with light or design graphical scores for, were made at Access Space, Sheffield UK during July 2008.