The “Modular Synthesizer Ensemble” is a social-acoustic and participative music project and offers the possibility to make music together in an ensemble without any previous musical knowledge.
The project makes it possible to design the process of creating electronic sounds with the analog Modular Synthesizer. The participants experiment, improvise and compose together and perform the results live in public.
Welcome to Superbooth 2023, it’s with great pleasure that we are all here together.
I’m very proud to let you know that at this event we will have another performance of the Modular Synthesizer Ensemble. In front of us there are 12 modular synthesizer cases which all together form one big ensemble.
The artists behind these modular synths are from the Wolkenstein Schule and the whole project is based on the foundation of gammon.at who is here with us for another edition of SuperBooth this year to present another edition of the Modular Synthesizer Ensemble.
Interviewer: ‘Gammon, I gave a short introduction, but please can you explain to me what is going on here.’
Gammon: ‘Thank you for your introduction, it is great to get this opportunity in the auditorium of FEZ-Berlin during SuperBooth 23. I would like to use this opportunity to first say thank you to the Miller-Zillmer Foundation for their support.
Gammon continues, this morning a school class arrived from the Wolkenstein Schule in Berlin. The children from this primary school had no previous experience with synthesizers prior to this workshop. This morning we have worked together to prepare a live performance for you here at SuperBooth.
These children will control the instruments they have been presented to them and have prepared all the ‘patches’ themselves. The result of this exercise can be heard here, today, during SuperBooth.
Interviewer: ‘When did you start with this project?’ Gammon: 'Good question! Me and Andreas have known each other prior, we actually met in Vienna in Austria. Andreas has asked me, what are you actually doing?’ Andreas: ‘You answered me that you were working on projects with children and we have started working together to make this dream come to reality.’
I’m going to switch back to English (from German) now as I know there are 2 guests here from New Zealand with us in the audience today, this is the furthest location away from Berlin and that you can travel to SuperBooth to in the world. I would like to give my respect to all people coming from overseas, wherever they come from and join us here at SuperBooth.
Gammon and I have founded this project during the first edition of SuperBooth, where this was conducted with a normal school class from a primary school in Berlin. These students, which are children, are now playing on 12 modular systems that they have never seen in their life, until today.
The students came in at 9AM in the morning today, and Gammon has led them to find their own creative way to create noise with the modular systems in front of them and now, a couple of hours later, they are playing a concert for you here at SuperBooth.
Gammon: ‘To continue and complete the story, Andreas has asked me to collaborate on this project and it is unbelievable how well the project shaped up. More so, when we started out we did not know what kind of success this was going to be but as of today we have conducted 189 workshops with these instruments, and a whopping 2337 participants have joined us on these workshops during this short amount of time. This is something I had not imagined and all of this could only happen because Andreas believed in my idea, vision and supported the project over and over to make this happen. Thank you!
Interviewer: ‘Now I understand the term social acoustics. We have these systems in front of us that, without cables would not play a single sound. Why modular?
Gammon: I’ve started out with modular in the 90’s with Doepfer modules which I collected during touring with our band. To me it was always important for this project to keep in mind that modular synthesizers start with a blank canvas which means that it is possible for everybody to be part of this ensemble, including those without experience. It is fascinating for the participants to see that they are part of a true ensemble at the end of this workshop and perform on stage.
Interviewer: ‘The set-up you have here with the Modular Synthesizer Ensemble is almost like a reference to the history of electronic music, going all the way back to the beginning of the 20th century with the Trautonium and Theremin. Can you tell us a bit more about these modules?
Gammon: ‘This is another aspect that is of importance for the project and the modular synthesizer ensemble. It is important to have different ‘characters’ in an ensemble of any kind, including different functions for the instruments as this creates the ensemble you can hear here today. Every instrument is a single voice, we have a variety of systems here which indeed include a Trautonium, Theremin and different characters of sound.
As I said, most of the modules you see in the cases are Doepfer modules as I met Dieter (Doepfer) early on during our tours. As we played live I have collected a lot of Doepfer modules for our performances. When I started the Modular Synth Ensemble I had about 100 modules, some going as far back as the beginning of the 90’s and all of those modules are still here in good condition and sounding as they have sounded from the first day I got them.
Andreas: Wrapping it up, last week we had the MiniBooth event here at FEZ Berlin which is a low level entrance to the world of electronic music focusing on education and workshops. It is important to understand it is not just music here, it is education on mathematics, physics and music all combined in one as we need to understand the world at different levels.
Feel free to watch the full performance on the Sine Community YouTube here: