is well known in improv circles internationally. Though he is a man of few recordings, Ankersmit has a hectic performance schedule and collaborates with a wide range of artists for live appearances. Initially an improvising saxophonist, Ankersmit established himself as an explorer of the timbral extremes of the instrument, recontextualising its possibilities, pushing it into uncharted territories far removed from the tropes of jazz or improv.
More recently, Ankersmit’s interests have expanded into improvised electronics. Using a computer and synthesizers, he constructs electronic hives of micro-sounds and signals with an acute sense of detail and intensity. Ankersmit combines the delicate instability of analogue synthesizers with the precision of computer, editing and multitracking. He uses an EMS Synthi A – an early 70's portable analogue synthesizer – in combination with a computer running Max/MSP. Ankersmit also creates installation pieces using sound, infrasound and modifications to the acoustic character of spaces.
Ankersmit (b.1979) was raised in the university town of Leiden, South Holland, and became seriously interested in music only after being exposed to underground/noise rock – the Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Sonic Youth etc – through friends in high school in his early teens. After buying a guitar, he was taught how to make feedback by his father setting the scene for later sound experiments.
He then spent several years with the prepared guitar and old cassette, putting his fingers on the circuit boards to create feedback, etc.
When he was seventeen, Ankersmit moved to Amsterdam to study at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy of Art. He went to New York in early 1999 as an exchange student at the School of Visual Arts. It was a very productive time; Ankersmit discovered the saxophone, became involved with a group of musicians and began playing music in public for the first time. He later returned to Europe to settle in Berlin where he attended the Hochschule der Künste.
Ankersmit has produced only three published recordings. The first was a self-titled, self-released, Mini CD in 2001, most of which were sold at live shows in Japan. An Untitled CDr followed in 2003, which featured Kevin Drumm on the first track, in a micro edition of just fifty copies, and finally in 2005, an official release on Berlin label Tochnit Aleph with Jim O’Rourke. The split EP featured Ankersmit on the A-side with Weerzin
, a composition with computer, Serge and EMS Synthesizers, and saxophone. On the flip was O’Rourke’s Oscillators And Guitars
. Several other traces of Ankersmit’s work can be found on published CDs. One of his tracks appears on Meeting At Off Site Vol. 1
from Improvised Music From Japan (2002), and he has engineering credits on Phill Niblock’s Touch album Three
Ankersmit most frequently collaborates with Phill Niblock
. They met in New York in 1999. When Ankersmit went to the shows at Niblock’s loft in SoHo. And later they were both invited to take part in an exhibition in Tokyo in the summer of 2003. They have since established a strong working relationship. Ankersmit also works with Milan-based electroacoustic improviser Giuseppe Ielasi. Other collaboration partners include Axel Dörner, Keith Rowe, Taku Sugimoto, Thomas Lehn, Voice Crack, Gert-Jan Prins
, Borbetomagus, Takehisa Kosugi and Alvin Lucier
His work has been presented at PS1/MoMA (New York), de Appel and Paradiso (Amsterdam), Kunstwerke, Podewil, Tesla and Club Transmediale (Berlin), The Kunsthalle Basel, The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago); in Cologne, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Stockholm, Oslo, Paris, Bologna, Vienna and elsewhere.
> Thomas Ankersmit on paristransatlantic
> Thomas Ankersmit on Wikipedia
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