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Bio | Rutger Muller

My electro-acoustic music represents my search for new cross-cultural identity and spirituality in a time of globalised digital communication. I take influences from (western and non-western) classical and early music, fused with elements of ambient-techno.

Like the spectral composers of the 20th century, I am greatly fascinated by the intricacy of acoustic instrument textures, and about finding new ways of bringing them to the foreground through technological transformations and avant-garde instrumental techniques. Combined with my love for rhythm, this lead me to develop a personal aesthetic, in which textures are amplified and carried by slowly evolving patterns, drifting drones, grotesque acoustics, experimental grooves and silences.

CREDITS

Photocollage at the top is based on photos by Michiel Gardner. Next photo by Pieter Kers, all others by Anastasija Pirozenko. Design and videos by Rutger Muller. LED panels on live photos by Naivi.

Contemporary Ancient

My focus on instrumental timbre deepened my awareness of historical instrument innovations. The textures of western classical instruments became increasingly stable (harmonic), while eastern instruments continued to seek out variations in the fricative (inharmonic) spectrum. Technological advances are bringing these worlds closer together. Music's history can be explored via popular streaming catalogues, and software can be used to identify and categorize audio (A.I.), share it (Creative Commons), and make it accessible to programmers (API). I find this fascinating. Contemporary music enables us to reflect on the history and the future of cultural and scientific developments. I aim to harness that power; in some cases by employing technology, in other cases by avoiding it. And in all cases to express an idiosyncratic, personal, vision.

Parallels with the ancient world can also be found in club culture, which has always inspired me. The entrancing minimalism of techno exists by the grace of free spaces, essential social platforms for contemporary ritualism. All together, my music offers a mirror into the spiritual roots of both the concert hall and the club.

Spirituality and Deep Listening

Music has the ability to transcend the drama of emotional affect, to reach beyond it, towards the pattern-based origins of consciousness (the micro cosmos), nature, and outer space (the macro cosmos). A mystic sense of disconnect with the physical world can be felt when sound transforms our sense of time and space. The majestic echos of religious chants, the graceful movements of Japanese Noh theatre, the organic depth of the Australian digeridoo, the irrational flow of African rhythms, the psychedelic resonance of the Indian sitar...

Our receptiveness for musical spirituality lies deeply engrained in our psyche, but can only be experienced through focus and concentration. To help our minds achieve that state of flow, we culturally define a listening space constrained by physical and/or ritualistic factors, in which we adhere to protokols for attentive stillness (in for example temples or churches) or – seemingly opposite – dance (in for example tribalistic rituals or today's club culture).

Many 20th century composers recognised the potentials of reflecting ancient influences in their own practices, think of Giacinto Scelsi's drones, Steve Reich's polyrhythms, Harry Partch's tunings and Steve Roach's tribal-ambient. I aim to learn from these artists and their cross-cultural attitude. This implicitly raises the question whether an electronic music club has enough potential, in terms of acoustics and listener concentration, to express the powers of classical and ancient dynamics. I strife to open up these possibilities, to be part of a movement that has already been started by deep listening festivals and institutions.
"Miles away from even a lot of the post-classical music you hear these days, this is driving, jazz-inflected experimental electronic music deeply rooted in classical instrumentation and form."
– CDM.com about the album demo (2015)
"We were blown away by this ensemble."
– Rewire Festival organisation (2014)
"Beautiful, elegant and mysterious."
– Murcof about the album demo (2015)
"Fascinating!" - – Hubble Space Telescope (ESA) about the Cynquery video (2015)

PAST SHOWS

10-Mar-2017: Eighteen 29 (Amsterdam, NL)
08-Jan-2017: Van Onderen (Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL)

29-Nov-2015: The Instrument Room (Bookstore Space, Amsterdam, NL)
21-Nov-2015: Le Mini Who (Koffie Leute, Utrecht, NL)
07-Nov-2015: Rewire Festival (Prins 29, Den Haag, NL)
28-Sep-2015: Splendor (Amsterdam, NL)
03-Apr-2015: Obscure Times (Vondelbunker, Amsterdam, NL)
07-Feb-2015: Hausse III (Brebl, Nijmegen, NL)

19-Dec-2014: The Rest is Noise (Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam, NL)
16-Nov-2014: 4DSOUND Hacklab at ADE (Coded Matters, Compagnietheater, Amsterdam, NL)
05-Jun-2014: White Label Coffee (Amsterdam, NL)
19-Apr-2014: SOTU Festival (OT301, Amsterdam, NL)
20-Mar-2014: Red Light Radio (Amsterdam, NL)

21-Jan-2013: Antartica Squat (Amsterdam, NL)

02-Sep-2012: Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Muziekhuis, Utrecht, NL)