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Ansgar Wilken

Ansgar Wilken | Timelessness Fakes
- cello (unknown constructor),boss loop station RC-20XL, VHT Pittbull Fifty/Twelve -

"These Recordings are about the impossibility to create timeless music.
These Recordings are about the impossibility to move.
These Recordings are made in a hurry due to the upcoming time."

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Ansgar Wilken:


As the son of a pastor's family, I was lucky to already be surrounded by instruments when I was a kid. In my childhood instruments were just lying around. Left by teenager who came to the "youth room" of the YMCA to be convinced of the personal believe in Jesus Christ by my father. Actually, until today this is one of the useful aspects of the Christian education: instruments. The text "Sing unto the Lord a New Song" by J.S. Bach based on a psalm, played an important part in the evangelic communities and was put into practice 1:1. The left behind stubborn western guitar from the "youth room" became the practical learning equipment for later excursions into maths-rock in the 90ies.

Once a year the organ tuner Mr. Loback came from Hamburg to our village. He climbed into the organ from the back and needed someone to hold one key for about ten minutes and pull the register from time to time. That was me, I was 12. The pay was one Mark per hour. My first contact with minimal music. That was exactly the time when I started with music.

I got piano lessons, but with 15 refused to continue any further explorations of classical sheet music and changed to guitar. Different indie/post rock bands followed. The band ILSE LAU which existed until five years ago, has possibly received most attention and released on FIDEL BASTRO and KLANGBAD.
Until today, the guitar still is my main instrument, even though the instrument is hardly ever seen together with me any more.


When did you decide to use loops as an extension of your instrument?

When BOSS released Loop-Station and I bought a used cello for 400 Euro of a friend. At the beginning the cello programme had the theoretical frame of Pier Paolo Pasolini's THEOREME. In this film a young man appears in a bored but rich family of an industrialist. He enchants and gets them all - the housekeeper, the mother, the father, the son and the daughter. Suddenly, the young man disappears and in the second third of the film Pasolini describes the moment when the family members are beginning to realise the loss. They get into a standstill for a long time, turn into rage, are losing control and evoke a personal catharsis. This treading water, going in circles I wanted to realise musically. With loops. Loops which don't continuously grow more beautiful and bombastic but rather become more intense, to the point, consequent and that way suggesting this feeling of treading water.

The programme you are listening to today has developed from this. Now without the obvious frame of Pasolini, but it is still there.


About this release:

It really is like that, that before the recordings for Audition Records I played a concert which from my point of view went completely wrong. A friend whose opinion is really important to me said, that it was all "a bit much". He was right. It was very difficult NOT to do too much. Because actually the idea is not to put melody on top of melody and almost become a band. On the contrary: I am interested in thwarting this obvious concept, by first recording the same loops on top of each other and that way making them audible. The loop station deals with the recorded information in a very simple way: it compresses. And compresses and compresses and so on.

The effect: due to constant repetition, the acoustically recorded information technically starts its own life. The real cello, played in real time is the counterpart: the familiar, the sound we know. At best the outcome is: a struggle. Human/ machine - the old story. The loop station also kindly records the inevitable feedbacks and turns them into drones - to remain in control is the instrumental challenge.

"What counts at the end is the what comes out." (Asmus Tietchens)


With my cello work, I am searching for the in-between. The in-between that follows the sound, the rhythm that I haven't recorded but which is at its best suddenly there. Because it is perceived and recorded like this. After concerts, I am often asked about my backing tapes. I don't use any. But I am always happy when audience claims after concerts that they have for example heard the agonised voice of a woman. I am also looking for the loss control.


Since I started working with the cello, a library of small ideas has developed in my mind. Pickings, possible tone and sound sequences and interesting ways of rhythmical shifts. With the time is has also become clear what doesn't work technically or aesthetically. From this arsenal of musically useful fragments the pieces are being put together. And often also taken apart again, dismissed or varied. Some pieces are "finished" at some point and then only get reproduced. Maybe this is what could be called composition then. But many tracks are based on composed components and are continued during live concerts and improvisations. The borders are blurred.


What impact does music have on your life?

For a few years now, I have been listening to less music than before - more selectively and somehow more restricted. That is the price I have to pay for years of excessively listening to experimental music of all genres. Not because there is just nothing new, but because today music has become more demanding for me. As described before, holding one tone which kept slightly varying during the organ tuner's adjustments, has been my strongest influence. I am constantly searching for timeless music. I am not quite sure about the parameter for this but I am interested in this idea.


What are you thinking about when you perform solo?

I am thinking about how this piece could become most consistent at this very moment. I am often thinking about what is too much just then. This also has pure technical aspects, as obviously every room sounds differently.


Independent curatorial spaces;

The disadvantage of independent spaces is of course the lack of money, the problem should be generally known and has existed as long as I can think back. I think many contemporary organisers within the subculture have the strong desire to be liked by as many people as possible and are subject to their fear of being "too special" or "too independent". They adapt to and curry favour with the mainstream too quickly, which immediately eats up everything that is popular anyway. Not least due to facebook, the "mainstream" registers everything popular without delay. But just as GEMA will never give independent artists money, the whole utilising machinery won't do so either.

It might sound old fashioned but the organisers of subcultural musical performances should think thoroughly about what outline they want and how much distance is necessary for this. Not exclusion but distance - from a musical point of view. I also am the opinion that there is too much multimedia. Why is every third musical event supported visually? Who doesn't trust the musical material or ignores the fact that a live concert already offers enough visual input? It's not like the boring guy behind his laptop is going to be the only visual highlight, most of the time there are still other people around. So people should for once just listen and leave their smartphones in their pockets. Sorry guys.


Future challenges and interests in sound:

I would like to make a record free from any musical influences. But I guess, it is already too late for that. I would like to know much more about psychoacoustics. Maybe it is not too late for that.


Some names and links dropping to check it out:


I would like to narrow it down to Bremen in the North of Germany my NATIVE CITY and name some projects that succeeded and currently act within the circles of the organiser's collective KNIESCHUSSCLUB which I co-founded: TWISTED KNISTER (label and organiser) // ZAKK (self-governed small club) // SISSI & DIE CHINESISCHE WÄSCHEREI (organiser)

The ETHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM BERLIN published early recordings of ethno music from many parts of the world until the early 90ies. The records can be found on Berlin flee markets. Still. Buy them! Thank you.



Ansgar Wilken, 17th June 2012 Berlin