The Body, The Circuit, The Computer and The Voice: robot cowboy from STEIM Amsterdam on Vimeo.

If you want to look for some of the roots of live electronic musical performance, STEIM is one place to start. Founded in 1969 by a group of Dutch composers (Misha Mengelberg, Louis Andriessen, Peter Schat, Dick Raaymakers, Jan van Vlijmen, Reinbert de Leeuw, and Konrad Boehmer), and led by the late “founding father” Michel Waisvisz, it has remained an important hub for inventing music technologies. It was one of the first places that gave an indication that these kind of experiments could extend beyond academic labs into grassroots DIY movements and DJ/VJ club culture alike.

Amsterdam has been looking to do a Handmade Music series for a while, and this Wednesday we kick it off. There’s a huge lineup, so I’m packing two video cameras and one audio recorder into my luggage today before flying out.

You can check out the whole lineup on the STEIM blog, for a sense of what the Dutch DIY community is up to:
Feb 17 2010: Hotpot Lab #2 – Handmade Music Amsterdam

The event is Wednesday night; doors open at 20:00 and it’s free. See the STEIM concerts page.

I’ll also be doing an informal “State of the Union” address on the state of DIY tech, where things might go, and where people may get involved – and most importantly, what we can do to make these developments musically productive. One of the things that came out of comments last week is that we need better documentation. If people want to get involved in a broader community, outside even our traditional music community, DIY platforms for software and hardware must first be better documented, more usable, and more accessible.

Anyway, I’m thrilled to have a chance to bridge New Amsterdam (NYC) with Old Amsterdam, and start that conversation by listening and learning from a great group of people. Stay tuned.

We’ll have some guest posts through the week while I’m traveling, as well, and I’ll be back on home soil next week.

  • Stan9FOS

    That was lovely. Reminded me a bit of Man Or AstroMan?'s flaming television head.

  • This is a similar, South American version. Pretty hard to mix with that on your head…

  • Hey Peter, Handmade Music in Amsterdam! I'll be there! If you're still in Amsterdam thursday night and want to check out my Korg DS-10 project I'll be performing here… as DS-10 Dominator.

  • dtr

    I'm totally there!

  • yea! robot head man almost played in/out last year! next time. good luck, dear ambassador!

  • Dub

    I want to see a duet with The Sonic Manipulator!

  • Peter: be sure to buy yourself a cracklebox while you're there…

  • Damon

    Now there is a tech support question I would not want to have to answer. "Um, yes, I am afraid you have voided the warranty."

  • Aug

    the brasil beatronik dudes cathode ray head was much cooler, i thought. with the eye.

    this guy just has a bunch of random pixels. no big pixel face that talks or anything. could have been so much cooler…

  • I've found that the biggest issue with DIY documentation is that the people who are into this stuff are bad at writing documentation, and people who are good at writing documentation can't understand this stuff because their isn't any good documentation.

  • I enjoyed the evening!

  • @Aug I thought it would be more interesting to avoid the obvious and *not* make a face …

  • Painteractive by Visualpaco was also very amazing!

  • Aug


    true. it's obvious. maybe even pedestrian to have a face.

    but then again, you see so little of crazy stuff like this that … it would be totally awesome.

  • Crikey, it's ROBOT COWBOY!

    Performed with him last year in Eindhoven… I believe he said that he used to work for Steim, and now is in Linz, Austria working with Ars Electronica.