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Photography by Astrid Susanna Schulz

Thorsten Soltau
* 22nd May 1987
in Sande, Lower Saxony

Self-taught artist since 2006. Working under his given name as well as Femurl [ˈfiːmjuːl].
Strong interest in sonic disintegration, conceptualism and dualism (philosophy / gender).
Editor of the online music review source ›aemag‹ from 2009 til 2010 [pdf (german only), 851 kB].

Thorsten Soltau is a citizen of KonungaRikena Elgaland-Vargaland.
He resides in Friesland, Lower Saxony.

A reflection.  

I call myself a listening person – I am constantly listening to and into environments. This has lead to a refined sense able to picking up things that may slip the attention of others. My ears are trained to scan the places I visit – crowded metropoles, remote spots in nature or even familiar surroundings of office or home. My way of listening can be divided in two modes: the perception of sound on an unconscious level or the deliberate focus on sonics.

Becoming a sort of scanning antenna had a profound effect how I compose. The experience of my listening is reflected in my sound works. As an example several compositions feature barely noticeable overdubs. They can only be heard with specific settings of loudness and spatial room (and are therefore easy to recognize with headphones) or equalizer settings. Another example is the creation of dense clusters of sound resembling information streams or (over-)crowded places.

My goal is the creation of rich sounds with layers only reachable by multiple listening. Each work exposes itself over time with each consciously made playback / perception:
Repetition becomes a reward for the listener.

On sounds.

My compositions are either electronic or electroacoustic. A commonly used sound is the human voice or excerpts of complex synthesis. As a composer I choose my source material wisely. The starting elements have to inhabit the desired mood and intensity later formulated into full compositions. Nevertheless I am open for developments by surprise or error during sound design.

One important factor is randomness. Sounds or sound manipulating factors are mapped to random forces which allows for unexpected results. Some of my composing techniques are deliberately executed against their primary intention as well. This allows for an ever-morphing character of my works until the final touch is added.

On sonic morphosis. 

My compositional ethic has strong ties to morphosis. To reflect different degrees of sonic shifting / transformation / transitions I apply several techniques and methods. As explained above the use of complex treatments and randomness allows for a sound that constantly shapes into an liquid and organic sculpture. The sonics I create are further exposed to imperfections and errors – like body and mind aging or perishing over time. 

Errors are integral and welcome. Most of them occur as a glitch in the analogue or digital domain during sessions or setup changes. They give a further layer to the music resembling small failures made by the composer – adding a human touch despite their virtual origin.

On concepts.

My solo work has always been underlined by concepts. My canon includes albums with apparent or less apparent concepts. Often works can be seen as cornerstones of things I research at that time of their genesis. Several compositions reflect situations from personal life. Thus all works can be seen as intimate and highly personal sonic artifacts. Conception can be seen as the base of each work without outweighing the listeners experience. Each of my pieces can be explicitly heard as a sole composition as well.