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Thorsten Soltau, 2020 | Photo by Hana Sanders-Høstløvet
Marina Stewart live, 2017 | Photo by Jann Wilken
Thorsten Soltau live, 2016 | Photo by Karsten Fähnrich

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

Short bio:

Self-taught artist since 2006. Strong interest in sonic disintegration and conceptualism.
Editor of the online music review source ›aemag‹ from 2009 til 2010.
Thorsten Soltau is a citizen of KonungaRikena Elgaland-Vargaland
and lives currently in Friesland, Lower Saxony.

The purpose.

First steps in 2006 towards the field of composition led to the path of a unique sound language developed til today. Simply said: My aim is to explore sounds in a rather unconventional way. Music I compose is mirroring things I am interesting in – with the strong pretence to avoid clichés.

There is no termination for development. I constantly challenge myself in new setups and compositional situations. This has lead to a wide range of genres included in my canon since 2006.

On sounds.

All of my compositions are either electronic or electroacoustic. As mentioned before I am not interested in clichés or pre-manufactured solutions. Therefore all material is generated by myself involving field recordings, analogue sounds or synthetics. Until 2014 I used mainly pre-recorded sources which I deliberately took from records, dictaphones or films. These plunderphonics were re-contextualised and reworked to form backbones of works

Since the beginning my compositions rely on the factor of randomness. The important advantage of this method is that no musical piece can be reproduced after the recording take. Since randomness is also applied to soundshaping factors each re-access to the musical score leads to forced changes.

Analogue treatments are mixed with digital and highly complex remodelings of sources. Micro-editing and the appliance of granular synthesis are integral forms of my sound language. Sonics and synthetics are also created by the use of techniques who are executed against their primary intention. That allows to develop a broad (and at some point unpredicatable) composer ethic. 

On concepts.

My 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.

Conception can be seen as the base of each work without outweighing the listener experience. Each of my pieces can be explicitly heard as a sole composition. Small hints in artwork, notes or the music itself are further meant to be an impulse for individual research done by the listener.

On sonic morphosis.

My compositional ethic has strong ties to morphosis. To reflect different degrees of sonic shifting / transformation I apply several techniques and methods. As explained above the use of high-complex treatments allows for a sound that constantly shapes to an liquid/organic-like audio sculpture.
The sonics I create are further prone to imperfections and embedded errors – like a body developing and 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. 

A specific role in terms of conceptual morphosis is ascribed to my persona Marina Stewart. Her music explores terms and conceptions from an female viewpoint. Marina Stewart makes extended use of transitioning gender-related factors (like the specific use of the voice or female/male psychology) in her music. While in previous years her and my solo output were explicitly divided lines between both projects have blurred now.

On interpretations. (Radical turns)

A branch of my canon is refering to works done for other artists (i. e. remixes/re-interpretations). I would like to explain the background to these specific interpretations as they are bound to rules submitted to my sole compositions. As a remixer my methods are different from the original understanding of this term. Reworks done for other artists are often heavily denaturalized from the artist’s first version. The original material becomes often increasingly dismantled during the process.

One common start is the use of a very small sample taken from the mixdown files and the layering of further treated sources on top. In some radical cases the rework resembles no longer the structure of the original therefore rendering it into a new composition. When it comes to re-working tracks/songs/compositions of other artists my goal is to provide a version blending our sonic personalities to varying degrees. That allows even for a deliberate misbalance outweighing the original composers ratio.

Despite the use of the term „remix“ on releases I refer to my reworks as re-interpretations.