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Thomas Ankersmit – Perceptual Geography

Pure Serge Modular magick from Thomas Ankersmit, emulating the peerless sonic phenomenology of Maryanne Amacher recordings on a remarkable release with Bartolomé Sanson and Félicia Atkinson’s Shelter Press.

Maryanne Amacher (1938-2009) is an icon of 20th century experimental music who studied with Stockhausen and collaborated with Cage, and is regarded among electronic music’s most distinguished pioneers. ‘Perceptual Geography’ is a concept developed by Maryanne and here articulated by Thomas Ankersmit on the Serge Modular synth system that she introduced to him around 2003, when the nascent artist was getting to grips with an EMS Synthi. 

The Serge Modular system, invented by Serge Tcherepnin - a close friend of Maryanne’s - has since become Ankersmit’s machine of choice, with his take on ‘Perceptual Geography’ - referring to a 3D diffusion of otoacoustic (sounds that appear to emanate from inside the ear) and other sonic phenomena - manifest as a compelling tribute to Maryanne’s research into non-musical, psychoacoustic phenomena and proprioception - which is also known as the way human gauge and engage sound within space.

Like Maryanne’s peer, Eliane Radigue, her work was known to a rarified few during the 20th century, but Ankersmit’s interest in her work is indicative of a new generation who have encountered and become enthralled by Maryanne’s probing studies and practice since the early ‘00s, often via presentations of her work in Berlin during that period that lead to Ars Electronica awarding her their highest honour, the Golden Nica, in 2005.

On ‘Perceptual Geography’ Ankersmit emulates Amacher’s combination of scientific rigour and avant pursuit with 40 minutes of physically powerful subbass textures and pealing sirens-in-your-head, connoting a sense of the unknown and the unknowable that’s surely life-affirming to listeners of that certain, foerever-searching disposition

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Shelter Press, 2021

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