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Artist Portrait

Ralf Wehowsky

g, org, syn, *1959 DE, Mainz
Electronic
A.k.a. Charles Rogalli RLW

Ralf Wehowsky is one in a growing group of non-academic sound artists whose work is abstract, but very focused on the possibilities of sound and very rewarding over repeated listenings and different works. Although he started his musical career in the post-industrial scene, his musical output in the '90s resists categorization as well as casual listening. His sonic interests are wide, but it is perhaps his pursuit of the transformation of simple materials that distinguishes him from his colleagues. On one of his albums, When Freezing Air Stings Like Ice, a common set of parameters is the foundation for all seven pieces, but the parameters that create the pitch curve for one track create the volume curve for another, and so forth. Thus, a common foundation becomes the generative force for a vastly different collection of pieces. His album Tulpas took the concept of transformation even further by inviting several other sound artists to participate in the process, creating a reflection and commentary on his own work unparalleled in contemporary music. Wehowsky was born in 1959 in Mainz, Germany. In the '70s, his musical interests ranged from hard rock (the Stooges, Black Sabbath) to prog rock (Henry Cow, Faust), and free jazz (Ornette Coleman, Peter Brötzmann) to new music (Stockhausen, Pierre Henry). He became disillusioned with rock because it stopped being challenging and was too much entertainment, but shared a brief interest with punk because of its revolt against mainstream art. His earliest recorded work was with the post-industrial group Permutative Distortion (later called P.D. and finally recording as P16.D4), and in 1981, Wehowsky and his colleagues formed the collective Selektion, whose members worked in both acoustic and optical arenas. The culmination of P16.D4's recording career was a double LP, entitled Nichts Niemand Nirgends Nie!, released in 1986. This album already shows Wehowsky's interest in repeated transformations of a given set of material. It included two studio sides (one by P16.D4 and the other by many of the same musicians in a different project, S.B.O.T.H.I.), a side of live presentation of the same material, and a final side of specific transformations of the previous three sides. Although this album has not been specifically reissued, it has been used as source material for two CDs in the '90s, and has even been used on a collaborative CD released in 1999. In 1992, Wehowsky released his first solo album under the name RLW. Most of his output in the '90s was collaborative, but he did release four additional solos (see discography below). His work in the '90s culminated in a five-CD set, Tulpas, where he invited several leading sound artists from all over the world to participate in a transformative process that took two years to complete. The participants themselves chose how to proceed, whether to use a structural approach or an emotive affect, or simply to do a remix. He sometimes transformed the pieces even after delivery in order to create a more perfect whole. Far more than a simple remix project, Tulpas is a model of collaborative transformation as well as a complex overarching vision. Short discographic essay Ralf Wehowsky has released the solo works Acht (1992), the manifesto of his electronic and computer music, 14 (1992), that collects unreleased material of the last decade, Revu et Corrige` (Trente Oiseaux, 1995), When Freezing Air Stings Like Ice I Shall Breathe Again (Streamline, 1995), and the mini-album Nameless Victims (Metamkine, 1996). They explore the technique of having musicians exchange sound material and re-composing it. By pushing the concept to the extreme, the monumental Tulpas (Selektion, 1997) is virtually an essay on his work compiled by other musicians. Pullover (Table of the Elements, 1998), which uses voice as its source material, L'Oeil Retourne/Vier Vorspiele (Selektion, 1998), with Walter Marchetti, Yang-Tul (Anomalous, 1999), with Andrew Chalk, Cases (Selektion, 2001), with Kevin Drumm, simply refined the technique taking advantage of computers.

     
Instruments
  • Guitar
  • Organ
  • Synthesizer
  • Percussion
Genres
  • Electronic
  • Rock
  • Spoken Word
Popular Tracks   
Jungfer Im Grunen on Tränende Würger by Johannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky
Piece 3 on R by Ralf Wehowsky & Richard Francis
Piece 1 on R by Ralf Wehowsky & Richard Francis
Tranende Herzen on Tränende Würger by Johannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky
Untitled 1 on R by Ralf Wehowsky & Richard Francis
Kantakari on Tränende Würger by Johannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky
Hundswurger on Tränende Würger by Johannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky

Track list and 30sec audio provided by


Band Members
Discography


Title Artist Year Type
Which Head You're Dancing In?Johannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky2014Album
Aseleuch TendrraderoRalf Wehowsky & Anla Courtis2013Album
Walküren Am DornenbaumTomas Korber / Ralf Wehowsky2010Album
UnwahrscheinlichkeitenJohannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky2010Album
EinschlagskraterNorbert Möslang, Ralf Wehowsky2008Single
Return Of The Stone SpiritsAnla Courtis / Ralf Wehowsky2007Album
I Don't Think I Can See You Tonight.Bhob Rainey, Ralf Wehowsky2007Album
Midnight Crossroads Tape Recorder BluesBruce Russell & Ralf Wehowsky2005Album
Gelbe TupfenDomenico Sciajno & Ralf Wehowsky2005Album
Tränende WürgerJohannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky2005Album
SightsRalf Wehowsky & Bruce Russell2004Album
CasesRalf Wehowsky / Kevin Drumm2001Album
Verklärte TagePeter Duimelinks / Roel Meelkop / Ralf Wehowsky1999Album
Vier Vorspiele / L'Oeil RetournéRalf Wehowsky / Lionel Marchetti1998Album
Yang-TulAndrew Chalk / Ralf Wehowsky / Eric Lanzillotta1998Album
Nameless VictimsRalf Wehowsky1996Album
Un Ocean De CertitudeBernhard Günter / Ralf Wehowsky1996Album
External Links
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Acknowledgements
To all the music fans that are contributing on Discogs, MusicBrainz and Wikipedia. Thanks to Franz Flückiger for providing Storygram used to visualize band membership.
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