The Electroacoustic Music Store

Artists Stephan Dunkelman

His acousmatic compositions are intended not only for concerts but also for exhibitions (Charlotte Marchal, sculptor; Axel Miret, painter), choreogrpahies (Michèle Noiret), fashion design (Azniv Afsar), short films (Jérôme Thomas), and documentary films (André Dartevelle). Collaboration with artists working in other fields, especially in the visual arts, has led Stephan Dunkelman to experimentation that has enriched and brought into focus the ‘space’ that music must englobe. It has also allowed him to develop the imaginal qualities of the sonic material he uses in his concert music.

Stephan Dunkelman obtained a graduate degree in acousmatic composition (1999) as a student of Annette Vande Gorne at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Mons (Belgium).

His music has won prizes and honours at several international competitions: Music for Multimedia at Bourges (2004); ex æquo Public’s Prize at Métamorphoses 2000; award (1998) and special mention (1993) at the Stockholm Electronic Arts Award; honourable mention at Prix Ars Electronica (1995); and finalist in the Luigi Russolo Competition (1991).

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Stephan Dunkelman

Brussels (Belgium), 1956

Residence: Brussels (Belgium)

  • Composer
  • Journalist

On the Web

Stephan Dunkelman, photo: Eddy Pennewaert

Selected Works

Main Releases

empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 0263 / 2002

Appearances

Various artists
Musiques & Recherches / MR 2000 / 2000
Various artists
empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 9837 / 1998

Complements

Various artists
Wallonie-Bruxelles Musiques / WBM 168 / 2010
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Caprice Records / CAP 22057 / 2005
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Court-circuit / COURT 2004 / 2005
  • Not in catalogue
Tzadik / TZ 7198 / 2005
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Effects Input / EI 10 / 1998
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Acousmatica / CD 1296 / 1996
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Mnémosyne musique média / LDC 278079-1 /
  • Not in catalogue

In the Press

Review

Jenn Sikes, Splendid E-Zine, Tuesday, December 17, 2002

If you’re looking for music for your next salon gathering of MENSA members, you’ve found it in Rhizomes — music so highbrow that it’ll melt into your hairline. Despite its required accompaniment of burbles, bleeps, whistles and whines, it’s much more melodic than you might expect — as acousmatic music goes, anyway. Don’t be too surprised if the album and its creator end up becoming the focus of your conversation, rather than the background music for it.

If a George Lucas movie married a Claire Denis movie, this soundtrack would be the music for their Hitchcockish children. Metharcana sounds like its name, a children’s arcade experienced on meth, with a bunch of obscure references floating past your eyes. Sound bites of a woman whispering in French, fingers thrummed rapidly on a tight skin drum, coffee cups clanking against each other, video game noises… they’re all used to create an atmosphere of weird musical emptiness. The video game noises remind me of DJ Spooky tracks, but mostly this is the electronic type of experimentation you’d expect to find on a Schematic Records release. Rituellipses sounds like performance art — the kind of thing you’d hear while watching the Blue Man group do its thing. In fact, Dunkelman has composed for art exhibitions (Charlotte Marchal, sculptor; Axel Miret, painter), for art dance choreography (Michèle Noiret) and for fashion design (Azniv Afsar) — all of these artists, of course, members of the avant garde.

The sounds in Rituellipses could be billiard balls knocking against one another on a hard surface. You’ll wonder what the ritual is, and if the ellipse is part of the ritual or if it is the ritual, and then — if you’re like me — you’ll get a headache and sit down fast in case you get dizzy. While certain loops in this piece seem to have been repeated from an earlier movement, all of the musical ideas are pushing forward in a linear fashion; older themes are abandoned, newer ones taken up and pushed to their conclusion. As many electronic compositions of this variety focus on the idea of layering, this is a really interesting change of the format on Dunkelman’s part. And he always lives up to his name; these compositions are really dark, even when he’s experimenting with brighter tones, like a bouncing basketball and athletic shoes scraping on a gymnasium floor.

Whenever you listen to Dunkelman, you’re going to have to think hard — he’s a workout for the mind, as strenuous as solid house music is a workout for your hips. Rhizomes is definitely going to plant seeds of thought.

… a really interesting change of the format on Dunkelman’s part.

Portrait: Stephan Dunkelman

François Couture, All-Music Guide, Friday, November 1, 2002

Hailing from Belgium, Stephan Dunkelman is a composer of acousmatic music. Once a student of Annette Vande Gorne, he shows interests in space and time relations within sonic movement — common to many such composers working from inside academic institutions. His music shares similarities with the works of Francis Dhomont, Gilles Gobeil and Vande Gorne. His first solo album, Rhizomes, came out in 2002.

Born in Brussels in 1956, Dunkelman first studied at his hometown Conservatoire Royal de Musique. He completed degrees in Electroacoustic Composition and Music History in 1989 and 1990, moment at which he completed his first important works. Signallures, finalist at the Concours Luigi Russolo in 1991, brought him his first laurels and also became one of his first pieces made available (on the 1996 CD Acousmatica). Rituellipses, Metharcana and Dreamlike Shudder in an Airstream Part 1: for a crumpled woman also won international distinctions and were released on compilation CDs. While working on his graduate degree in acousmatic composition with Vande Gorne, Dunkelman multiplied collaborations with visual artists and choreographers, thus further exploring the spatiality of sound. He has worked with sculptor Charlotte Marchal, painter Axel Miret, choreographer Michèle Noiret and fashion designer Azniv Afsar. The prestigious Quebecer electroacoustic label empreintes DIGITALes had included his short piece Aquaéra 1 on the compilation CD Miniatures concrètes in 1998 and four years later released his first solo album, Rhizomes, which includes the aforementioned pieces plus a few more. The album launch was accompanied by feature concerts in Montréal (as part of the 11th Rien à voir festival) and Brussels.