Hans Tammen creates sounds that have been described as an alien world of bizarre textures and a journey through the land of unending sonic operations. He creates rapid-fire juxtapositions of radically contrastive and fascinating noises, with micropolyphonic timbres and textures, aggressive sonic eruptions, but also quiet pulses and barely audible sounds.
He calls his style of performance Endangered Guitar because of the extreme alterations he enacts upon his instrument’s sound and construction, resulting in a hybrid guitar/software instrument made to interactively control live sound processing. For this instrument he received a Fellowship from the New York Foundation of the Arts (NYFA) in the category Digital/Electronic Arts in 2009. Signal To Noise called his works “…a killer tour de force of post-everything guitar damage”, All Music Guide recommended him: “…clearly one of the best experimental guitarists to come forward during the 1990s.”
His Third Eye Orchestra compositions for large ensembles and live sound processing are inspired by Charles Ives’ polytonality, Steve Coleman’s rhythmic complexity, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s organization of sounds and Earle Brown’s approach to form. All About Jazz called the music “nothing short of breathtaking”, and “a masterpiece of musical evocation”, AvantMusicNews the orchestra’s performance at the 2015 Victoriaville Festival “a thrilling 75-minute display that combined individual virtuosity in a cohesive and fun-filled framework.”
The Dark Circuits Orchestra is a large ensemble devoted to contemporary electronic instrument practices such as circuit bending, no-input mixers, laptops, turntablism, analogue circuitry, controllerism and network sniffers, and has received generous grants from MapFund and NYSCA.
Numerous projects include site-specific performances and collaborative efforts with dance, light, video, and theater, having used technology from planetarium projectors and guitar robots to disklavier pianos and chaos-synths.
His works have been presented on festivals in the US, Canada, Mexico, Russia, India, Israel, South Africa and all over Europe. He recorded on labels such as Clang, Innova, ESP-DISK, Nur/Nicht/Nur, Creative Sources, Leo Records, Potlatch, Cadence, and Hybrid.
Hans Tammen received grants and composer commissions from NewMusicUSA, MAPFund, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, American Music Center, Lucas Artists Residencies Montalvo, New York State Council On The Arts (NYSCA), New York Foundation For The Arts (NYFA), American Composers Forum w/ Jerome Foundation, New York State Music Fund, Goethe Institute w/ Foreign Affairs Office, among others.
Hans Tammen is currently teaching at School of Visual Arts, and has been a Visiting Artist at Sarah Lawrence College in 2015. From 2001 to 2014 he has worked at Harvestworks Digital Media Art Center in NYC, where he was responsible for the Client Services, Education and Artist In Residence program, helping countless digital media artists through completion of their works. As an arbitrator at BTQ in the 1990s, he has has spent a decade advising unions about electronic monitoring and surveillance at the workplace, and negotiating contracts and agreements to minimize surveillance aspects. He studied at University of Kassel on a stipend from Friedrich Ebert Foundation.