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 produces 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 – through means of his “Endangered Guitar” and interactive software programming, by working with the room itself, and, as a critic observed, with his “…fingers stuck in a high voltage outlet”. 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 numerous projects include site-specific performances and collaborative efforts with dance, light, video, and theatre, utilizing technology from planetarium projectors to guitar robots and disklavier pianos. He received a Fellowship from the New York Foundation of the Arts (NYFA) in the category Digital/Electronic Arts in 2009 for the “Endangered Guitar” – a hybrid guitar/software instrument used to control interactive live sound processing.
His open form compositions for large ensembles, which he is working with for over a decade now, are inspired by Earle Brown’s Available Forms, and based on numerous scored “building blocks” that are constantly rearranged when performed. Third Eye Orchestra, a chamber ensemble plus live sound processing has been called “nothing short of breathtaking”. Dark Circuits Orchestra, a large ensemble devoted to contemporary electronic instrument practices such as circuit bending, no-input mixers, laptops, turntablism, analogue circuitry, network sniffers, live coding and soldering, has received generous grants from MapFund and NYSCA.
His works have been presented on festivals in the US, Canada, Mexico, Russia, India, South Africa and all over Europe. He recorded on labels such as Innova, ESP-DISK, Nur/Nicht/Nur, Creative Sources, Leo Records, Potlatch, Cadence, Clang and Hybrid.
Hans Tammen received grants and composer commissions from MAPFund, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, American Music Center, Chamber Music America, 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 Sarah Lawrence College. 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.