Viola Kramer explores new performing techniques and new musical sonorities by means of experimentation utilizing all the advantages that modern technology makes available to human creativity in the musical arena.


Viola Kramer completes her musical studies at the Higher School Of Music in Rheinland, together with professors Shivanat Mishra and Pandit Prakash Maharaj. In 1984 she joins the Bass E Tronic Band, and this same year she founds the band Double X Project with Peter Sonntag. Likewise, the band goes on a tour with the Music Ensemble from Benares. In 1985 she engages on a new tour with her band Double X Project and releases a solo album. In 1986 she makes the soundtrack for the video "Ada Grafin Lovelance" and participates in a radio program. The following year she is awarded the "Golden Camera Award" from Chicago for her video "Ada Grafin Lovelance", and she releases another two albums with the band Double X Project. Likewise, she collaborates with several musical workshops. Also in this year the artist participates in Ars Electronica with her works "Chain Reaction", which lasts approximately seven minutes and nineteen seconds, and "If Misfits Wear It", a piece with a total running time of ten minutes thirty seconds. In 1988 she develops new projects, among them one for television, and organizes a new tour, this time to Canada, with Double X Project. Also, she creates new movie soundtracks, and continues with her studio work, while at the same time she collaborates in an album with the band "People in Sorrow". Viola also composes the soundtrack for the musical documentary "Alemania-Bolivia". Her activity extends to the performance of live concerts with other bands. In 1989 she gives a solo performance and engages a new tour with Double X Project and with SSP. This same year she is awarded a prize for her composition "Raindogs Awaikin'", a piece with which she contacts once again the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz. The artist engages a new tour with "Appel a Tous" in France, and participates at the St. Remy Festival with Ami Denio and Katie O'Looney (New York).


Viola shows a deep interest in the combination of acoustic instruments with the electronic medium, looking for new sonorities that sometimes mean for the listener to learn to listen from scratch so as to be able to understand her complex musical and sonic creations.

As she herself explains, her music has the qualities typical of chamber music, in a fusion that integrates the electronic technology with the traditional concept of chamber music.

In her musical research, the artist compares the kind of sonic modulations of the acoustic instruments with the electronic ones, finding that acoustics influences the sound in a spontaneous manner according to the kind of room where this sound has its ressonance, at the same time depending on the tempo and the sonic production of the ensemble. This fact implies for her to instinctively carry out the necessary "corrections" of the sound, based on experience.

As the artist claims, it is not enough to play the adequate note in the precise moment, but rather the musician must be able to control her instrument tending to virtuosity of performance whenever it is feasible. To her, nowadays there are too many fanaticists of technology who neglect this aspect, above all among the musicians specializing on keyboards. The artist claims that to be a virtuoso one must learn how to play a pre-programmed sound as fast as possible without losing control of the modulation of this sound

Viola considers that electronic sounds do not have the same "body" that is for instance produced with a bass or with a violin or a saxo, which does not permit it to expand and fill the room in the same way as the sound produced by acoustic instruments, such as could be done with a Stradivarius. Kramer prefers to work starting from a conceptiom of the room where she creates her music as if it were a ressonance box where, with the help of 24 computer controlled hi-fi equipments, she can manipulate the sounds in the most adequate manner in each case.

Her musical experiments include what she calls "Zeiträume", techniques defined as"irritations to the listener and irrational effects", among which most remarkable is the one that tricks the audience by making them believe, for instance, that they hear the time beaten according to the parameters that are normal for them at a human level, when in actual fact what they hear is the time beaten by a computer at a higher volume than that of a conventional acoustic instrument such as the piano, thus proving the fact that the human hearing tends to filter the sound produced by machines and reduce it to parameters that the human mind can cope with. In this way, the artist creates electronic poliphony in real time, where the contrast between subjective time clashes with the objective time of the machine by tricking the senses. To her, auditive psychology is an interesting field to explore.

(By Montse Andreu)


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