Thomas Ankersmit is a musician and composer based in Berlin and Amsterdam.
He plays the Serge Modular synthesizer, both live and in the studio, and collaborates with artists like Phill Niblock and Valerio Tricoli.
His music is released on the PAN, Touch, and Shelter Press labels. His latest album ‘Homage to Dick Raaijmakers’ was released in September 2018.
His work has been presented at Hamburger Bahnhof and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Kunsthalle, Basel; Tate Modern, London; Serralves Museum, Porto; MoMA PS1, New York; and at festivals for experimental and contemporary music all over the world. He’s also lectured at universities like Harvard, Stanford, CalArts, and Goldsmiths.
Acoustic phenomena such as infrasound and otoacoustic emissions (sounds emanating from inside the head, generated by the ears themselves) play a central role in his work, as does a deliberate misuse of the equipment.
“Ankersmit constructs a musical world that feels alive and capable of going anywhere, and yet also manages to give the music a strong sense of structured purpose, a degree of compositional control unusual in this area of live performance. It is the fine balance between the sense of chaos that threatens to pull everything apart and the controlled formation of the music into clearly defined sections of differing intensities that raises the work above that of so many of Ankersmit’s contemporaries.”
→ Richard Pinnell, The Wire
“Sound has never felt so granular and tangible and all around you. A hair-raising and overwhelming experience.”
→ Antoine Richard, Tokafi
“Nobody sets standards like Thomas Ankersmit. With his analogue synth he plays the space as well the ears of the people occupying that space. Phantom sounds penetrate the skull in disturbing ways, perform dances once inside, and disappear or transform with a slight movement of the head. Practically everything else that evening paled in comparison to the intensity and focus of his performance.”
→ René van Peer, Gonzo Circus
“Thomas Ankersmit casts inner-ear illusions reminiscent of Maryanne Amacher’s otoacoustic emissions. Densely striated and mercilessly dominating, Ankersmit’s set is one of the weekend’s highlights.”
→ Matt Evans, The Wire
“Razor-sharp and incredibly detailed sounds appear in high-definition … Ankersmit constructs a seductive and highly unpredictable sound-poem in which space, non-space, or the illusion of one or the other, play a key role. Uncompromising and revolutionary, with the equipment on the torturing rack … Outright genius.”
→ Sven Schlijper, KindaMuzik