Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Erkki Kurenniemi - Aanityksia: Recordings 1963-1973 , Love, 2002
Erkki Kurenniemi (born 1941) is one of the most important characters in the history of Finnish electronic music. His mother was Marjatta Kurenniemi, the famous author of children's books. Erkki Kurenniemi founded an electronic music studio for the Department of Musicology at the University of Helsinki in the early 1960s. Alongside working on media art, happenings and short films of his own, Kurenniemi built several electronic instruments for himself and also for other people, such as M.A. Numminen, for whom he created first a "singing machine" with which Numminen participated in a singing contest in 1964, and in the late 1960s Sähkökvartetti ("The Electric Quartet"), which is heard on M.A. Numminen's track 'Kaukana väijyy ystäviä' (1968). An excerpt of Kurenniemi's own composition 'Dance of the Anthropoids' (1968) was heard on Finnish progressive rock band Wigwam's 1970 album Tombstone Valentine.
The most ambitious of Erkki Kurenniemi's projects was the series of digital synthesizers, called DIMI, in the early 1970s. For example, Kurenniemi's video synthesizer DIMI-O (1970-1971) converted any movements recorded by the video camera into real-time sounds and music. DIMI-S (also known as the "Sexophone") was able to generate sound and light by contact with the skin, reacting to the emotional state of the performers. Kurenniemi created the first commercially manufactured and marketed microcomputer already in 1973, which was two years before the American MITS Altair 8800. Nowadays many of the Kurenniemi-created instruments are in the possession of Swedish collector Ralph Lundsten, the owner of Andromeda electronic studio.
Alongside his musical career Erkki Kurenniemi has worked as an automation designer at the service of industry and also as a consult for the Science Centre Heureka in Vantaa, Finland. He has written several articles on such subjects as artificial intelligence and robotics.
In 2002 Finnish film director Mika Taanila made a documentary film on Erkki Kurenniemi, called The Future Is Not What It Used To Be.
One of the undeniable pioneers of Finnish electronic music is Erkki Kurenniemi (b. 1941), who founded The University of Helsinki Electronic Music Studio in the early 1960's. Kurenniemi built his own series of synthesizers, named as DIMI, which are nowadays mostly possessed by Swedish collector and electronic musician Ralph Lundsten, and published some of his experimental compositions like 'Dance of the Antropoids'. Alongside such Finnish pioneers as Eino Ruutsalo (for whose short films Kurenniemi composed music), Kurenniemi also did some early work on the field of Finnish media art and contributed to Finnish video art and happenings. Kurenniemi created the first commercially manufactured and marketed microcomputer already in 1973 -- two years before the American MITS Altair. These days Kurenniemi works as an independent researcher, specialising in such subjects as artificial intelligence.
One of the best and most experimental Finnish artists of the 60's and early 70's; up there with Airaksinen and the Sperm: