Recombinant Festival 2018

Recombinant Festival 2018 returns with a large-scale show by Herman Kolgen, opening night A/V concert from GAS and much more.

Featured Events

GAS Live - Recombinant Festival 2018 Opening Night

Monday, November 26 2018
9:00 PM // All Ages
$22 - $30
Seated performance

Launching the 2018 Recombinant Festival is GAS live, the internationally celebrated project of German electronic musician, Kompakt label head and industry stalwart Wolfgang Voigt. One of the most influential figures in contemporary electronic music, Voigt is known for over 30 aliases and projects - his most admired is arguably GAS. The intention in his own words is to "bring the forest to the disco, or vice-versa”.

Experience a rare multimedia performance from GAS; drawing on romantic landscape and classical music as much as ambient minimalism and techno, Voigt creates an uplifting and enveloping evocation of the wonder of the natural world. Don’t miss this captivating kaleidoscope of swirling sounds and textures.

Herman Kolgen - Recombinant 2018 Artist in Residence

Wednesday, November 28 2018 - Thursday, November 29 2018
7:00 PM + 9:00 PM // All Ages
$25 - $30

Recombinant 2018 spotlights critically acclaimed multidisciplinary artist and audio kinetic sculptor HERMAN KOLGEN, whose cinematically scaled spectacles have enraptured audiences internationally for 3 decades. As Artist in Residence, Kolgen will present a canon of past and contemporary works, catalyzing 7 individual audio-visual performances into a propulsive laboratory of cross sensory experiences. This program is not to be missed: it is both a world premiere for this stylistic approach as well as Kolgen’s first appearance in the Bay Area since his 2006 residency at Recombinant Media Labs.

Aïsha Devi, Drew McDowall, Hiro Kone + more - Recombinant Festival 2018 Friday Night

Friday, November 30 2018
8:00 PM // All Ages
$22 - $30

Recombinant Festival's weekend begins with a journey lead by cultural revolutionaries and spiritual sonic warriors. A evening filled with mysticism and alchemy, your guides Aïsha Devi, Drew McDowall and Hiro Kone will be joined by their Bay Area based contemporaries.

Demdike Stare, Antenes, Rrose + more - Saturday Night Recombinant Festival 2018

Saturday, December 1 2018
8:00 PM // All Ages
$22 - $30

Demdike Stare teams up with visual artist Michael England to offer a high-voltage AV show. Accompanied by highly detailed avant garde techno genius Rrose and the rhythmic explorations of electronics inventor Antenes, the heart of the weekend is a deep dive in the dark depth of underground dance floor experimentations.

Time Machines Live A/V Show - Recombinant Festival Closing Night

Sunday, December 2 2018
7:00 PM // All Ages
$22 - $30

Closing the festival is powerhouse showcase of audio visual performances, including Bay Area stalwarts Infrasound and Michael Gendreau, female:pressure founder Electric Indigo performing 5 1 1 5 9 3, and French duo Chronostatis - capped by the legendary Drew McDowall presenting Coil's Time Machines Live A/V show.


GAS (Wolfgang Voigt)

Wolfgang Voigt, born in 1961 in Cologne, Germany, is an artist, music producer, label owner and one of the co-founders of the Cologne-based electronica and techno label Kompakt.

Grown up and socialized in the pop sub-culture of the 1970s and 1980s, Voigt has developed his own art and sound that cross genres, mixing music styles such as glam rock, pop, jazz, classic, punk, and new wave, and art movements such as pop art and the Neue Wilde (the ‘New Wild Ones’). In the late 1980s, he caught acid house fever, and since then Voigt has committed himself uncompromisingly to the straight (techno music) bass drum.

Inspired by the minimalist structures of this music, Voigt works around the most diverse facets of his own ideas of subversive concept disco music. He understands this kind of contemporary music as a non-verbal, international musical language in which origin, status, or rock-stardom are no longer relevant. Voigt’s contribution to the various global techno ‘dialects’ (Chicago, Detroit, Berlin, Frankfurt…) is Cologne minimal techno, of which he is considered to be the most important pioneer. Working under many different project names and pseudonyms (e.g. Mike Ink, Studio1, M:I:5, GAS, Love Inc., Freiland, Wassermann…), Wolfgang Voigt has continuously varied his own, unmistakable music style from the onset of the 1990s, spanning the spectrum from creating experimental and unusual hybrids by combining elements of techno with German Schlager and folk music, to pioneering, austere minimalistic concept techno series such as Studio1, a series that was limited to 10 vinyl releases, the cover of each bearing a plain color design without any text.

In 1996, his pop techno album Love Inc. - Life’s a Gas based on historical pop citations (samples), was named ‘Album of the Year’ by the renowned music magazine Spex. His project GAS, an intoxicatingly sinister work of sound art based on highly condensed classical sound sources, thrilled a global audience far beyond the traditional electronica and techno music scenes. By combining abstract nature sounds with strings and brass alongside GAS’s minimalist cover designs incorporating photographs he took in the forest, Voigt shows his strong affinity for Romanticism and portrays the forest as a mysterious or melancholic place. The accompanying text reads: “GAS fantasizes about a sound body ranging somewhere between Schönberg and Kraftwerk, between bugle and bass drum. GAS is Wagner in the guise of glam rock, Hansel and Gretel on acid. An endless march through the undergrowth—into the disco—of an imaginary, misty forest.”

In the 1990s, techno music and its ‘Cologne Minimal Variation’ achieved worldwide success. The underground record store founded in 1993 by Voigt and friends, emerged as an internationally renowned hotspot of the techno movement and a flourishing place for record productions by in-house or like-minded artists from all over the world. In 1997, in order to offer a broader, independent platform for an ever growing number of amazing music releases, the record store grew into a new independent label, Kompakt, with its own distribution, publishing and artist/booking agencies. During this period that Voigt calls, “the art of making business”, he started focusing on Kompakt’s artistic mise en scène and design, developing the label into a distinctive and internationally renowned brand.

In 2003 Kompakt moved into a spacious residential and office building located in downtown Cologne, and the idea of an independent ‘cultural factory’, very much in the spirit of Warhol’s Factory, turned from vision to reality.

Since 2007, Voigt has shifted his focus back to his own projects again. Having always been working at the interface between art and music, he now merges the two disciplines in a mutually enriching way in specific projects.

Two fundamental approaches, through innumerable variations, characterize Voigt’s music and artwork. The first: the loop principle—the static or varying repetition of minimalist, repetitive structures which generate specific patterns. The structure of computer-based music production and associated software clearly and strongly influences this artistic concept, reflected in Voigt’s body of art and music. The second: the abstract deforming and condensing of external resources, i.e. the sampling of different sounds or images reduced to their original basic structure, their raw aesthetics, in a certain sense their (hypothetical) liberation, and transferred into a new context—a process that Voigt calls “Entdeutung”, i.e. de-significaton.

When choosing the ‘raw material’ for his work, Voigt lets himself be inspired by his tastes, preferences, spontaneous moods, or certain kinds of coincidences. While these ‘resources’ disappear most of the time during processing, their unnoticeable, hidden presence nevertheless remains essential for him. Wolfgang Voigt has rules he follows. However, because he often locates this ‘certain something’ he was initially searching for not at the place where he thought it to be, but in its surroundings, he continuously breaks these rules during the creative process by employing different improvisational techniques, resulting in intentional variations and coincidences.

While Voigt often cannot or does not want to resist the attraction of extreme abstraction, he nevertheless respects the clear rules of a 4/4 beat, the three-minute pop song, and last but not least the serial patterns found on industrially produced wallpaper.

Always driven by a refusal to be categorized, Voigt imbues his body of work with a high degree of complexity, volatility, and ambiguity. As a ‘fast and prolific producer’, he unleashes his creativity in intense creative phases at regular intervals, the result of which are Voigt’s characteristic series (the Serial Principle), often distinguishable only by their album covers’ colors, or just consecutively numbered (e.g. Studio1-10, Freiland, Rückverzauberung, Tetrapack, Z.O.M., etc.).

Herman Kolgen

An acclaimed multidisciplinary artist with more than three decades of experience in media arts, Herman Kolgen lives and works in Montreal. An audio-kinetic sculptor, he draws his raw material from the intimate relationship between sound and image. Kolgen creates pieces that take on the form of installations, video and film works, performances and sound sculptures. He works in a constant cycle of exploration, at the crossroads of different media, to conjure up a new technical language and a singular aesthetic.

The impact of territories on human life lies at the heart of his conceptual pursuits. The resulting brutal tensions as well as the interplay between various elements constitute the epicenter of his practice. His multifaceted work is characterized by a radiographic approach. It’s this x-ray effect, with its immaterial quality, that allows the invisible to be seen.

Initially associated with the digital and electronic realms across an assortment of highly sensitive works, his approach then takes a sharp turn towards increasingly hybridized forms. His installation practice also integrates an important spatialisation component, most notably regarding the field of sound. the design and application of random systems of autogenerative image/sound also allow for the creation of audiophonic spaces marked by their immersive quality.

Herman Kolgen’s works have most notably been presented at the Venice Biennale, Ars Electronica, international digital arts Montreal and Paris, Berlin’s Transmediale, ISEA, the Georges Pompidou Centre, Cimatics, Dissonanze, Mutek, Elektra, Sonar, Tapei digital arts and shanghai e-arts. he has also performed with paris’ ensemble intercontemporain and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Herman Kolgen has been awarded many prestigious prizes, including Ars Electronica, Qwartz and the New York and Los Angeles independent film festivals’ best experimental film. From 1996 to 2008, he devoted much of his creative output to the skoltz_ kolgen duo.

Aïsha Devi

No one on this planet sounds like Aïsha Devi. Her voice is her most powerful tool in a repertoire that includes thumping beats and rave stabs, seraphic and guttural throat singing, mystical linguistics and corporeal sonics. Her music is spiritual and her live shows are transcendent experiences. She is a rebel and a radical alchemist who is breaking down barriers and traversing dimensions with her art.

Hiro Kone

Since assuming the recording moniker Hiro Kone in 2011, New York City-based electronic artist Nicky Mao has personalized a space predicated on dark layers interacting with rhythm. With her early EPs on Group Tightener and Bitterroots, leading up to the EP Fallen Angels and the acclaimed debut full length album, Love Is the Capital (both on Geographic North), Mao’s meticulously crafted textures attracted collaborators like Drew McDowall (Coil), Little Annie, and Roxy Farman (Wetware) while driving against the grain of experimental techno. Mao’s explorations often cast themselves against danceable structures, creating a duality of crisis and escapism.

Drew McDowall

Scottish born, Brooklyn based electronic artist Drew McDowall was born and raised in Paisley, an area just outside of Glasgow, and came of age during a time when the city was one of the most dangerous places in the world. Caught up in the prevalent gang culture of Scotland’s destroyed industrial cityscape, McDowall found a way out of the daily violence as punk took hold of the UK’s disenchanted youth. In 1978, he formed the lo-fi post-punk band, The Poems, with then wife, Rose McDowall, who would later rise to mainstream acclaim as one half of Strawberry Switchblade. Though shortly realized, the Poems allowed McDowall to network and collaborate with other local musicians in Glasgow, such as Orange Juice, and granted him access to travel down to London, thus forming friendships with Genesis P-Orridge, David Tibet and countless others, bringing Drew into the fold of the experimental cultural revolution happening in England brought upon by Throbbing Gristle and executed by groups such as Psychic TV and Current 93.

Demdike Stare with Michael England

Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty have been shaping a truly impressive body of work for the last ten years, from their first albums full of noxious soundscapes and generic experimentation to their new album, the excellent "Wonderland", which both speeds things up and goes back to the basics of rave-jungle and bass music. In 2009, soon after starting Demdike Stare, the duo founded the DDS label, the youngest brother of Modern Love, a platform to which they are still closely linked and on which they have published most of their albums. Michael England is known in the electronic universe for his cover designs for labels such as Warp (Leila) and Skam (Bola, Gescom), although his work is of course much more extensive, with work in the fields of animation, cinema or photography, among other disciplines.


After the release of three EPs and an album on the Sandwell District label in 2011 and the launch of her own Eaux imprint in 2012, productions out on Further Records, Stroboscopic Artifacts, Infrastructure New York and Khemia Records including collaborations with Bob Ostertag, Lucy, and others, Rrose has found a unique niche in the worldwide techno underground while remaining equally situated in the experimental and avant-garde artistic communities. His tracks incorporate ideas from early drone and minimalist music as prominently as they do the history of dance music. Whether as a DJ, live performer, or producer, Rrose crafts sonic ecosystems with patience and attention to detail, allowing the music to unfold gradually while tapping into deep, uncharted recesses of both the mind and body.


DJ, producer and electronics artist Antenes operates a laboratory of self-made sequencers and modular synthesizers built in the name of rhythmic, sonic, and spatial exploration. Tracing the lineage of synthesizer operation to vintage telephone equipment and inspired by the Buchla 100, her curious studio discipline of manipulating repurposed switchboards was fueled by the desire to breathe new life into long-silenced machines, transforming signal paths through which voices once travelled into sequences that burst with percussive energy and evolving textures, bouncing sound through sound like so many distant AM radio stations on a late night drive. Her 2015 solo production debut, The Track of a Storm EP on L.I.E.S. reveals three tracks of otherworldly techno infused with “lazer shot synthwork,” “ghostly noise layers,” “muscular bass shapes and sparking percussions," appearing on the 2015 best-of lists for Juno and Fact magazine.

Electric Indigo

Electric Indigo, DJ, composer, musician, has performed in 38 countries across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. She represents an intelligent and distinguished interpretation of techno and electronic music. As a composer and musician, she creates music for concert spaces, clubs, sound installations and occasionally for stage plays and short films. In her compositions and live performances, she emphasizes the spatial-temporal placement of subtly elaborated sounds and structures, often generated from speech recordings. Electric Indigo shuttles between Vienna and Berlin.


Franck Vigroux live electronics, composition & Antoine Schmitt generative video. Chronostasis is Franck Vigroux and Antoine Schmitt fifth collaboration, it succeed to their worlwide acclaimed duo Tempest. Chronostasis state is a cerebral illusion involving the neurons dealing with the immediate prediction of the future and to the listening of music, during which time seems to stop. But time is elastic and a stretched elastic always returns to its initial length. The audiovisual performance Chronostasis takes this logic to its limits by dilating to the extreme a catastrophic moment, through the stretching and inversions of time over the whole duration of the performance. The present moment freezes and diffracts endlessly, past and future cease to exist. Chronostasis has been developed with the support of Ircam and LeCube.

Michael Gendreau

Michael Gendreau has composed and performed solo as well as in several group configurations since 1979. His former group, Crawling With Tarts (1983 – 1998), expressed ideas within elementalism and pre-language states. Gendreau has elaborated on this while adding concepts inspired by his studies of physics, parataxis, philosophies centered on temporal and environmental persistence; and his experiments with small motors and turntable mechanisms. Performances have involved one-off transcription discs cast by others in the middle of the last century, and those cut in his studio using a decrepit lathe. More recently, Gendreau has sought to extend these studies, while experimenting with the use of a building as a speaker. He records infrasonic vibrations of a performance space, then in the concert, he uses the structure’s resonances as an additional instrument in his site-specific compositions. These practices are based in part on his current work as an acoustician working primarily on low-vibration and noise design for buildings. Gendreau has performed these site-specific compositions in locations around the world: Valencia, Spain; Paris, France; Athens, Greece; Lausanne, Switzerland; and others


Hear with your body. This is not about music. This is not about performance or the performer. The goal is sound and the expicit translation of sound into physical force. The goal is internal and external realization. It is about provoking new modes of perceiving and experiencing one’s own body – triggering variable and autonomous psycho-physiological response. It is about the total acoustic sense of space – observing sound to measure the capacity of architecture. It is about the phenomenon of resonance or sympathetic vibration – all things in one continuum.


Recombinant Media Labs

RECOMBINANT MEDIA LABS (RML) was founded in 1991 by Naut Humon, to research and deploy the cultural qualities and artistic potential of Spatial Cinema and music mediated electro-acoustic surround sound. RML acts as producer, propagator, and presenter of substantive intermodal artworks for its panoramic performance platform the CineChamber. The Recombinant Festival is an annual autumn event series in SF  that showcases international immersive residencies from RML’s nomadic network ; Co-presenters have been Gray Area and Obscura Digital.

Obscura Digital

Obscura is an alliance of artists and technologists who are pioneering the future of multidimensional sensory experiences. From our beginning, we set convention aside to create entirely new encounters with light, image, sound, and motion. Our team shares a passion for inventing the uninvented, for exploring ways that technology can enable awe-inspiring moments. Our creativity is inseparable from our ingenuity. We were among the first to develop technologies that deliver unprecedented interactivity. Our exploration has led to multitouch screens, complex architectural mapping, 360-degree surround projections, and beyond.